Policies, Systems, and Environments

Creating Opportunities for Healthy Communities

An online training course on improving health through policy, system and environmental change.

The success of public health practitioners to assess, plan and implement policy, system and environmental change strategies depends on a basic understanding of the impact of the social and structural environments on health behaviors. Yet several recent assessments of the public health system in Ohio demonstrated a need for accessible and affordable trainings focusing on the Essential Public Health Services of informing and empowering people, developing policy, and mobilizing communities.

To meet these needs, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) partnered with The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Public Health's Prevention Research Center (PRC) and Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP) to create an online training course titled “Creating Opportunities for Healthy Communities.” The course increases participant awareness of policy work by reviewing the social determinants of health, the importance of approaching health promotion through a social ecological approach and the value of implementing strategies following the Health Impact Pyramid. The interactive, web-based course combines voice, text and video and will be available free of charge to Ohio's public health workforce. 

This course will provide a basic knowledge about the impact of social networks, community structures and local and state policies on health and health behaviors.  It features real-world examples of policy and environment changes and discusses the processes involved in making the changes.  While it is not intended to build specific competencies, its goal is to discuss the importance of planning and implementing policy, system and environment change strategies to improve health outcomes. 

“Creating Opportunities for Healthy Communities” is divided into three modules. Those who complete the training and pass a quiz at the end will receive a certificate of completion.

Upon completing this course, learners will be able to:

  1. Describe the systemic and environmental factors that influence health and health behaviors
  2. Describe the social-ecological model and steps involved in using the social-ecological model to select strategies for improving public health.
  3. Describe how local organizations and communities can implement important policy change strategies.

The partnership formed between ODH, the PRC and the CPHP is a unique approach to building statewide public health capacity. The collaboration brought together the PRC's academic expertise in health promotion, CPHP's experience with online public health training, and ODH's practical experience with policy, system and environmental change and large network of public health partners. This training will serve as an introduction to subsequent competency-based trainings to be sponsored by the CPHP and ODH.

The training is expected to be available in November 2012.  Watch this page for more information.

Green Buckeye Certified CEPH CAHME