A Framework for Practice-Based Teaching in Public Health: PBT STEPS

To prepare MPH graduates for successful application of public health competencies in their careers, accredited schools of public health (SPH) must identify the knowledge and technical and professional skills needed for practice and provide opportunities for application of these skills in public health settings. Practice-based teaching (PBT) is a pedagogical approach where students learn through course instruction while working on a real problem and producing implementable deliverables for a public health agency.

Currently no framework exists for designing, implementing, and evaluating the pedagogy. This presentation will define PBT for public health and will present a novel five-step framework, PBT STEPS, to guide faculty, schools, and practitioners in development of a practice-based curriculum for public health education. Each step will be described and illustrated through a practical example. The PBT STEPS framework, developed by the authors, provides a foundation for the development and design of a PBT course and its implementation through securing partnerships (S), technology and training (T), engagement and implementation (E), presenting deliverables (P), and sizing up results (S).

This framework ensures a PBT course that builds technical knowledge, integrates existing knowledge and experience, develops and strengthens public health skills and competencies by working with real world situations, and realizes the benefits of PBT to all stakeholders – students, alumni, public health agencies, communities served by the agencies, faculty, and school. Evidence-informed, feasible, and innovative solutions created through PBT collaboration provide significant benefits to the agency and the communities they serve while successfully training students to be workforce ready.

This framework will aid faculty and schools to implement PBT more broadly within schools of public health and across public health disciplines, to secure and maintain collaborations that infuse the field with innovative and evidence-informed solutions to current issues, and to allow students the opportunity to acquire necessary competencies to make them effective public health practitioners.

Download the full article here.

Article published in 2018 by Collaborate.Health Faculty Jacey Greece, DSc, MPH and James Wolff, MD, MPH, MAT, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA.