A Career In Public Health Offers Diverse Specialty Options – Part Two

June 23, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Exploring The Diverse Specialties A Career In Public Health Offers

Maternal and Child Health

Maternal and child health focuses on providing information and access to birth control methods, promoting the health of pregnant women and their unborn children, and dispensing vaccinations. As a professional in maternal and child health, you would be responsible for helping improve public health delivery systems specifically for women, children and their families through education, advocacy and research.


Public health nutritionists are responsible for promoting healthy eating and regular exercise, teaching the dangers of overeating and excessive dieting, and researching the effect of diet on the elderly. This field examines how food and nutrients affect the lifestyle and wellness of the entire population and uses a combination of science and education to promote health and disease prevention.

Public Health Laboratory Practice

Public health laboratory professionals such as biochemists, microbiologists and bacteriologists test biological and environmental samples in order to diagnose, prevent, treat, and control infectious diseases in communities. Public health laboratory practice is essential to screen for the presence of certain diseases within communities, to ensure the safety of our food and water and to respond to public health emergencies such as bioterrorism.

Public Health Policy

Professionals in public health policy work to improve public health through legislative action at local, state, and federal levels. Their job functions range from analysing the impact of seat belt laws on traffic deaths to advocating for funding for teen anti-smoking campaigns. 

International/Global Health

Checking a newborns vital signs Global health is one of the most exciting and challenging of all sub-specialties of public health. Global health professionals address health concerns across different cultures in countries around the world.

Globalisation has linked our health more closely to one another than ever before. The rapid movement of people and resources across borders means that a disease can travel from a remote village to an urban hub halfway across the world at breakneck speed. Global public health meets the rising health challenges that transcend national boundaries. It addresses health concerns from a global perspective and encompasses all areas of public health, from nutrition, maternal and child health and emergency medical services, to biostatistics and epidemiology.

Different public health schools offer slightly different courses so it is important to choose a medical school that offers specialisation in your areas of interest. Here are a few courses offered by various schools:

– International health policy and management

– Health promotion

– Population policy and demography

– Healthcare finance and economics

– Coping with complex emergencies

– Maternal and child health

– Primary health care and health services

– Communication and behavioural science

– Infectious disease epidemiology and control

– Mental health and medical anthropology

– Program evaluation/information systems

– Public nutrition and food security

– Research and evaluation methods

Health Services Administration/Management

Health services administrators are responsible for developing budgets for a health department, creating polices for health insurance companies and directing hospital services. The field of health services administration combines science, business and politics to deliver effective public health services. Specialisation can be in planning, policy formulation and analysis, economics, finance or marketing.