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Supporting the Analyst

APHO Public Health Information and Intelligence Course

In 2008, the Department of Health commissioned the Association of Public Health Observatories (APHO) to develop a public health intelligence training course covering knowledge and skills up to level 6 of the Public Health Skills and Careers Framework. The course was piloted in two regions in 2008. The content of the basic course is outlined below.

  • Background and context
  • What is public health?; what is public health intelligence?; patterns of health and disease; connections between health and wealth.

  • Public health intelligence basics: data sources
  • Denominators (populations) and geography; commonly-used data sources; primary care and other specialist data sources; health service activity; lifestyle data sources.

  • Basic statistics and analytic techniques
  • Using and manipulating data to describe population health; measures of uncertainty and small number issues.

  • Applied public health intelligence
  • Partnership working; local area agreements; tools to support the planning process — joint strategic needs assessment, health needs assessment, health equity audit, health impact assessment; evaluation.

  • Bringing it all together: the effective analyst
  • Presenting data; interpretation; technical writing; summarising information for different audiences; communicating and influencing.

APHO is developing and updating the course on an ongoing basis. Teaching materials from the latest version of the course can be accessed here.

Further topics covered in courses and CPD programmes delivered by regional public health observatories include:

  • Further statistics
  • Quantifying health inequalities; prevalence modelling; trend analysis and forecasting; statistical process control; calculating life expectancy; survival analysis.

  • Surveys
  • The principles and practice of surveys and qualitative methods and their use in public health intelligence work.

  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Basic GIS techniques and their application; the principles and practice of spatial methods and their use in public health intelligence work; geodemographic segmentation

  • Finding the Evidence
  • Where research evidence is found, how it is accessed, efficient methods of searching, appraising the literature.

Please contact your regional public health observatory for further information.

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