Public health protects and promotes people’s health at the community level. It aims at improving the quality of health and considers the health of an entire population. It mainly deals with the prevention of diseases. It involves research on diseases, policy development, and implementation of guidelines for preventing diseases and injuries, detecting and treating chronic and infectious diseases, vaccination, and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Public health helps in the early detection of health-related conditions to respond promptly and avoid disease spread. It also helps in aiding and prolonging the life of people in communities. Public health involves the advocacy for health promotion and capacity building at the global level so that no human is left behind in accessing healthcare regardless of their country, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.
If you are interested in Public health and have little idea about jobs in the field, education requirements, and its importance, we have put together a list for you:
Table of Contents
1. Public health Jobs
Healthcare, including public health, is one of the fastest-growing employment fields in the US. The overall jobs in the Healthcare sector are expected to increase by 16% from 2020 to 2030. The current Public health catastrophe-COVID-19 pandemic, highlighted the gaps in health infrastructure and brought attention to the massive need for public health professionals.
The public health job outlook is now promising for people trying to get involved in the field and choose a career in public health. Public healthcare professionals work in a wide range of settings, from hospitals to universities and colleges, Government set-ups and agencies, health departments and ministries. Among others are non-profit organizations, foundations and private health-based organizations, pharmaceutical and research firms, and mental health groups.
The primary focus areas for work include infectious diseases, chronic illnesses, and mental health. More recently, Global surgery is gaining momentum under the Public health umbrella to improve access to surgery and its outcomes. Public health professionals provide the skills required for policy making, study and research diseases, capacity building, advocacy, and public outreach programs.
2. Degree required for public health
People with careers in public health come from a variety of backgrounds. Anyone can work in the industry, whether in healthcare or not. A public health bachelor’s degree followed by a Master of Public Health (MPH) is required for occupations requiring career entry and advancement. For job advancement, further doctorate and Ph.D. courses are also offered.
MPH can be done in various fields, including Global Health, Health Policy, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Environmental health, and others. The course duration varies between one to two years, depending on the university. Most universities are now also offering online master’s programs. The Public health degree provides a strong foundation in healthcare structure and systems, disease epidemiology, and data management and analysis.
3. Examples of careers in Public health
Public health careers allow working and interacting with leading professionals from diverse backgrounds. They provide an opportunity to impact people’s health on a larger scale and promote well-being. Public health careers are varied, and there are various fields in which jobs are offered. Following are a few examples.
An epidemiologist studies the causes and patterns of diseases and injuries in a population. They work to prevent infections, provide policymakers recommendations and generate guidelines for prevention and control. An epidemiologist requires an MPH in epidemiology or a concerned field. Some may have completed a medicine or a doctoral degree.
They specialize in chronic diseases, environmental health, infectious diseases, emergency response, Public health preparedness, maternal and child health, injury, and genetic and molecular epidemiology. Epidemiologists work for local or state government health departments, universities, colleges, or hospitals.
A biostatistician is someone who turns data into knowledge and information. They collect, analyze, and interpret human biology, medicine, and public health data, including cancer, drug trials, and viral and bacterial diseases. They use quantitative skills, statistical methodology, and tools to provide data and ascribe biases, variables, and data gaps.
Biostatisticians work with other experts in the field and work in universities, hospitals, or medical research organizations and companies.
C. Environmental health scientist
An environmental health scientist identifies risks and related factors between the environment and its impact on human health. They study land, water, and air to find possible hazards and risks, analyze samples for water-borne or air-borne diseases, and determine the effects of climate change on public health. They develop solutions and provide policies for environmental and climate-related problems. An environmental scientist works in labs, research institutes, hospitals, or government organizations.
D. Medical and health services manager
A medical and health services manager supports, coordinates, and plans health services in hospitals or clinics. They aim to improve the quality of health services provided to patients. The role requires training staff, scheduling meetings among stakeholders, monitoring budgets, and strategic planning management of organizational and administrative tasks. A healthcare administrator requires a bachelor’s and a master’s degree for better career prospects.
4. Why is Public health important
Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental right of all individuals. A community can only thrive when its inhabitants are physically and mentally healthy.
Public health workers take care of the health of communities so that no human being is left behind. Its work starts at the grass root level. They work on preventing disease by promoting vaccination, a healthy diet, and restraining alcohol and tobacco products from stopping the disease at the entry-level. Prevention of diseases at an early level provides cost-effectiveness.
Public health provides advocacy through community engagement, seminars, and public health awareness initiatives to prevent or slow the development of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and heart ailments. It helps develop policies to streamline response and efforts in catastrophic health circumstances such as infectious disease epidemics/ pandemics or natural disasters affecting communities. It also aids in disseminating information and data among countries and organizations to develop and influence policies.
The role of public health and its professionals is enormous in this post-pandemic period. They help save and improve the lives of countless people even before tragedy strikes. A career in public health not only provides ludicrous careers and financial benefits but also encourages and nurtures altruistic values.