War and peace in public health education and training - a scoping review
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Medical University of Gdańsk Poland
School of Public Health, Bielefeld University, Germany
Institute of Public Health, Jagiellonian University Poland
Department of Public Health and Social Medicine, Medical University of Gdansk Poland
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1697
Background and Objectives:
Armed conflict and war are public health disasters. In such scenarios, public health action has a crucial role in emergency and rehabilitation, and the importance of war prevention and peace promotion (“peace through public health”) is increasingly recognised. While this role is by now well conceptualised in public health research and interdisciplinary cooperation, the translation into public health training and competencies is only beginning to emerge, especially in Europe.

With a scoping review, we systematically map the scientific literature on public health education and training relating to war and peace promotion. We searched in PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Embase, Web of Science Core Collections as well as the reference lists of included material. Eligible literature assessed war and peace in the European public health education context. We excluded any material that did not target the public health workforce.

We included 21 sources that ranged from opinion pieces to empirical assessment of curricula and evaluation studies. The educational programs were predominantly short-term and extra-curricular in postgraduate courses addressing public health professionals both in conflict-affected countries as well as those not directly war-affected. Most of the literature focused on public health action in times of war, often without specifying the context and type of war or armed conflict. Emergency response and multidisciplinary collaboration were the most prominent competences, often drawing from closely related fields such as natural disaster and outbreak management.

The scientific discourse on competences in times of war and promoting peace in public health in the European region mostly focuses on immediate emergency response. Peace promotion and war prevention are missing foci which need to feature more prominently in public health training. Professional organisations of schools of public health should ensure their competencies include peace promotion and war prevention in addition to war response.

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