The practice of the 10 essential services and abilities in the 14 core competencies of Alabama environmental health practitioners

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Leading public health agencies have developed guidelines for essential services and core competencies. The study described here was conducted to determine the level of practice of the 10 essential services and abilities in the 14 core competencies among environmental public health practitioners in Alabama. Questionnaires about the practice of the essential services, abilities in the core competencies, and demographics were collected from 255 (88%) practitioners and analyzed by statistical methods. According to the results of this study, these practitioners spent most of their time diagnosing, investigating, enforcing, educating, and linking people to public health services. They had increasing levels of practice as they were promoted to higher-level jobs, and the level of practice was greater in rural counties than in urban. They rated their skill in all of the core competencies to be at least pretty good. Practitioners with high school degrees had lower abilities than those with college degrees. Overall, these professionals were better educated, younger, and had better skills than expected.

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