What is Public Health?

The role of public health in our society cannot be overstated, and people who hold a Master’s in Public Health can hold a variety of positions. Public health workers can find employment in the government or for corporations, and they can also work in nursing homes and in hospitals.

What are the Core Functions of Public Health?

The role of public health is to provide education for the general population in order to ensure healthy communities. This often involves disseminating information regarding best ways to prevent illnesses, instead of waiting for them to occur and then seeking treatment from the medical community. The public health industry takes a big picture approach and will often help assorted agencies to prepare for emergencies. Public health officials will also provide a response to disasters and threats to the population.

Public Health Job Description

There is no single public health job description, because public health is such a varied and interdisciplinary field; it encompasses doctors and nurses, health managers and administrators, educators and researchers, and many, many more. It’s easier to create a public health job description based on the core functions of public health.

According to the CDC, the role of a public health worker will entail the monitoring of health hazards in an attempt to provide a solution to the problem. The public health job description includes conducting research into the possible causes of an epidemic, and people thus employed will often work with the government to develop action steps. Disease prevention is another key role of public health, from promoting healthier lifestyles to counseling addicts and substance abusers.

The role of public health professionals in society will include interacting with various NGO health organizations, government agencies, and private sector business, acting as a liaison between these groups and the greater populace. They will analyze existing procedures to ensure the highest level of efficiency and quality, making changes where necessary.

Public health workers can also work within the sphere of academia and in a wide range of industries. Graduates may find themselves investigating trends regarding vaccinations and disease, and they may be responsible for comparing findings between differing people groups in order to tease clues out of the data. They may further conduct testing and trials to find risk factors, and their observations will be recorded for further study.

The Role of Public Health: Specific Careers

Some of the professional titles available to those with a degree in public health are: infection control officer, director of environmental health, public health officer, statistician, and social worker. Functions can include helping with behavioral health situations and with performing the role of a patient advocate. For public health professionals, an MPH combined with another professional degree, such as a Master’s in Management, can open up more doors to leadership.

Another possible career path is that of a biostatistician, whose job it is to learn about ailments, such as cancer, in an effort to minimize their impact on society. These professionals will also document the progression of certain diseases to project the expected lifespans of those afflicted. They may also deal with clinical studies on the efficacy of new drugs.

Medical scientists will be tasked with epidemiology, or the collection and scrutiny of health statistics, and this can include issues that pertain to the air pollution that exists both indoors and out of doors. The field of climate science sometimes plays a part, and electromagnetic fields can as well. Problems affecting our world that range from acid rain to greenhouse gases and rising sea levels can all contribute to maladies and, therefore, must be monitored, as drinking water and the air that we breathe are impacted. Students interested in these professions can obtain their public health certification and the training to help them specialize in the field of their choosing.