Introduction The Public Health Agency of Canada's Skills Online program, developed in partnership with government, academic and professional organizations, supports public health core competencies by enhancing the skills of practitioners. This internet-based continuing education program aims to provide relevant, timely and practical Canadian content for public health practitioners. It is delivered in English and French, with an international component. More than 6000 individual public health practitioners have taken at least one of the modules. Subject areas include basic and epidemiology, outbreak management, surveillance, and evidence based public health practice (http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/skills). A significant challenge for the program is how best to maintain high quality content that reflects the current realities of Canadian and international public health practice, using up-to-date educational approaches, all informed by a variety of public health practitioner experiences.
Methods The Public Health Agency of Canada has met this challenge by establishing a multidisciplinary committee, comprised of public health experts, continuing education experts, practitioners and program participants. This “virtual committee” uses a variety of communication options to permit monthly virtual meetings, supplemented by online sessions and demonstrations, and occasional face-to-ace meetings.
Results This approach has resulted in a dynamic process for the continued review and revision of the content of online learning modules, establishment of some innovative learning solutions, and ongoing evaluation of the program.
Conclusion A virtual committee efficiently and effectively provides for maintenance of content, essential for the Public Health Agency of Canada's continued delivery of high quality continuing education for public health practitioners.
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