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1. Introduction

1.1 The Faculty of Public Health  was established in 1984 within University of Medical Sciences, then under the jurisdiction  of the Ministry of Health, to provide education and training to health personnel. The  Faculty was initiated by a group of medical doctors who had been trained in schools of  public health abroad and who recognized the importance of formal public health education  and training for health workers. The goal of the Faculty of Public Health is to produce  qualified and competent health personnel to work efficiently and effectively in the  delivery of health services to the people of Thailand.

In 1969, a change in the  organization of the University occurred and its name was changed to Mahidol University. As  part of this reorganization the University was placed under the office of University  Affairs. Despite the change in the organization of the University, the objectives and  philosophy of the Faculty of Public Health remained the same. However since the  reorganization the relationship between the Ministry of Public Health, the consumer, and  the Faculty of Public Health, the producer, has been relatively loose due to the fact that  there was no longer a direct relationship between the two. Recognizing the importance of a  good relationship between the Faculty and the Ministry, officials from the Ministry are  invited to be guest lecturers, to attend seminars, and to assist in curriculum  development. One cooperative ongoing project between the Faculty and the Ministry is the  Sung-Noen Rural Health Training and Research Center located in Nakornrajsima Province.

1.2 Development of Field Training

There have been many changes in the  Faculty of Public Health during its 36 years of development. In 1948 there were only  eleven students compared to a present enrollment of 65. The teaching staff now numbers  over 15 with over half trained in graduate programs abroad.

Because the health services of the  country need qualified manpower in several categories to make an effective health team,  the Faculty trains students in several areas. These include graduate studies leading to  the Master of Public Health and Master of Science in Public Health degrees as well as  undergraduate studies in public health nursing, practical nursing, sanitary science,  occupational health, nutrition, health education, and community health. Students in all  areas of the health sciences need practical training as well as theoretical knowledge. In  the past at the end of each academic year students were sent "Up-Country" to get  an exposure to rural health problems and health care delivery system in remote areas of  the country. The method used for MPH students was an observation tour to a province to  learn the organization,administration, and local health problems at all levels of the  health delivery system. The sanitary science and public health nursing students were sent  into the field to practice their own skills.

In 1965, recognizing the importance  of the team approach in the delivery of health services, the Faculty of Public Health  changed the strategy of field training from the categorical approach to the team approach,  Students of all categories were arranged into teams and sentinto rural areas for six weeks  of supervised training by employingproblem solving process's.
Since 1979, the emphasis has been placed on the Primary Health Care concept. Students have  to work with the villagers in identifying their problems, setting priorities, planning and  implementing a health program, and then evaluating the program. Appropriate technologies  and community involvement were encouraged.

In 1981, a revision of the field  training program was undertaken, The concept of health development as an integral part of  the total development needed to satisfy the basic needs of poor people has been  emphasized.