Puerto Rico-Florida Public Health Training Center (PRF-PHTC)

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The Puerto Rico-Florida Public Health Training Center (PRF-PHTC) was established in August 2010 to address the public health training needs of the Puerto Rican and Floridian public health workforce, through a partnership between the University of Puerto Rico and Florida International University, two CEPH-accredited academic institutions. This five-year HRSA-funded center is the first institute to develop the infrastructure for timely and culturally sensitive public health training both in English and Spanish to improve public health practice among Hispanics.

For Dr. Virginia McCoy, Co-Principal Investigator for the PRF-PHTC, this center is essential: “In addressing the training needs of the public health workforce in Puerto Rico and Florida, we are at the same time addressing the public health needs of our community. The training courses in health promotion and disease prevention provide a deeper understanding of the ways in which social conditions affect population health in medically disadvantaged communities and how communities can extend lives by improving their communities.”

The goals of the Center are to assess the public health workforce and training needs in Puerto Rico and Florida, especially among Spanish speakers, to implement training programs to meet these needs and to evaluate the impact among the targeted population. An initiative integrating primary care and public health in Florida will also be developed.

Faculty and Staff PRF PHTC

From left to right: Georgina Silva-Suarez, H. Virginia McCoy, Odette Ponce, Muni Rubens, Luz Maharaj, William W. Darrow

Accomplishments to date have included the development of a needs assessment survey, which has been used to identify training needs of the DOH workforce in Florida and Puerto Rico. The survey was designed by FIU, Florida DOH, and the University of South Florida (USF). Based on the results of the needs survey, the PRF-PHTC developed twelve new training courses in Florida and twelve in Puerto Rico. This year, the Center also collaborated with the FIU Latin American and Caribbean Center on a two-week training program in disaster risk reduction for 20 Brazilian Health Ministers. The Center also delivered 8 continuing education courses at southern Florida health departments and FIU and financially supported 34 students in Florida and 12 in Puerto Rico to conduct their MPH practica in governmental public health agencies

The PRF-PHTC practice partners include the Puerto Rico Department of Health and Florida Department of Health Office of Workforce Development. The academic partners include the Rural South Public Health Training Center, a partnership of the University of Florida and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, the Florida Public Health Training Center at the USF, and the Florida International University partner in the Puerto Rico – Florida Public Health Training Center.

The following faculty and staff developed continuing education courses for the PHTC: Mark Williams, Tim Page, Donna Davis, Rashida Biggs, Mark Macgowan, Juan Pablo Sarmiento, Melissa Howard, David Saltman, Consuelo Beck-Sague, and Andy Dean.

A Community Advisory Board of five members from Puerto Rico and Florida meet annually to provide input regarding Center operations and performance.

Read more about this Training Center and the courses it offers: http://puertorico-floridaphtc.org/index.html

Author: Cecile Houry

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