The Virtual Campus for Public Health is a network of people, institutions and organizations that share courses, resources, services and activities related to education, information and knowledge management in training. It aims to improve the skills and practices of the public health workforce by constantly enhancing the performance of health-related continuing education programs, through the development and innovative use of information and communication technologies. It is a tool of the technical cooperation of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for networked learning in the region of the Americas.
The VCPH has seven main components that correspond to their respective benchmarks: governance (management),
education, skills, technology, finance and evaluation.
- Campus governance as a dynamic process that, in order to fulfill its mission, guides the management of, sets standard for, and evaluates all of the educational activities online carried out by the institutions, organizations and individuals that participate in VCPH.
- The educational paradigms adopted by the campus are based on the principles of Networked Education and on the techniques and methods of Continuing Education for Health; these paradigms have been tested and developed by PAHO in coordination with the public health institutions of the countries of the Region.
- The competency maps of workers and public health institutions are strengthened in order to match their skills with the needs of the systems of public health services.
- Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are integrated into the strategic model as valuable tools ensuring effective decentralization and increased availability of the educational process, in order to help strengthen institutional autonomy and teamwork.
- Financial and material security is ensured through external and internal resource mobilization.
- The communication strategy aims to increase and strengthen the necessary critical mass for the VCPH to become a social network of Public Health Education, assisting the development of the RHS.
- Self-assessment and evaluation allow for feedback and improvement of the management, educational and technological processes developed in the VCPH.
These seven components and their actions are materialized in a networking approach that meets the needs of health systems and services, in correspondence with the Essential Public Health Functions (EPHF) which are framed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, the Health Agenda for the Americas, 2008-2015 RHS Goals and the Plan of Action of Toronto.
To develop institutional capacities and skills of workers through cooperation, interaction and networked education, as well as to maintain a continuous education process that allows for constant improvements in the performance of public health practices. The mission is supported by a management model that operates in a cooperative and decentralized way, with the participation of institutions that provide health services, governance, advisory services and trainings, as well as the technical and professional associations that make up the public health workforce in the countries of the Region of the Americas.
The Virtual Campus for Public Health is an excellent networking opportunity that enhances knowledge management and continuing education programs to develop human resources and public health institutions. It has contributed actively in the Public Health in the Americas initiative, through the improvement of essential functions and practices of Public Health, and consequently in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.