Public health related continuing education is a learning experience designed to augment the knowledge, skills or competence, performance, attitudes or the professional development of the workforce. Such learning is aimed to improve the health of the public and the health care delivery system by presenting best practices, evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence in such contexts as public health education, policy, regulation, law or other relevant environment.
The American Public Health Association's mission includes providing, co-providing or jointly sponsoring quality continuing education for public health professionals. The mission also includes approving educational activities that are developed by external entities and submitted to APHA for approval to award CE contact hour credits in public health and related areas. The Association's CE program is multi-disciplinary with a single set of policies and processes that meet the requirements of the accreditations that it holds.
An Association priority is to assure compliance with the following CE accrediting organizations:
- National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. for certified health education specialists;
- Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education for physicians and non-physicians;
- American Nurses Credential Center Commission on Accreditation for nurse; and
- National Board of Public Health Examiners for certified public health professional
A number of public health professionals in other disciplines may also benefit from these accreditations for re-licensure, re-certification or other recognitions. It is the responsibility of the individual professional to determine if one can apply the APHA provided, co-provided, jointly sponsored or approved CE contact hour credits to their re-licensure or re-certification.
The responsibility for compliance with accreditation requirements for CE-worthy activities is shared among all APHA planners, faculty/presenters, panelists, moderators, authors, planning reviewers (referred as content reviewers or content experts), and the CE staff in the APHA Learning Professional Development Programs Unit.
The APHA role of the program planners, faculty/presenters and planning reviewers is to develop educational opportunities that are based on adult learning principles. Important to continuing education is to build on one’s basic professional education, to keep a professional up-to-date, and to expose the learners to knowledge that can be applied to practice in a number of settings. Adult learning principles are also applied when developing the content and selecting the appropriate teaching method/strategy. (Knowles, 1973, 1990; Knowles, 1984; Jarvis, 1985; Merriam, 2001; Merriam & Caffarella, 1991; Senge, 1990, 2006)