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Public Health Careers Provide Opportunities to Improve Many Lives at a Time

Public Health Careers Provide Opportunities to Improve Many Lives at a Time

(Source: Creative Commons)

Peter Vogt / MonsterTRAK Career Coach

If you watch TV shows like “ER” or have friends who are training to become nurses, doctors or other clinical professionals, you might think the only healthcare careers available are those focused on meeting individual patient needs. They’re the jobs that tend to get the most airplay, literally and figuratively.

But behind the scenes are healthcare professionals who make their own critical contributions in the sometimes overlooked but important world of public health careers.

Three Activities

Public health addresses the healthcare issues of communities, particularly populations that might be deemed “at risk” for certain diseases or conditions. Health promotion and disease prevention are at the core of public health, and professionals in the field tend to focus on one of three broad activities, according to the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH):

HHS Certified Quiz: Test Your Health IQ

1. It's time to get vaccinated for seasonal flu. On average, what percentage of the US population becomes infected with seasonal influenza each year?

Under 5%
Over 20%

• Assessing and monitoring the health of communities to pinpoint existing and potential health problems and set health priorities.

• Working with government and community leaders to develop policies to address identified health problems and priorities.

• Ensuring that all people have access to quality, cost-effective healthcare, particularly as it relates to health promotion and disease prevention, and continually evaluating that care’s effectiveness.

11 Ways to Specialize

These three missions encompass hundreds of job titles, specialties and subspecialties. You’ll never be able to learn about all of them. But you can get a basic idea of the types of careers you can explore by looking at the 11 core areas of study in public health as defined by the ASPH:

Health Services Administration: Health services managers and administrators coordinate health services, education and/or policy in settings such as hospitals, clinics, managed-care organizations and public health agencies.

Biostatistics: Biostatisticians use statistical procedures and mathematical methods to analyze public health problems, programs and research efforts.

Epidemiology: Epidemiologists investigate the causes and patterns of disease and disability among populations.

Health Education and Behavioral Sciences: Professionals in this specialty area study how psychological, sociological, anthropological and even political concerns can affect public health.

Find out more about Public Health Careers!

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