Aug 29, 2011

University of Minnesota Strives to Improve QI in Public Health

Quality improvement (QI) in public health is still not well defined, as there is often confusion about how the tools, techniques, and methodologies fit together.

Just a few of the challenges:
  • Specific programs, such as emergency preparedness, are more likely to utilize QI methods than others.
  • The IHI QI models are transferrable to the public health sector, but the governmental nature of public health departments are not typically found in other organizations, and can be an added challenge.
  • The National Board of Public Health Examiners, the Public Health Accreditation Board, and the Council on Education for Public Health have voiced concerns about the need to provide more educational opportunities in performance improvement to working public health professionals.

Despite these obstacles, QI strategies will play a vital role in improving outcomes, especially as demands on the U.S. public health system continue to increase. In an effort to address these concerns, the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health is launching its certificate program for public health performance improvement.

The program, which is launching this fall, is designed to prepare public health professionals for successful leadership and implementation of quality improvement initiatives within their respective organizations. To become certified, a student must earn a minimum of 12 credits during five terms, which can be taken in person or online. Students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge by leading an improvement team within their organization.

It's my hope that other universities across the country will also take steps to create quality and performance improvement certifications and concentrations to give students and working professionals the skills to implement successful improvement initiatives.
For more information on Minnesota's certificate, view this PDF:

Or visit the official website:

- Becky Ng, Public Health student, Emory University