EVALUATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH EDUCATION AND PRACTICE FROM THE PERSPECTIVES OF PUBLIC HEALTH ACADEMICIANS, POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS, AND ALUMNI IN SAUDI ARABIA

Main Article Content

Nouf Mohammed Alaklabi
Prof. Hoda Jradi
Sayed Shahbal

Keywords

Public health curriculum, profession, models, graduate, roles, Saudi Arabia, public health Practitioners, public health education

Abstract

Background: According to the Saudi national vision 2030, several strategic plans intersect with the public health goals, for instance, increasing population life expectancy, improving health determinants, and creating healthy cities. Therefore, high demand for more public health-qualified graduates and a better-trained workforce.


Aim: To evaluate public health education and public health practice from the comprehensive perspectives of public health leadership, academicians, and postgraduate students in Saudi Arabia.


Methods: An explanatory phenomenological qualitative method was used, to examine participants’ experiences through in-depth one-to-one interviews. In order to structure the responses and develop analytic themes for gathering and interpreting qualitative data by using analyzing app Dedoose.


Results: Thirty-nine in-depth interviews were conducted with MPH current students (n=20), alumni (n=12), faculty members (n=3), and MPH leaderships (n=4) across three universities KSAU-HS, Al-Faisal, and KSU. Many themes emerged from the students’ interviews that were grouped into several themes and sub-themes: (1) Motivation of studying MPH, (2) Availability of recourses, facilities, and support, (3) Course content and delivery, and (4) University regulations. During the interviews with the alumni, several significant themes emerged, including (1) advancement in their careers, (2) the absence of certificate classification from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, (3) the importance of organizational approval and support, and (4) the need for access to national data for research purposes. During interviews with faculty members and leaders, several themes emerged that shed light on the situation: (1) the student's unwavering dedication to the programs, (2) the impressive educational backgrounds of the students, (3) the scarcity of Public Health majors, and (4) the unfortunate dearth of research funding and support.


Conclusion: improving public health education is critical to producing well-trained practitioners, biostatisticians, faculty members, and leaders. Despite that, the qualitative research we have conducted offers some essential aspects to be considered in the future, but further investigation is required.

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