BC Core Competencies Project Achievements
Health Care Team
A needs assessment was conducted where the nationally defined public health core competencies outlined by PHAC (Release 1.0) were affirmed as relevant in BC in addition to other competencies including community capacity building, competency enforcement, inter-professional collaboration, the application of new technology, knowledge exchange, health literacy and health ethics. Public health core competencies were mapped across the BC Framework for Core Functions in Public Health. A review of sub-discipline core competency work and an assessment of necessary system and organizational capacity and support for core competency development were also completed. Community capacity building, leadership for all and health ethics were identified as key starting points for prioritized core competency work in BC.
For more information about the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Core Competencies for Public Health in Canada Release 1.0, please see: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ccph-cesp/index-eng.php
Self-Assessment Tool Development
To assess local priorities and needs for core capacity development and supports, two adaptable self-assessment tools for public health employees and employers were developed. Tool development began with the definition of competency statements: “Community Capacity Building” and “Leadership for All” being the two prioritized competency areas. The “Community Capacity Building” tool was piloted successfully in both Vancouver Coastal Health and Interior Health while the “Leadership for All” tool was piloted successfully in Northern Health. The use of the employee and employer self-assessment tools together allows for the combined assessment of front-line worker and management perceptions and priorities regarding public health core competency skills, supports and training preferences. The self-assessment tools were piloted as an online survey format and were produced that they can be adapted to suit any public health core competency area.
An environmental scan of educational opportunities for public health professionals in the field, showed that on-going professional training is lacking – public health learning opportunities being centralized in formal post-secondary programming. Complementing the work of the BC Core Competencies Project, PHABC and partners responded to identified community capacity core competency learning needs in BC with the development of a two-day 2010 Public Health Summer School: “Supporting Community Change from a Population Health Promotion Perspective”. With presentations across the Province, video-conferencing allowed for participation amongst multiple sites, including UBC, UVIC and UNBC. Expanding from last year’s educational event, PHABC and partners are currently organizing a four-day summer school for 2011.
Evaluation and Communication
A midterm evaluation of the BC Core Competencies Project was conducted via key informant interviews amongst project members. A framework for the continuing evaluation of this project was produced in addition to a logic model for the project. Evaluation results emphasized the importance of expanding communication and engagement, particularly from post-secondary institution and public health leaders. A project communications strategy to improve awareness of and engagement with the BC Core Competencies Project was produced. An environmental scan poster, matrix poster, project PowerPoint and project website have been developed to share this project’s work and connect with other core competencies initiatives.
A literature review and key stakeholder interviews were conducted to assess the use of networks as a best practice. Strong consensus was met that increased inter-sectoral and inter-organizational partnership and collaboration is necessary to promote comprehensive and innovative work in the field of public health. A proposal for the development of a Western Canadian Public Health Workforce Development Network is currently underway. The PHABC hosted a meeting with the Western Provincial and Territorial Public Health Associations to initiate discussions about the formation of a potential network and received positive initial responses. It is anticipated that the BC Core Competencies Project work could effectively complement network initiatives in the future.