• Ensuring greater academic RECOGNITION on the global stage.
• Promoting TRANSFERABILITY of public health education & training.
• Increasing EMPLOYABILITY of public health graduates.
• Attesting the QUALITY of Public Health Workforce training.
The history of APHEA and European professional sector focussed accreditation on Public Health Education can be traced back to 1988 and a collaboration between the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The collaboration attempted to introduce an unified European masters programme entitled the European Master of Public Health (EMPH) based on the W.H.O’s Health for All principals. However, it quickly became apparent that national public health training programmes were very different which caused the project to falter. Accreditation was proposed as a means to ensure transparency between national systems. In 1992 ASPHER was given a mandate to "organise a process of mutual recognition of courses, modules, programmes and even institutions." In the following years, between 1993 and 1994 a PEER (Public health Education European Review) system was instigated as a means to establish a European standard in training along with a mutual recognition and common standard in professional qualifications. The central principals were:
In 2000 ASPHER joined forces with foundation Mérieux to further develop the PEER criteria towards a system of accreditation and the organisational structure chosen was for ASPHER to form a constituent part of a third party agency alongside other independent organisations but where this third party agency would be sole responsible for accreditation. This laid the groundwork for the development of the Agency of Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA). These developments took place at the same time that ASPHER and the Open Society Institute (OSI) used the PEER review as a framework for establishing and developing 22 Schools of Public Health.
An accreditation task force was then developed which included institutional agreements between several European partners, European Public Health Association (EUPHA), European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), European Health Management Association (EHMA) and EuroHealthNet. By 2005 there had been a wholesale revision of the PEER criteria conducted with the aid of European funds from the Leonardo da Vinci Program. In 2009 ASPHER would reassess the criteria and make the final push towards the development of an agency.
In 2011 the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA) was launched with a focus on Master level programmes of public health. In November 2012 the APHEA programme criteria were revised for the first time and by the end of 2013 APHEA began a two year review of their processes and had opted for the development of systems reflective of the earlier central principals of the PEER encompassing course / module / programme / institution levels. In September 2014 APHEA ratified both a revision of the programme criteria but also the generation of criteria for the validation of curricula and the accreditation of training courses and institutions. Along with a readjustment of the pricing structures it is anticipated that the new systems will have introduced a new tier of flexibility which will incorporate more schools, programmes and trainings throughout the region and the globe. Equally a greater emphasis has been placed on using existing national accreditation documentation which not only aims to reduce workload but also to provide greater linkage and compatibility with national accreditation systems.
In 2020 the European associations responsible for founding APHEA retired at the end of their mandates. Since July 2020 the consortium members consist of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER) and the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI). The founding European association members will thus enter into APHEA’s advisory body.