continuing education, health department, on-line training, public health, rural health, undergraduate education, workforce



  1. Martin, Brian C. PhD, MBA
  2. Stoots, J. Michael PhD, MBA
  3. Pack, Robert P. PhD, MPH
  4. Wykoff, Randy MD, MPH, TM
  5. Dreyzehner, John J. MD, MPH, FACOEM


The leadership of several health districts in the rural Appalachian region of northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia has expressed interest in addressing the educational needs of their employees. The majority of these workers have not completed an undergraduate degree, but they desire to further their education. The College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University has begun preliminary discussions with these leaders to identify potential approaches to address these needs. There appear to be four approaches that should be explored by regions facing similar challenges: on-line or on-line/on-site degree completion programs; course clusters provided for academic credit; partnerships with community colleges; and training programs offered for nonacademic credit.