The Public Health Learning Network: Strengthening the Public Health Workforce of Today to Meet the Challenges of Tomorrow

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In 2013, the Health Resources & Services Administration redesigned the long-standing Public Health Training Center program to meet the training needs of the modern public health workforce and to implement parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which sets the training, recruitment, and retention of public health workers as a priority. Understanding that today’s most significant public health threats are socially constructed, resulting in chronic disease and significant years of life lost, the Health Resources & Services Administration laid the groundwork for the creation of a nationally unified network of training centers—the Public Health Learning Network (PHLN). The PHLN is the nation’s most comprehensive system of public health educators, health experts, thought leaders, and practitioners working together to advance public health training and practice. The system comprises 10 regional public health training centers, 40 local performance sites, and a National Coordinating Center for Public Health Training. The PHLN strengthens the workforce in state, local, and tribal health departments, as well as community health centers and primary care settings, to improve the capacity of a broad range of public health personnel to meet the complex public health challenges of today and tomorrow.

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