May 16, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Public health deals with improving the health of large groups of people as opposed to treating individual patients. Public health specialists work to make whole communities and environments healthier by providing them with what they need for optimal health. This could include providing immunisations and screening facilities, improving access to long-term health care and educating the community on basic health care and first aid. The specialty calls for professionals who operate on principles of prevention rather than cure.
Public health is a diverse and dynamic specialty that is growing rapidly. The field challenges its professionals to tackle multifaceted health issues that range from the control of infectious disease to reducing substance abuse, environmental hazards, violence and injury. As a public health consultant you will be required to look at the big picture and devise appropriate measures that will help protect and improve general health within the whole community. These measures could include steps to promote healthy lifestyles, prevent diseases and improve healthcare services and facilitate access to available healthcare services. They could work for a local rural community, a city or national or international communities.
A career in public health offers an abundance of job opportunities to suit a variety of interests and skills. Whether you are more interested in working with people, conducting research or carrying out surveys and statistics, you will find a suitable place in this field. Above all, public health is an immensely rewarding field that offers great personal fulfilment.
Public health professionals work in both the government as well as private sectors. Public sector jobs could be in local, state or federal health departments. The jobs available at health departments range from Health Educators and Food Safety Inspectors to Policy Analysts and Epidemiologists. Other opportunities include:
– Health Services Administration
– Biostatistics Health Education
– Behavioural Science
– International Health
– Environmental Health
– International Health
– Biomedical Lab
As a public health graduate, there are also several work and research opportunities with non-profit organisations such as the Red Cross, the United Nations Population Fund and others that focus on general or specific health issues.
You can also find work in the private sector – working in control trials for health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies.
While it is possible to gain experience in the field of public health without an advanced degree, you will need at least a Masters degree if you are seeking career advancement.
Some of the more challenging and dynamic public health jobs require a graduate degree in public health. A graduate degree will give you the competitive edge over other professionals vying for the same opportunity. In the UK the Imperial College London, School of Public Health offers short courses as well as undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees in public health.