The Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER) led an initiative and provided evidence to describe the main features of the public health professional workforce in Europe. This led to the Joint Statement on Public Health Workforce Development and Professionalisation, signed by 17 leading public health associations in 2017.

As a reuslt, the WHO Regional Office for Europe responded with the European Action Plan for Strengthening Public Health Capacities and Services.


In response, ASPHER together with the WHO Regional Office for Europe led the Coalition of Partners initiative to develop a Public Health Workforce Professionalisation Roadmap. This roadmap identified training & education as a key lever to strengthen the public health workforce. As a result, the PHTA has been developed in 2019 to support these developments and strengthen continuous professional development across the European Region.

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Levers of professionalisation


Training & education

Formal organisation

Professional credentialing

Code of ethics  &

professional conduct

Professionalisation roadmap

Who Is the Public Health Workforce?


Non-health sector professional (wider public health workforce)

The group “non-health sector professionals” includes actors from “other sectors” whose decisions and actions have a positive impact on health, whether they themselves realise it. They may be involved in fulfilling public health operations or services. This includes professionals at various levels of government who are drafting, adopting and implementing laws and policies or managing programmes in non-health sectors, technical officers such as lawyers, city planners, and housing, education, transport and other officials.

Health and social care professionals (wider public health workforce)

The group “health and social care professionals” has been defined as the personnel working in the health or social sectors (with great potential in health promotion, protection and disease prevention), but without an explicit public health function. Indeed across the WHO European Region, most health and social care professionals are benefitting and being exposed to some sort of public health training at some point in their initial education.

The public health professional (core public health workforce)

While the wider public health workforce may serve to deliver many EPHOs, and all will require some public health skills and competencies, not all will need to be public health professionals, the third cluster of the public workforce. This group that makes up the core public health workforce are engaged in the provision of EPHOs as the primary part of their professional role. As such, they should display a more focused public health set of skills and be able to provide leadership that ensures networking, coherence, synergy and strategic impact. They not only include those professionals in traditional public health occupations (such as medical doctors specialized in preventive medicine and public health, food safety inspectors, environmental health officers, communicable disease control staff, etc.), but also a range of “new” practitioners working in the broad field of public health protection, prevention, promotion, service delivery and quality assurance, such as those involved in projects and programmes (e.g., the Healthy Cities and Health-Promoting Schools movements).

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