Main Article Content

Nouf Mohammed Alaklabi
Prof. Hoda Jradi
Sayed Shahbal


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


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.

Abstract 350 | pdf Downloads 244


1. Century I of M (US) C on EPHP for the 21st, Hernandez L. Who Will Keep the Public Healthy? [Internet]. Who Will Keep the Public Healthy? National Academies Press; 2003 [cited 2020 Nov 18]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221695/
2. White F. The imperative of public health education: A global perspective. Vol. 22, Medical Principles and Practice. 2013.
3. WHO/Europe | Public health services [Internet]. [cited 2020 Nov 17]. Available from: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/Health-systems/public-health-services
4. Bernard Turnock by J. What Is Public Health? 2006.
5. Parkes MW, Poland B, Allison S, Cole DC, Culbert I, Gislason MK, et al. Preparing for the future of public health: ecological determinants of health and the call for an eco-social approach to public health education. Vol. 111, Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2020.
6. WHO | Global health workforce shortage to reach 12.9 million in coming decades. WHO. 2013;
7. Zodpey SP, Negandhi H, Yeravdekar R. Future directions for public health education reforms in India. Vol. 2, Frontiers in Public Health. 2014.
8. Hou J, Wang Z, Liu X, Luo Y, Sabharwal S, Wang N, et al. Public health education at China’s higher education institutions: A time-series analysis from 1998 to 2012. Vol. 18, BMC Public Health. 2018.
9. Ren T, Lyu J, Yu CQ, Li LM. Rethinking public health education and public health workforce development in China. Vol. 54, Zhonghua yu fang yi xue za zhi [Chinese journal of preventive medicine]. 2020.
10. Li G, Dong Y. Dynamic modelling of the impact of public health education on the control of emerging infectious disease. Journal of Biological Dynamics. 2019;13(1).
11. Sawleshwarkar S, Negin J. A review of global health competencies for postgraduate public health education. Frontiers in Public Health. 2017;5(MAR).
12. Ministry of Education (MOE). Saudi Universities [Internet]. [cited 2020 Nov 18]. Available from: https://www.moe.gov.sa/ar/docs/Doc1/saudi-universities-arabic.pdf
13. Al-Mohaithef M, Javed NB, Elkhalifa AME, Tahash M, Chandramohan S, Hazazi A, et al. Evaluation of public health education and workforce needs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health. 2020;10(1).
14. Mahmoud MA, Al-Zalabani AH, bin Abdulrahman KA. Public health education in Saudi Arabia: Needs and challenges. Medical Teacher. 2016;38.
15. Home - Public Health Authority [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 24]. Available from: https://covid19.cdc.gov.sa/
16. View of Public Health and Epidemiology Education in Saudi Arabia: Changes Required to Be Made Following COVID-19 Pandemic- An Opinion of Public Health Expert [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 5]. Available from: https://www.jhidc.org/index.php/jhidc/article/view/274/289
17. Executive Master in Health Promotion and Education | Deanship of Graduate Studies [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 5]. Available from: https://graduatestudies.ksu.edu.sa/en/node/1748
18. Master of Public Health (MPH) [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 5]. Available from: https://research.alfaisal.edu/mph
19. Master Programs [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 5]. Available from: https://www.ksau-hs.edu.sa/English/academic/pages/mastersprograms.aspx
20. Mahat A, Bezruchka SA, Gonzales V, Connell FA. Assessment of graduate public health education in Nepal and perceived needs of faculty and students. Human Resources for Health. 2013;11(1).
21. APPENDIX: QUESTIONNAIRES (a) Questions for Faculty and Leaderships.
22. The Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice [Internet]. [cited 2020 Dec 7]. Available from: www.phf.org/programs/council/Pages/Core_PublicHealthCompetencies_Examples_of_use.aspx.
23. Academia - The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century - NCBI Bookshelf [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 11]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221242/
24. Gordon CE, Dean S, Estes JW, Goodman DM. Disease and discovery: a history of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, 1916-1939. Medical History [Internet]. 1988 [cited 2021 Nov 13];32(2):221. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1139869/
25. Rosenstock L, Helsing K, Rimer BK. Public health education in the United States: Then and now. Public Health Reviews [Internet]. 2011 Jun 12 [cited 2021 Nov 13];33(1):39–65. Available from: https://publichealthreviews.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1007/BF03391620
26. ASPHER [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 13]. Available from: https://www.aspher.org/
27. WHO EMRO | Health care system in Saudi Arabia: an overview | Volume 17, issue 10 | EMHJ volume 17, 2011 [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 13]. Available from: http://www.emro.who.int/emhj-volume-17/volume-17-issue-10/article-11.html
28. Public Health in the Middle East and North Africa. Public Health in the Middle East and North Africa. 2004 May 10;
29. Quality And Accreditation [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 13]. Available from: https://www.ksau-hs.edu.sa/English/Colleges/Nursing/Riyadh/Pages/AboutUS/WhoWeAre/QualityAndAccreditation.aspx
30. Rajab MH. A Master of Public Health with a Concentration in Mass Gatherings Health.
31. Tawakkalna [Internet]. [cited 2021 Nov 11]. Available from: https://ta.sdaia.gov.sa/en/index
32. Shahbal, S., Noshili, A. I., Hamdi, A. M., Zammar, A. M. A., Bahari, W. A., Al Faisal, H. T., ... & Buraik, L. M. (2022). Nursing profession in the light of Social Perception in the Middle East. Journal of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, 6(1), 3970-3976.
33. Shubayra, A. A., Alhwsawi, F. S., Alsharar, F. F., & Shahbal, S. A. Y. E. D. (2022). Relationship between nurses' satisfaction and their perception of nepotism practice in workplace. Journal of Jilin University, 41, 138-160.

34. Pan A, Liu L, Wang C, Guo H, Hao X, Wang Q, et al. Association of Public Health Interventions With the Epidemiology of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Wuhan, China. JAMA [Internet]. 2020 May 19 [cited 2021 Nov 11];323(19):1915–23. Available from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2764658
35. Remuzzi A, Remuzzi G. COVID-19 and Italy: what next? The Lancet [Internet]. 2020 Apr 11 [cited 2021 Nov 11];395(10231):1225–8. Available from: http://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140673620306279/fulltext
36. Tirupathi R, Bharathidasan K, Palabindala V, Salim SA, Al-Tawfiq JA. Comprehensive review of mask utility and challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Le infezioni in medicina [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2021 Nov 11];28(suppl 1):57–63. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32532940/

Most read articles by the same author(s)