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Building the Future Preparedness and Response Workforce

Posted on by Ilya Plotkin, Assistant Director, TRAIN Learning Network, Public Health Foundation

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 TRAIN Learning Network InfographicWhen I think about public health preparedness and response I ask myself three questions:
  • Who provides the infrastructure to train public health responders?
  • Where do they learn what they know?
  • Who helps a responder fulfill their mission?

The answers to these questions may rest in the TRAIN Learning Network (TRAIN). After the September 11th terrorist attacks, public health departments needed a way to track the preparedness-related training of professionals in their state, region, or locality. TRAIN was established in 2003 to offer a solution to the tracking challenge and help train the next generation of the public health workforce.

This network IS the track on which the trains run (pun intended)! If we equip responders with as many skills and as much knowledge as possible before an incident, we can expect:

  • Increased expertise during a response,
  • Just-in-time training that is more readily available,
  • Quicker response and recovery efforts, and
  • Greater resilience.

What is TRAIN?

TRAIN is a national learning network of agencies and organizations that deliver, track, and share trainings for professionals who protect and improve the public’s health. The network identifies, develops, and promotes opportunities for professionals to build their skills and knowledge.

TRAIN is an open platform, meaning that anyone, anywhere can access the training. Learners have access to thousands of health knowledge and skill-related courses. An emergency management specialist at a state health department can take courses in other disciplines or topic areas with content that is curated by the CDC or another partner in the network.

Learners are able to search TRAIN for courses that are tagged with PHEP Capabilities or PHPR Core Competencies. You can register as a learner through your state’s TRAIN affiliate or through CDC TRAIN.TRAIN has more than 1.5 million registered learners in all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories, and 177 countries.

How does TRAIN work?

TRAIN is a collaboration between 27 state health agencies and partners, as well as 3 federal partners – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Veterans Health Administration, and Medical Reserve Corps – who serve as TRAIN Learning Network affiliates. More than a thousand CDC-developed learning opportunities are available to all the registered learners in the TRAIN network.

TRAIN affiliates operate branded online portals, which allow them to:

  • Identify specific groups of learners for targeted courses or training plans
  • Monitor training and completion of specific groups of learners, including the use of custom reports
  • Partner on training with state, tribal, local, territorial, national, and international providers

Meanwhile, organizations that provide training, including other government agencies, academic institutions, and nongovernmental organizations can:Why is TRAIN a wise investment? Over 12 years (2005 – 2016), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment saw a cost savings of $35 million as a result of staff taking trainings through its portal, KS TRAIN. Learners and the agency saved travel expenses as well as personal costs.

  • Assign training to a specific group of learners and monitor their progress towards completion
  • Test knowledge and collect feedback, develop custom curricula, and access course data

The TRAIN approach fosters collaboration, saves cost by reducing duplication, and reaches learners across jurisdictional lines. This ensures that together, we can train the entire workforce with all the tools at our collective disposal.

Get more information

If you have additional questions, please send an email to training@PHF.org.

Posted on by Ilya Plotkin, Assistant Director, TRAIN Learning Network, Public Health FoundationTags , , , , , , ,

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