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NEW COMPETENCY STANDARDS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
A need for standards
On September 26, 2005, a resolution was passed unanimously at the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors national annual general meeting to implement a system of professionalism that would require a form of continuing education for Environmental Public Health Professionals (EPHPs).
The National Executive Council (NEC) was given a mandate by the members to design, develop and implement a membership maintenance plan, an ethical code of conduct and a system that requires some reasonable level of ongoing educational credits in the field of public health inspection. A steering committee was formed with public health stakeholders from across Canada to oversee the development and implementation of the Continuing Professional Competencies Program.
The Continuing Professional Competencies (CPC) Program
The Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI) is proud to announce the release of the English version of the Reference Guide for the Continuing Professional Competencies (CPC) Program. (This is a large file. A link to smaller files on our National site can be found on our Resources page.) This document will ensure that individuals practising the profession are qualified, competent and ethical practitioners. They will also ensure that the standards for maintaining the CPHI(C) designation are being met by all practising Environmental Public Health Professionals following certification.
The new standards contain three main components:
- A set of Discipline Specific Competencies to serve as a basis for self-assessment
- A professional development model to guide continued learning and uphold certification
- A code of ethics to identify essential professionalism for all CPHI(C) holders
To support the CPC Program, a board of practice was created, which will be known as the Council of Professional Experience (CoPE). CoPE will ensure that Environmental Public Health Professionals meet and maintain standards of professional competency and practice across Canada. Those who hold a regular membership with Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors will be required to participate in the CPC Project. Employers are encouraged to make this a minimum employment qualification requirement in their Environmental Public Health Professional job descriptions.
CIPHI Ontario Continuing Professional Education Series
To complement the work being done at the national level with the CPC Project, the CIPHI Ontario executive council has developed a Continuing Professional Education Series (CPES) for Environmental Public Health Professionals. A needs assessment questionnaire was circulated and 97% of the respondents overwhelmingly agreed that continuing education for Environmental Public Health Professionals was important to maintaining their professional competencies. The objectives of the Continuing Education Series is to recognize changes in practice, reflect new evidence-based information, optimize personal effectiveness and introduce Environmental Public Health Professionals to new equipment or tools as these become available.
Launch of the Continuing Professional Education Series
The CIPHI Ontario Continuing Professional Education Series was successfully launched in the spring of 2009, with sessions strategically located across Ontario. It is encouraging to see many health units and professional stakeholders interested in partnering with CIPHI Ontario in this activity. Topics that have been addressed to date include Project Management, Small Drinking Water Systems and applying the Risk Categorization (RCAT) Tool, Pool and Spa Water Chemistry, and a Personal Service Settings workshop.
More events are planned and discussions are currently underway with several professional organizations that are interested in partnering with the CIPHI Ontario for this important program. In the future, these types of events will be recognized by the Council of Professional Experience (CoPE) as part of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors Continuing Professional Development Model.
Continuing professional education begins at the point when formal education ends and professional practice starts. Ensuring that Environmental Public Health practitioners maintain professional competency enhances the credibility of both Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors and our members.
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