Key Environmental Competencies for Rural Primary Care Providers

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2008
Project completed:
July 2010
Providing health care that considers environmental determinants of health, environmental impact on health, and outcomes attributed to environmental issues is complex due to the need for providers to be competent not only in social and health sciences, but also in environmental health concepts. Specific knowledge of issues such as rural environmental health may be severely limited in the available rural health care workforce.

This study seeks to develop, from existing single discipline standards, a competency guide that will address competencies that are essential for providing environmentally conscious care. After existing standards have been identified from multiple entities, a national consensus conference will be convened to identify competencies that are common across professions and disciplines, and to develop a Multidisciplinary Environmental Health Provider Competency Guide. The Guide will then be systematically evaluated for content validity, completeness and clarity by experts in the field. This guide will then be disseminated to stakeholders nationally. Future studies will use the guide to evaluate the current state of the competency of the rural workforce relative to environmental health, use of the competencies in the development of education programs for practicing professionals, and the impact of the competencies when integrated into existing programs providing entry level providers.