Review of the Australasian Public Health Competencies

Scope of the Review

The Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australasia (CAPHIA) is the peak organisation currently representing tertiary teaching institutions and other education providers throughout Australasia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. CAPHIA seeks to maintain and protect high public health academic standards.

Local public health competencies are built in part around the 2016 Foundation Competencies for Public Health Graduates in Australia, currently in its second edition.

Public health education originally was designed to be provided at a Master degree level, however in recent years the number of public health Undergraduate and Doctoral level programmes has grown. A need was identified to be able to distinguish which competencies are appropriate for students at all levels, and not only for Master students.

CAPHIA engaged the World Federation of Public Health Associations Professional Education and Training Working Group to conduct a review of the second edition and make recommendations to inform development of the third edition. The consultancy team were asked to conduct international benchmarking, analyse competency levels within relevant frameworks; and map the results against the standards set nationally to appropriately reflect the applicable qualification levels.


Summary of Recommendations

That the CAPHIA framework by revised to:

      1. Add competencies related to Systems Thinking, Human Rights and One-Health.
      2. Consider adding, or strengthening the language for, competencies designed to address violence.
      3. Add reference to ‘quantitative’ research methods in the Health Monitoring and Surveillance domain.
      4. Add reference to ‘non-infectious’ and ‘chronic’ diseases in the Disease Prevention and Control domain.
      5. Add reference to ‘protection’ and ‘health security’ in the Health Protection domain.
      6. Add reference to ‘health literacy’ and ‘health education’, and the need to counteract ‘industry’ influence in the Health Promotion domain.
      7. Dedicate a domain to Universal Cultural Competencies.
      8. Dedicate a domain to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health competencies.
      9. Consider including theories or models of behaviour change as a knowledge competency.
      10. Revisit language used in the Health Promotion domain regarding community engagement to ensure the language used in the competencies reflects the intended graduate outcome(s).
      11. The Health Protection domain is revised to include an ‘evaluate’ level verb from Bloom’s Taxonomy.
      12. Consideration should be given to including additional ‘generic’ skills based on competencies related to the Bloom’s Taxonomy ‘affective’ domain that outline essential qualities for public health practice.
      13. The CAPHIA competencies are revised using a combination of the ASPHER and UKFPH approaches whereby the descriptors for the competency levels are worded consistently like the UKFPH framework, but the level of acquisition increases like the ASPHER framework, based on the level of cognitive skill required to apply the competency at different levels of practice.
      14. The CAPHIA framework is revised based on option 3 (Change based on combination of ASPHER and UKFPH models) or option 4 (Change to also reflect AQF Review domains).

Refer to the full report for more details.


Next Steps

The Education Quality and Standards Working Group are preparing an approach to enact the recommendations and develop a third edition of the CAPHIA Competencies. A consultation with the broader academic public health community will take place to ensure these are representative of the profession.