The title to this session is kind of long isn’t it? Lifelong Learning Strategies From Assessment to Performance Management: A brief history of the lifelong learning initiative in NC Bear with me as I take you on some twists and turns and tell a story that is really exciting to me…it’s the evolution of my work with the Center for Public Health Preparedness over the past 4 years really. The title should really be…
This will be the overall flow of information to lead us into our afternoon. My mom and my husband were both history majors in college and they love to chronical things, look back and see where we have been to get where we are today. I usually smile, nod, listen for a little while and then try to distract them with another topic. I promise I will try to keep things moving in such a way that provides useful information on the process, the background, and the evolution of lifelong learning so that our conversations the rest of the day can be valuable and best positioned to kick start us into a new year of new ideas and much progress in training the public health workforce in preparedness.
If you will allow me a little introductory diversion here: I want to pause for just a moment and give you a context of the connections and partnerships we have in these efforts we will be talking about today. I realize it quickly becomes overwhelming at times to figure out who is doing what for what reason with whom and to whom and for whom…and in that regard, the continuity of projects can become difficult. So in the effort of clear communication, I work primarily for the NC Center for Public Health Preparedness. A CDC-sponsored Center for Public Health Preparedness –North Carolina was one of the first 4 centers established. The Centers for Public Health Preparedness (CPHP) program was initiated in 2000 to strengthen terrorism and emergency preparedness by linking academic expertise to state and local health agency needs. This unique program brings together fifty-two community colleges, colleges, and universities with a common focus on public health preparedness to establish a national network of education and training resources. Our mission is to improve the capacity of the public health workforce to prepare for and respond to terrorism and other public health threats. At NCCPHP our focus in training development is primarily Epidemiology and Surveillance. We take to heart the Institute’s mission to serve our state and lead the nation, and more recently have expanded to provide a global purview of preparedness as we all keep close eyes and open ears about avian flu and the threat of pandemic flu.
NCCPHP is located physically within the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, which has the mission to serve our state and lead the nation. NCIPH houses the Office of Continuing education, the southeast public health training center, leadership institutes, and various programs and public health initiatives that link public health practice and academics. It is after all…
the Service and Outreach arm of the School of Public Health whose mission is to: Protect against threats to health Empower people to lead healthy lives Improve the quality of health services Prepare leaders to advance health
Close partners in any effort to address public health needs in our state and across the nation is our North Carolina Division of Public Health. Mission - Working for a healthier and safer North Carolina everywhere. Everyday. Everybody. Now I am not going to presume to know as much about the way the division fits together and all it’s connections across health and human services, but for the connection of preparedness and workforce training, here are the entities we most closely link with on many projects, initiatives, programs, and efforts across North Carolina and specifically, with local public health.
The state office of public health preparedness and response within the division of public health receives grant guidance from CDC out of the same Federal office as the NCCPHP receives funding, so together, we work in partnership to address workforce issues, technology, organizational capacity and system response.
Suffice it to say there are many entities working together to serve, assist, and provide resources to local public health across our state. Some days you’re lucky, and other days you have a headache or two. We do too.
Okay, back to the Center for Public Health Preparedness… where I get up and go to work every day unless I’m coming to visit one of you in this room. And on with the program.
Again our main focus is to provide training and education for the public health workforce. We do this many different ways, but the one we’re here to talk about today is a lifelong learning initiative.
Since our business is training and education for preparedness we began asking ourselves: (see slide) Furthermore, how do we track the progress the workforce makes and the lessons they learn and retain along the way? If our goal is to have a more prepared workforce, whether the workforce is learning and improving surveillance skills for better detecting the next outbreak of E. coli at a church picnic or whether they are learning and improving surveillance skills for better detecting the next pandemic influenza strain, does it matter as long as they are learning? Does it matter why we are performing as long as we are performing better? Does it matter why we are using handheld electronic assessment instruments as long as we can use the latest technology to collect and analyze data and monitor the health of the population? The concept of lifelong learning may indeed help with the approach of acquiring new and better skills and being more prepared. We strive to connect our every day jobs and essential services to being prepared. So what do we know about this lifelong learning business and how can we use it to become a better prepared public health workforce?
It’s always good to begin with a vision It is important to note here that it is only through relationships that we can achieve success in connecting academics and practice and in connecting resources to those who can best benefit from them.
In his article entitled, “Lifelong Learning – More than Training,” Gerhard Fischer writes of learning as “an integral and irremovable part of adult work activities” that can be a collaborative effort among colleagues and that is not an option, but a necessary approach within the future of our societies (Fischer, 2000, p. 265). A good example of this kind of learning is an after-action report and debriefing after an exercise or an outbreak investigation has completed. A team of people working on the outbreak may get together afterwards to ask: What did we learn? What would we do differently next time? How can we improve the process and build efficiencies for the next similar challenge? Warning: curve ahead! In the spirit of learning then, we turn to academic institutions and resources I mentioned at the beginning of this talk to help us research, test, evaluate, and innovate the approaches. So did we just launch into this lifelong learning business without testing it first?? No. Indeed not. A pilot study was the first step in leading into this.
STOP: Okay, so we will back up for a little while and talk about the Academic Health Department grant that provided impetus for a lifelong learning model to fully develop. Funding was provided by CDC and ASPH to
Activities for Chatham County Health Department’s academic health department model included: Oriented staff to a learning management system Conducted an individual health worker assessment online Prioritized individual training needs in preparedness and core public health competency areas Worked together with local public health leadership to establish organizational training needs in preparedness and core public health competency areas Presented the program to the local board of health for the LHD Created a ‘facilitated learning team’ made up of health department employees representing all divisions to identify barriers to training and learning, to create incentives for training and learning, and to initiate a cultural change in the way learning takes place in the health department
Provided a directory of training options Enhanced a learning library space at the health department Encouraged collaborative learning through informal and formal presentations after individuals attend conferences and face-to-face trainings Provided technology access such as a video-conferencing system, a new computer, and head sets for those who share workspace but want to pursue online training courses Worked with the local county-based human resources department to establish a pay-for-performance model for employees who seek training and education within their supervisors’ established guidelines Provided a training plan for the agency Implemented the agency-based preparedness training plan for staff
So here is what we’re doing with lifelong learning in 15 local health departments. The CDC put out a nice thick 650 page document on how best to deliver workforce development and preparedness. These strategies include: (read slide)
We tried to replicate the AHD model in these new counties but added to it some lessons learned and encouraged a real culture change around prioritizing training for ALL public health workers. We know that there are still some basic infrastructure barriers including… But we have been very encouraged by the enthusiasm, by the innovation, and by the participation of every level of the workforce.
This is where we get the title from Assessment to Performance management We have to evaluate and demonstrate competencies over time. We have to measure the progress of the workforce. Who is the best person or entity to do that? Supervisors of public health workers are the closest and have the most knowledge about what public health workers are learning and doing, what their roles are on a daily basis versus an emergency, and local health agencies have an obligation to provide some oversight to their performance as an organization. You are the best people to answer the questions “What have we learned?” and “How prepared is our workforce?”
Thank you for your attention on the journey through Who is doing what? Partnering for Preparedness Lifelong learning for preparedness: What is it exactly? History: Academic Health Department Project Assessment to Performance Management
Lifelong Learning Strategies From Assessment to Performance Management: A brief history of the Lifelong Learning Initiative in NC Lisa Macon Harrison
How do we combine what we know about the public health workforce (who they are and what they are working on), what the preparedness competencies and essential services guide us to perform, and how do we effectively train and educate the workforce as they carry out the many and varied duties of a local or state health department?
A more prepared, responsive, and knowledgeable public health workforce.
Accomplished through valued, supportive, ongoing partnerships across NCCPHP, NCIPH, UNC SPH, state and local public health that connects resources and enhances a culture of lifelong learning among public health workers.
Official Definition of LLL (at least one of them!)
A lifelong learning approach for public health assumes a combination of training and educational opportunities to ensure self-directed learning, just-in-time learning, collaborative learning, informal learning, learning-on-demand, and organizational learning (Fischer, 2000).
“ Lifelong Learning – More than Training” (2000)
Journal of Interactive Learning Research. 265-272
Academic Health Department (AHD) Project Back up 2 years