CEPH is lucky to have a trove of information for public health accreditation history buffs—there must be some of you out there! In addition to past versions of the accreditation criteria that illustrate the evolution of curricula, staff found a copy of the 1953 APHA Publication “The Accreditation of North American Schools of Public Health” by C.E.A. Winslow. The publication summarizes the accreditation criteria of the time (16 standards, for those who are curious, all of which have analogues in the 2016 version of the criteria). After restating the standards, the report provides narrative description and some data about the 11 accredited schools.
We’ll bring you some more gems and highlights from the report in the coming months, but, in light of our current curricular context, we wanted to share some observations from the portion of the report titled “The ‘Core Course’ and ‘Human Ecology.” Winslow makes the following observation: “The diversity of fields covered by the modern public health program may easily produce a certain confusion in the mind of the beginning student.” This observation is followed by three case studies of curricular innovation from accredited schools:
As schools and programs revise curricula and look to train public health practitioners and academics for the 21st century, it’s striking to have this window into past public health curricula. Some references are dated; for example, the accreditation criteria of the time suggest that students might want to complete advanced specialization coursework in “venereal disease control,” but other references and discussions are as fresh today as they were at the time of the report’s publication. It’s a great reminder of the throughlines and consistency that mark our field, even as we advance and innovate.
Written by Mollie Mulvanity, MPH