Building Implementation Science Capacity for a Public Health 3.0

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Public health is an ever-evolving field, responding to the changing needs of societies worldwide. The article, Building capacity for Public Health 3.0: introducing implementation science into an MPH curriculum highlights a significant shift in public health training.

This blog will delve into the implications of this shift for public health practice, focusing on integrating implementation science into public health education.

Understanding Public Health 3.0 and Implementation Science

Public Health 3.0 is a concept that redefines the role of public health professionals. Instead of being just managers of health programs, they are envisioned as “chief health strategists”. This approach requires a multidisciplinary skill set that includes systems thinking, quality improvement, and innovative evaluation methods. The field of implementation science, which studies methods for successfully adopting research findings in real-world settings, is crucial in this context.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health has pioneered an approach to incorporate applied implementation science into its Master of Public Health (MPH) curriculum. This innovative educational model aims to equip public health professionals with the necessary skills to address 21st-century health challenges effectively.

The Need for Interdisciplinary Skills in Public Health

The current landscape of public health is complex and demands a broad range of skills. Climate change, globalization, and demographic shifts require innovative solutions. Integrating implementation science into public health training is a response to this need. Public health professionals can more effectively translate scientific innovations into impactful health programs by understanding and applying research findings in diverse, real-world settings.

A New Curriculum for a New Era

The curriculum at UNC encompasses four courses focused on different aspects of implementation science. These courses include applied implementation science, systems thinking, quality improvement, and innovative evaluation methods. The interdisciplinary nature of this curriculum reflects the complexities of modern public health challenges and equips students with a holistic skill set.

The Impact on Public Health Practice

This new approach to public health education has significant implications for public health practice. Public health initiatives are more likely to succeed in diverse settings by training professionals in implementation science. This training also bridges the gap between research and practice, ensuring that the latest scientific findings are effectively translated into real-world interventions.


The integration of implementation science into MPH curricula, as exemplified by UNC-Chapel Hill, marks a significant advancement in public health education. This interdisciplinary approach prepares future public health professionals to be more effective in implementing and evaluating health programs in complex, real-world environments. As the public health landscape continues to evolve, such educational innovations are vital in ensuring that public health professionals are equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

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