Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine—Center for Applied Environmental Public Health
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: LUANN E. WHITE, PHD, DABT
For this project, investigators from Tulane’s Center for Applied Environmental Public Health (CAEPH) formed a collaborative partnership with environmental health professionals at the Louisiana Office of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health (LaOPH/EH) to develop distance-learning training modules for entry-level environmental health professionals.
Goals and Objectives
The goal of this project is to develop, field test, and implement a series of orientation training modules for entry-level practitioners addressing fundamental environmental health topics using distance-learning technologies.
Products and Outcomes
Through this project, 24 training modules were developed relating to the following topics:
- Louisiana environmental services (four modules),
- drinking water (seven modules),
- lead poisoning prevention (four modules),
- vector control (two modules), and
- chemical terrorism and introduction to toxicology (seven modules).
After each pilot with LaOPH/EH, an evaluation of the training module was conducted. The evaluations provide information for improving the modules and the delivery methods.
Impact to the Community
The training modules provide a means for environmental health professionals to attend more training sessions than they could attend in person. Examples of the modules’ usage include the following:
- the training modules reached approximately 75% of the environmental health professionals in the state;
- the water quality modules were delivered statewide to ~125 sanitarians and LOPH/EH personnel in the nine LaOPH regions using video teleconferencing;
- the lead poisoning and vector control modules are on the Web site and sanitarians have used them for continuing education; and
- the toxicology and chemical terrorism modules were delivered via synchronous internet delivery and were attended by the five members of each regional terrorism response team in addition to the parish sanitarians, environmental health professionals, and regional epidemiologists.
Although these training modules were primarily directed to partners in Louisiana, they can be used and accessed by environmental health professionals worldwide. Many of the modules involve the basic practices for environmental health and are not specific to Louisiana.
Feedback from Customers
CAEPH has had very positive feedback. LOPH/EH was particularly happy about the Louisiana Environmental Services modules because the office had a pressing need to get training on changes in the sanitary code distributed to environmental health professionals statewide. Dissemination of these changes could not have been achieved on time without this project and without distance-learning technologies. Distance delivery allows for a greater amount of training each year: training is more widely available and a certain amount of flexibility helps professionals work training into their jobs. The sanitarians look to this type of training to help them get their required continuing education each year.