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Public Health Career Profile

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public health career

We are blessed by living in an age where people are living longer lives, and global travel and trade bring great benefits to mankind, but those same blessings also give rise to challenges such as chronic illness, age related disorders, health problems of the impoverished, environmental hazards, and pose greater risk of disease spread on an unprecidented scale. Today, perhaps more than any other time in human history, educated professionals are urgently needed to work in the field of public health, in health informatics (information and communication systems used to collect and disseminate accurate data), and serve at public health organizations at every conceivable level, locally, nationally, and internationally - in both private and public sectors to protect the health of the community. Former U.S Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once said “Healthcare is vital to all of us some of the time, but public health is vital to all of us all of the time.”

To Prevent, Promote and Protect... A Public Health Overview

The mission of public health is to prevent disease, disability, morbidity, and death through effective use of population-based public health programs. Public health engages private and public organizations as well as individuals in accomplishing this mission through conducting epidemiological surveillance and analysis of communicable, environmental, and occupational morbidity and mortality to establish and prioritize strategies for prevention and intervention. Public Health professionals also provide programs for both individuals and groups to clearly communicate risks and hazards in the workplace and environment and develop best practices to safeguard health. They tackle critical health issues such as preventing epidemics and the spread of disease, HIV/AIDS, protecting against environmental hazards, reducing infant mortality, preventing injuries, encouraging healthy behavior which promotes both physical and mental health, helping communities to recover from disasters, bio-terrorism preparedness, and ensuring the quality and accessibility of health services.

Key Responsibilities of Public Health Professionals Include:

  • Assure an adequate public health infrastructure
  • Promote healthy communities and healthy behaviors
  • Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.
  • Prevent the spread of infectious disease
  • Protect against environmental health hazards
  • Prepare for and respond to disasters, assist communities in recovery
  • Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems
  • Assure the quality and accessibility of health services

Make A Real Difference With A Degree in Public Health

Public Health Careers

Public Health professionals are at the forefront of the global effort to combat poverty, inequities, disease and epidemics. Dynamic and capable Public Health leaders are needed to guide communities toward a healthy future through health care research in biostatistics, environmental health, ensuring access to clean water and air, epidemiology, health policy and planning, mental health, and population studies which identify needs and then administering programs to meet those needs.

Public Health includes professionals from many fields with the common purpose of protecting the health of a population- Emergency Responders, Restaurant Inspectors, Health Educators, Health Informaticists, Public Policymakers, Scientists and Researchers, Public Health Physicians, Public Health Nurses, Occupational Health and Safety Professionals, Social Workers, Epidemiologists, Nutritionists, and Community Planners.

If you`re looking for a challenging career that offers the opportunity to make an important difference in people`s lives, public health may be exactly what you`ve been searching for. An online Master of Public Health (M.P.H.), MSPH, Ph.D., DrPH, or EdD degree gives you the real-world skills and knowledge you need to promote community wellness, disease prevention and health. By understanding the unique factors influencing public health, such as epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and administration, social and behavioral sciences, and environmental health, you`ll be able to use your increased knowledge and confidence to make a real difference in your community.

What Can You Do With A Public Health Degree?

Public health professionals find excellent employment opportunities with government agencies, centers for disease control, non-governmental agencies, world health organizations, the United Nations, non-profit organizations, relief organizations, in clinical practice, academic institutions, biotech firms, consulting, and in private industry. A small sampling of the diverse Public Health career options include:

Biostatistics - Conducts research in statistical methodology and applications, as well as in fundamental problems of modeling biomedical systems.

Environmental Health Sciences - Focuses on the biological consequences and control of environmental and occupational hazards

Epidemiology - Conducts study and research in the distribution and determinants of disease.

Health Education/Health Communication - Uses specific methods and strategies to help people adopt healthier lifestyles, to make efficient use of health services and engages in program design, implementation & evaluation activities.

Maternal and Child Health - Focuses on promoting and enhancing the health of children, their families and communities.

Nutrition - Assessment of the food and nourishment needs and available resources for individuals, groups and communities and developing programs to help meet those needs.

Occupational Safety - Identification of health and safety hazards related to work and the work environment, as well as their prevention and control

Public Health Practice & Program Management - Identifiable public health programs and activities: maternal & child health, aging, mental health, environmental health and professional disciplines.

If a degree in public health is something that fits your personal goals and desires, then take advantage of some of the convenient ways to obtain your degree online through an accredited college or university. Degrees at nearly all levels are available, including bachelors degrees, masters degrees and doctorates, and nearly all offer various specializations for you to choose from.

Financial assistance is almost always available, including student loans and grants, scholarships, and federal and state aid, and many employers offer tuition reimbursement. There are even employers that will help cover costs of courses completely with contractual work agreements.


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Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University
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American University
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