Meeting on the Adaptation of the Skills Enhancement for Public Health Program to the English-speaking CaribbeanOn 9-10 September, 2009 a workshop was held in Kingston, Jamaica to commence the adaptation process of the Skills Enhancement for Public Health Program to a Caribbean context.

The Skills Enhancement for Public Health Program is a highly regarded, interactive, online course that was originally developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to increase the skills of health professionals across Canada.

Beginning in 2007 and through a special collaboration with PAHO’s Virtual Campus for Public Health, over 78 front line health workers from 12 countries in the Caribbean have been trained through the Program in various aspects of epidemiology. Evaluations of this pilot have been extremely positive and the present workshop was arranged to begin a process of adaptation and decentralization of the modules to the English-speaking Caribbean context.

Participants, which included professionals from academia and ministries of health representing 8 institutions from five Caribbean countries as well as technical staff from PAHO, PHAC and the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC), were very enthusiastic to collaborate on this initiative which, in this first stage, will include adaptation of the first module on Basic Epidemiological Concepts as well as participation in an online facilitation training offered by PHAC for future course facilitators. The remaining two introductory modules, Measurement of Health Status and Descriptive Epidemiologic Methods, are slated for adaptation next year. By adapting and decentralizing the Program to the Caribbean, it is hoped that the training will be of even greater relevance to Caribbean professionals and that increasing numbers of front line health workers will be able to avail themselves of the same.

This initiative is supported through funds made available to PAHO by Health Canada.