Emotional Intelligence and Public Health Education: A Prescriptive Needs Assessment

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Abstract

Emotional intelligence (EI) is an ability that is crucial to the field of Public Health due to the fact that it encompasses the practitioner’s ability to communicate professionally, show empathy, obtain patient compliance, and promote sustainable lifestyle changes in communities. This study seeks to evaluate a graduate Public Health program in order to determine what cross-competencies might exist between EI and program objectives, what EI development might currently exist, whether EI exists explicitly or indirectly, and what the attitudes of stakeholders are regarding EI and its importance to the field of Public Health. The information gathered makes it possible to formulate recommendations to further incorporate EI-building activities into a Master of Public Health program. Results of the study show a direct correlation between Public Health and EI competencies, which makes it an ideal program in which to integrate further training. Recommendations for future development of EI in the program include the incorporation of training into the existing new student orientation week, the addition of case studies into the courses most naturally related to EI-building, the provision of training seminars for faculty, the inclusion of an advanced seminar for students on a voluntary basis, and the evaluation of the program using both a self-report EI questionnaire and the Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test at the beginning and end of each term to track program effectiveness in the long term.

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