Global Physical Activity and Public Health Training Courses

Read our fact sheet on lessons learned from previous courses here. Please contact Mike Pratt if you would like to apply for ISPAH accreditation for a course you are preparing.

The International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH) sponsors physical activity and public health courses around the world for researchers and public health practitioners. The courses have evolved from training programs developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with the Centro de Estudos do Laboratorio de Aptidao Fisica de Sao Caetano do Sul (CELAFISCS) and the International Union of Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE). The international course is modeled on the very successful physical activity research and practice trainings that CDC and the University of South Carolina have held in the United States since 1995. Since 2004 there have been 50 global courses in 20 countries. Students come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds including medicine, physical education, exercise science, nutrition, physiotherapy, worksite health promotion, nursing, and public health. More than 3400 professionals from 49 countries have been trained in the last 12 years.

The goal of the courses is to increase the number and skills of physical activity researchers and practitioners in order to enhance the health of all populations.

Specific objectives include:

1) Providing practical training in each of the key steps in developing public health policy and programs for promoting physical activity;

2) Increasing research capacity specific to physical activity and public health;

3) Stimulating and strengthening national and regional physical activity networks.

The courses are tailored to the interests, needs, and resources of the host country and participants, and vary from two to eight days in length. ISPAH establishes the basic framework, curricula, learning competencies, and core group of international faculty for the courses. The ISPAH Education Committee serves in an advisory role and manages course selection and scheduling.  However, a strong local organizing committee and host institution are essential for funding, site selection, organizing and marketing, providing local faculty, and carrying out the training.

Based on the success of the courses since 2004 ISPAH is planning to sponsor two or more courses per year in collaboration with local organizing committees. ISPAH is also developing on-line and mixed in-person and on-line training to complement the physical activity and public health courses.