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2. Establishment of the Sung-Noen Rural Health Training and  Research Center

2.1 Several members of the Faculty of Public Health felt  that it would be desirable to have a training area where staff and students could train  and conduct research in order to develop new ideas and techniques in public health.  Therefore, in 1969 the establishment of the Sung-Noen Rural Health Training and Research  Center was proposed by members of the Faculty and a request was made to USAID for funding.  USAID agreed to provide assistance to the Faculty under a project entitled  "Sub-project Family Health, Faculty of Public Health". Under the terms of this  agreement which began in 1969 and ended in 1973, USAID provided vehicles (Jeeps) and  equipment and the Thai government provided over one million baht for the construction of  buildings. In addition, the Schools of Public Health, University of North Carolina, agreed  to assist in the implementation of this project by providing consultants. Later on USAID  officials felt it would be advisable to obtain consultants from other sources. Under the  project agreement the Faculty received a special budget of about one million baht per year  from the Thai government for the operation of the center. Since 1974, the Center has been  operated by the budget received from the Royal Thai Government alone, and the Center's  status has been legally changed from being a unit under the Dean's office to being on of  the 13 departments of the Faculty of Public Health since then.

2.2 Functions and responsibilities of the Center

2.2.1 Field Training Operation

The Primary Function of the Center is to conduct field  training programs for students from all departments of the Faculty of Public Health and  for students of related fields from other institutions. Two basic types of training  programs are conducted at the center: year-round (concurrent) and comprehensive training.  In both programs the emphasis is placed on community diagnosis, health planning at the  local level, epidemiology, environmental health, maternal and child health, and family  planning. Concurrent training is planned by the various department heads to supplement  their academic programs. The comprehensive training program, which lasts for 6 weeks, is  planned by a committee made up of Faculty of Public Health staff members and center staff  members. This program uses the inter-disciplinary team approach towards problem solving.  During this training the Center is responsible for the academic and logistic support of  approximately 200 students. In addition the Center staff assist with Training and  evaluation in both the classroom and the field. (For details of Field Training development  please see 1.2)

2.2.2 Research Activities

One of the major functions of the Center is to conduct  research in applied public health. Emphasis is placed on the development of on-going  action research programs which not only search for new knowledge, but also serve training  objectives. Population and health problems, environmental health issues, development of  appropriate technologies in primary health care, the integrated rural development approach  to health etc. are all major fields of interest. In addition, operation research for  efficient health service systems and participatory research techniques are encouraged.  Many of the research programs carried out by the Center are in cooperation with the  Ministry of Public Health or foreign agencies e.g. china Medical Board, Consortium for  Community Self-Help of Israel etc. Some research programs during the period 1980 up to the  present are : The Epidemiology Study of Diarrheal Diseases to set up a surveillance model  (in cooperation with AFRIMS);A pilot Study of Integrated Rural Youth Development and  population program (Sponsored by ICARP ASIA); The Study of the Usage of Analgesic Drugs in  Rural Communities (sponsored by China Medical Board);The Study of life Satisfaction of  Rural Junior High School Youth (Sponsored by Fon Foundation); Community Program for  Promotion of Growth and Development among Pre-School Children (in cooperation with School  of Public Health, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Consortium for Community Self-Help of  Israel).

2.2.3 Teaching

The Center is responsible for the management of the B.Sc.  (P.H.Sc) program majoring in Community Health and offers several courses for students of  all categories from the Faculty of Public Health. The courses are as follows:

PH.AD.416 Introduction to Health Economics (2 credits)
PH.BS.408 Health and Demographic Survey (3 credits)
PH.EP.414 Epidemiology in Community Health II (2 credits)
PH.ST.402 Integrated Rural Development (2 credits)
PH.ST.408 Primary Health Care and Community development (3 credits)
PH.ST.410 Community Health Programming and Evaluation (3 credits)
PH.ST.412 Data Processing in Community Health Work (2 credits)
PH.ST.488 Field Training (3 credits)
PH.ST.302 Introduction to Community Development (2 credits)
PH.ST.604 General Public Health (3 credits)
PH.ST.688 Field Training (3 credits)
Electives.
PH.ST.495 Seminar in Community Health Development (2 credits)
PH.ST.407 Rural Society & Public Health Problems (2 credits)
PH.ST.415 Directed Study on Community Health (2 credits)
PH.ST.413 Community Health Studies (3 credits)
PH.ST.405 Comprehensive Rural Health Development (2 credits)
PH.ST.409 Field Observation on Rural Public Health Administration (2 credits)

2.2.4 Basic Community Health and Academic Services
In addition to training and research functions, the Center also provides services to the  Community and academic institutes e.g. members of the Center Staff are sent to teach  biostatistics, Epidemiology and Community Health to nursing students at the Colleges of  Nursing in Nakornrajsima and Cholburi Provinces, and teach public health subjects to other  government agencies.

2.2.5 Dissemination of Knowledge about Thai Culture
As an academic institute, the Center has to take part in dissemination of knowledge about  Thai Culture to all visitors. The study of "Sung Noen Culture" of both  pre-historic and historic periods is now undertaken, Preliminary results reveal that there  is evidence of pre-historic settlement in the area.