The Public Health Learning Network (PHLN) is a national consortium of ten Regional Public Health Training Centers (PHTCs), and their partners, that provide high-quality, relevant training to address the learning needs of the public health workforce. The PHTCs, funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), collectively reached over 160,000 learners through more than 2,000 trainings in grant year 2018-2019, and are well-positioned to use the tools in this Learning Agenda Toolkit with their audiences. The PHTC program is located in top universities within schools/colleges of public health focused on evidence-based applied practice and workforce development. They collaborate with community-based training partners and extensive partner networks.

In 2019, the PHLN formed a workgroup to explore the development of a Learning Framework and other workforce development tools based on the Strategic Workforce Action Agenda (SWAA) recommendations. PHTC workforce development staff and faculty worked together to analyze peer-reviewed literature, review existing training and workforce development frameworks, and develop this Learning Framework as a foundation for a public health Learning Agenda.

Based on the findings, these three principles emerged:

  1. Learning must be responsive to community and systems challenges, not just individual roles/competencies.
  2. Different challenges need different learning approaches; the most complex challenges require systems changes.
  3. Greater systems change can be affected by developing a Learning Agenda that offers increasingly more impactful training that focuses on root causes of health and addresses organizational and community competencies.

The purpose of this Learning Agenda Toolkit (Toolkit) is to help public health organizations and their partners envision how the public health workforce can address and achieve systems change. By working through multiple Learning Approaches and learning opportunities, a workforce development leader can develop a Learning Agenda that will lead to systems change. This Toolkit includes a conceptual Learning Framework, which illustrates the concepts behind the Learning Agenda, and the process planning tools necessary for public health leaders and workforce development specialists to accomplish the steps of the Learning Agenda, and achieve their vision of systems change.


Christina Welter
University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health – Policy, Practice, & Prevention Research Center

Karla Todd Barrett
Boston University, School of Public Health – New England Public Health Training Center

Sarah Davis
Colorado School of Public Health – Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center

Laura Lloyd
Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health – Region IV Public Health Training Center

Barbara Rose
University of Washington, School of Public Health – Northwest Public Health Training Center

Acknowledgement: This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB6HP31685 “Regional Public Health Training Center Program.” This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

Acknowledgement: This presentation is a product of a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research Center supported by cooperative agreement number  U48DP006392 from the CDC. The findings and conclusions on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the CDC.

Download The Public Health Learning Agenda

Facilitate deeper, more robust stages of learning that can increasingly impact systems change

How Can We Help?

Have a question? Something not working quite right?
Let us know and we’ll get back to you ASAP!