What factors contribute to successful public health programs at community colleges?

Article title: Health Professions Education: A National Survey of Community College Leaders

From Pedagogy in Health Promotion: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, a Society of Public Health Education journal

Community colleges have become essential in the training of frontline health care professionals, yet little research studies their growth. This new study examines surveys of community college leaders and finds that community colleges must create close connections with community partners in order to provide successful training and employment opportunities for their public health students.

“Although a minority of community colleges currently offer health navigator training options, the number of programs is growing,” wrote study author Katherine J. Johnson. “For colleges that may wish to develop future programming in this area, factors such as hiring staff who bring strong professional connections with the health navigator professions, drawing on existing college relationships with community partners in related fields, involving community actors in all stages of program development, and participating actively in state and local workforce alliances for the health navigator professions, are among the considerations that may lead to building successful programs.”


Community colleges have long been recognized as essential collaborators in the training of frontline health care professionals. More recently, growing policy and programmatic interest has led to an increased emphasis on integrating health professions training at community colleges into the broader continuum of public health education, and creating viable professional pathways for students entering the field at all levels of the continuum. This study examined the specific role of community colleges in preparing graduates for the “health navigator professions” including community health workers, health care navigators, health insurance navigators, and similar professions. A national online survey was used to examine the current practices of community colleges regarding training for these professions, and perspectives on the Health Navigator curricular framework developed by the Framing the Future Task Force of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. Data were collected from approximately 260 community college leaders engaged in health professions education. Results suggest a preference for flexible, credit-granting associate-degree programs that are heavily embedded in the community, and that integrate core community health, health care workforce, and health insurance needs. Respondents preferred applied associate degree programs as well as associate degree program designed for transfer. They also expressed interest in academic certificate program and online programs. Strategies for establishing sustainable community-based workforce partnerships and aligning with the state policy context for community health worker training are also

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Article details
Katherine J. Johnson

Health Professions Education: A National Survey of Community College Leaders Pedagogy in Health Promotion March 2016 2: 20-33, doi:10.1177/2373379915607866



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