Public Health competencies

Program objectives

This program’s goal is to better equip public health workers to improve the health of the population and reduce health inequities. It does this by increasing their core competencies-their knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to public health.

Why this program?

The purpose of public health is to protect, maintain, and enhance the health of the population through the organized efforts of society. All provinces have long had public health programs, but after the SARS outbreak in 2003, the Naylor Report identified a need to strengthen core competencies in this area.

Short description of program

The program focuses on seven key areas recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada for improving core competencies in public health:

1. Public health sciences (biostatistics, epidemiology, emergency planning, environmental health, workers’ health, outbreak management, and the prevention of chronic diseases, infectious diseases, psychosocial problems and injuries)

2. Assessment and analysis (collecting, assessing, analyzing and using health information to make informed decisions with the aim of improving the health of the population)

3. Policy and program planning, implementation and evaluation (planning, implementing and evaluating programs and policies for improving the health of the population, such as the  Mâshkûpimâtsît Awash program to improve the health of mothers and children)

4. Partnerships, collaboration and advocacy (influencing and working with others to improve the health of the overall population, and disadvantaged groups in particular)

5. Diversity and inclusiveness ( interacting effectively with individuals, groups and communities from different cultural and professional backgrounds)

6. Communication (exchanging ideas, opinions and information within the organization, with external partners and with the communities that we serve)

7. Leadership (encouraging people to work together for the common goal of improving the health of the population and reducing health inequities).

The program uses multiple strategies to improve workers’ skills, including

  • Organizing short courses that are offered to all public health employees
  • Encouraging staff to participate in national and international public health conferences
  • Supporting workers to obtain graduate degrees in public health, take continuing education courses, or engage in self-directed learning
  • Supporting protected time for staff to attend outside courses.
  • Developing general courses for all Cree Board of Health professional staff, such as cultural competency training. The program depends upon a regular assessment of public health staff needs matched to strategies for improving capacity. To be fully functioning, it will also require the development of policies within the organization

Targeted clientele

The first target of the program is all public health workers, particularly program leads, and the second target for selected training is professionals in the Cree Board of Health.

Who delivers the program?

The Program is part of the SERC Team's mandate which also includes responsibility for public health surveillance, research, public health communications, and clinical preventive practices.

Enquiries about the program should be directed to Jill Torrie at or 514-953-8283.