Point-of-care testing curriculum and accreditation for public health-Enabling preparedness, response, and higher standards of care at points of need

Gerald J Kost, A. Zadran, L. Zadran, I. Ventura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objectives: To develop awareness of benefits of point-of-care testing (POCT) education in schools of public health, to identify learning objectives for teaching POCT, to enable public health professionals and emergency responders to perform evidence-based diagnosis and triage effectively and efficiently at points of need, and to better improve future standards of care for public health practice, including in limited-resource settings and crisis situations. Methods: We surveyed all U.S. schools of public health, colleges of public health, and public health schools accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH). We included accredited public health programs, so that all states offering public health education were represented. We analyzed survey data, public health books, and board certification guidelines. We used PubMed to identify public health curriculum papers, and assessed 2019 CEPH accreditation requirements. We merged POCT knowledge bases to design a new curriculum for teaching public health students and practitioners the principles and practice of POCT. Results: Public health curricula, certification requirements, and textbooks generally do not include POCT instruction. Only one book, Global Point of Care: Strategies for Disasters, Emergencies, and Public Health Resilience, and one online course on public health preparedness address POCT and public health intervention issues. The topic, POC HIV/HCV ED testing, appeared in one course and POC diagnostics in local clinics, in another. Papers on public health curriculum have not incorporated POCT. No curriculum addresses POCT in isolation units during quarantine, despite evidence that recent Ebola virus disease cases in the U.S. and elsewhere proved unequivocally the need for POCT. The modular learning objectives identified in this paper were customized for public health students. Public health graduates can use boot camps, online credentialing, and self-study to acquire POCT skills. Conclusions: Enhancing accreditation requirements, academic training, board certification, and field experience will generate public health healthcare professionals who will rely upon evidence-based medical decision making at points of care, including during crises when time is of the essence. A POCT-enabled public health workforce can help prevent and stop outbreaks. Public health-based medical professionals urgently need the skills necessary to perform POCT and prepare America and other nations for threats portending significant adverse medical, economic, social, and cultural impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number385
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Issue numberJAN
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Accreditation
  • Curriculum
  • Epidemic
  • Point-of-care testing
  • Points of need
  • Preparedness
  • Public health
  • Standards of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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