Public Health in Turkey
First Public Health training program in Turkey was started in Refik Saydam Hifzissihha School (Hifzisihha = protection of health) in 1958 and duration of training was 2 years. Public Health specialization programs in faculties of medicine started in Hacettepe University (Ankara) in 1965 and in Ataturk University (Erzurum) in 1967 and the training program name was the community medicine specialty. New public health departments in universities have been founded in Turkey since 1982.
Turkish Society of Public Health Specialists (HASUDER) was founded in 1995. The Public Health Proficiency Board was established in HASUDER in 2012. HASUDER defines public health specialists as "Public health specialists are the professionals who know the health problems and the needs of the society, who can identify the causes of these problems by using scientific methods, produce solutions by developing public health policies, control and assess the public health programs and manage them at all stages of health services” (HASUDER, 2002), (Definition of Public Health / Community Health Specialists, List of Knowledge and Skills, Ankara, 2002). HASUDER specifies the tasks of the public health specialists as follows:
- To determine the health level of the community, the existing and developing problems in community health, the causes of these problems and the health needs of the community using scientific techniques,
- To produce solutions by improving public health policies,
- To control and assess the public health programs, to take part in the execution of these programs and to manage them at all stages of health services,
- To conduct planning, organizing, staffing, execution, supervision, coordination, budgeting and evaluation of services in relation to management,
- To be involved in directly in the tasks of researchers, counselors and administrators, in presentation of preventive health services and promotion of health, in evaluating outbreaks, in public health education of community and in the operation of public health laboratories,
- To access to the sources of information, to collect the data and to evaluate to fulfill these tasks.
Residency and Working as a Medical Doctor in Turkey for Foreign Medical Doctors
Foreign medical doctors could work in hospitals and Universities in Turkey. Unfortunately, they are not accepted without procedures except few foreign Universities. These procedures could change frequently, so that you should check current introductions. Almost all training programs are in Turkish for medical residency but there are some English programs for master degree /PhD. You need to know Turkish and to prove your language proficiency with exams if you want residency or to work as a medical doctor. For equivalance of diplomas, please contact with Council of Higher Education (“CoHE”, in Turkish “YÖK”). Some nationalities may have some privileges because they can work as a medical doctor in migrant health centers. They should contact with the Ministry of Health, Turkey (https://health.gov.tr/?_Dil=2).
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Information about the Public Health residency program
In Turkey, there are about one hundred Medical Faculties and most of them have public health specialization programs. All residents must be graduates of general medicine (Six years), after the graduation they must pass the national admission exam (Medical Specialty Board/TUS); the choice is determined by the result of this exam. The choice of the specialty and the city/region depends on the ranking. Every year, this exam takes place in February and in August (twice a year).
Duration of training
Public Health Specialization Training is given only in Universities. The duration of the public health training program is 4 years (2 years theoretical course + 2 years thesis). Fellowship Training is both in Universities and R & T Hospitals. These branches are Epidemiology (2 years), Occupational Health (3 years) and Environmental Health (2 years). Public Health Specialization Training Program includes basically as follows:
- Health Management
- Health Policies
- Occupational Health
- Environmental Health
- Communicable Diseases
- Woman Health
- Reproductive Health
- Child and Adolescent Health
- Geriatrics and Chronical Diseases
- Health Promotion
- Health Education
- Medical Sociology and Anthropology
- Community Mental Health
- Community Feeding
- Health Economics
- Extraordinary Situations and Disaster Management
- Public Health Ethics
- Accidents, Injuries and Prevention
- Public health concept
Mandatory training requirements
Medicine is divided into three main branches in Turkey: Basic Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Surgical Sciences. Public Health is included in Clinical Sciences. Residents have to complete obligatory internships after first year in;
- Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology,
- Obstetrics & Gynaecological Diseases,
- Pulmonary Diseases,
- Internal Medicine,
Each rotation takes one month and totally six months. Field Training (Totally six months, it is suggested to complete internships in 3rd or 4th year): City Health Authority, Laboratory of Public Health, Community Health Centre (TSM), Cancer Early Diagnosis Screening and Education Centre (KETEM), Family Health Centre (ASM), Community Mental Health Centre (TRSM), Healthy Life Centre (SHM).
End of training assessment method
There are two exams to complete training program: Thesis evaluation exam by three juries (One is out of the university, two are from own university), Theoretical and practical exam by five juries (If there isn’t enough jury in public health department, juries from departments of obligatory rotations in own university).
After completing four years of training program and passing exams; “Compulsory Work in Ministry of Health”. At least 1 – 2 years according to draw where you are appointed. Specialists can not work in private sector as physician without finishing this work. Public health specialist could work in every phase of healthcare services
- Community health centres
- Dispensaries (as chief physician)
- Hospitals (as chief physician or in quality units)
- Health manager, Advisor, Researcher, Executer
- Infection control committees
- Occupational health units
- Laboratories of Public Health
- Ministry of Health
- International organizations (such as WHO, United Nations)
Mostly work in Community Health Centres, City Health Authorities in Turkey or in Universities. Some prefer to work in private sector as advisor.
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