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  1. Stewart, Katharine E. PhD, MPH
  2. Halverson, Paul K. DrPH, MHSA, FACHE
  3. Rose, Arlene V. BA
  4. Walker, Sandra K. MS


Despite calls from multiple sources, including the Institute of Medicine, a large proportion of public health professionals have limited formal training in public health science. The Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice developed the core competencies to provide a framework for assessing professionals' readiness to manage the complex challenges in public health. We incorporated the core competencies into a workforce development program to improve workforce competence of professionals at the Arkansas Department of Health. The program's curriculum was mapped to the core competencies in each of the Linkages domains. Participants self-assessed their competence before and after the year-long program, and results from the 2007 and 2008 participants are provided. The 2007 results indicate that participants significantly increased their perceived competence in all of the Linkages domains, whereas in the 2008 program, participants reported increases in all but cultural competency. The greatest reported increase in perceived competency was in policy development. On the basis of these findings, the Council on Linkages core competencies appear to be an effective tool in guiding workforce development programs and serve as an important framework for assessing comprehensive interdisciplinary training programs. Such programs can substantially increase public health professionals' self-assessed competence in the Linkages domains.