The Importance of Computer Science for Public Health Training

March 14, 2016 Journal of Medical Internet Research

By Sarah Kunkle; Gillian Christie, MA, M Phil; Derek Yach, MBChB, MPH; Abdulrahman M El-Sayed, MD, DPhil


A century ago, the Welch-Rose Report established a public health education system in the United States. Since then, the system has evolved to address emerging health needs and integrate new technologies. Today, personalized health technologies generate large amounts of data. Emerging computer science techniques, such as machine learning, present an opportunity to extract insights from these data that could help identify high-risk individuals and tailor health interventions and recommendations. As these technologies play a larger role in health promotion, collaboration between the public health and technology communities will become the norm. Offering public health trainees coursework in computer science alongside traditional public health disciplines will facilitate this evolution, improving public health’s capacity to harness these technologies to improve population health.

JMIR Public Health Surveill 2016;2(1):e10


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