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).
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)
2.2.5 Dissemination of Knowledge about Thai Culture