Public Health Capacity Building in Times of Austerity:A Case Study From the University of East London
© BioMed Central London 2011
Published: 2 June 2011
The University of East London (UEL) offers a BSc and MSc of Public Health (PH). The programmes are designed to build the workforce capacity by enabling access to higher education (HE) for future PH practitioners and specialists, and facilitating promotion possibilities within current employment. In 2009/10, the MSc and BSc programs had 143 and 70 students respectively, with 209 students undertaking PH combined degrees at the BSc level.
This paper presents methods and outcomes of aligning the programs with the United Kingdom Public Health Skills and Career Framework (UK PHSCF). The realigned MSc programme is a 1.5 year (full-time), six module (180 credits) programme with strong emphasis on epidemiology and research. The BSc programme lasts three years (full-time) and consists of 36 modules (360 credits) providing an introductory overview of the core functions of PH. The programmes’ modules were mapped against the 9 UK PHSCF PH areas. Additional activities were built into the programs to enhance the learning experience and augment transferable skills.
After the realignment, the UK Government published in 2010 the White Paper for PH and, in spite of this, announced budget cuts to HE funding along with increased tuition fees. The programme changes are likely to contribute to PH capacity building but in a time when political reform adversely impacts on the development of the PH workforce.