Current Approaches and Trends in Graduate Public Health Informatics Education in the United States: Four Case Studies from the Field

How to Cite

Schwartz, D. G., McGrath, S. . ., Monsen, K., & Dixon, B. (2020). Current Approaches and Trends in Graduate Public Health Informatics Education in the United States: Four Case Studies from the Field. Online Journal of Public Health Informatics, 12(1).


Background: Public Health Informatics (PHI) has taken on new importance in recent years as health and well-being face a number of challenges, including environmental disasters, emerging infectious diseases, such as Zika, Ebola and SARS-CoV-2, the growing impact of the Influenza virus, the opioid epidemic, and social determinants of health. Understanding the relationship between climate change and the health of populations adds further complexity to global health issues.

Objectives: To describe four examples of curricula that exist in U.S. based graduate-level public and population health informatics training programs.

Methods: Biomedical informatics educators are challenged to provide learners with relevant, interesting, and meaningful educational experiences in working with and learning from the many data sources that comprise the domain of PHI. Programs at four institutions were reviewed to examine common teaching practices that stimulate learners to explore the field of public health informatics.

Results: Four case studies represent a range of pedagogical approaches to meeting the requirements of three established accreditation/certification agencies relevant to PHI education. Despite their differences, each program achieved the established learning objectives along with a substantive record of student learning achievements.

Conclusion: The overarching goal of empowering learners to serve an active and dynamic role in enhancing preventive measures, informing policy, improving personal health behaviors, and clarifying issues such as quality, cost of care, and the social determinants of health, are essential components of PHI education and training, and must receive additional consideration now and in the future by educators, policy makers, administrators, and government officials.
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