What is Public Health?
Public health is population health. It uses a multidisciplinary approach where professionals from different disciplines work together for a common purpose: promoting health, preventing disease, and improving the life quality of communities.
Public health professionals may be involved in activities as varied as conducting disease outbreak investigations, designing programs to increase child physical activity and reduce obesity, conducting community health surveys, developing natural disaster and anti-bioterrorism response plans, and leading cancer, asthma and diabetes prevention initiatives, lobbying state and federal legislators to improve health care coverage for low-income families, planning environmental health programs, managing pregnancy and breastfeeding initiatives, and planning HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis prevention initiatives. Others work as public health physicians, nurses, dentists, and allied health professionals.
Why a Graduate Degree in Public Health?
Many public health jobs require a graduate degree in public health. The Master of Public Health (MPH) is a professional degree that prepares students for careers in public health. It is the most widely recognized and highly regarded credential for public health professionals. The MPH degree provides public health professionals a competitive edge by providing them with the broad knowledge and analytical and technical skills needed to be an effective leader in the public health field.
Public health professionals can work in a variety of traditional and non-traditional settings in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. Traditional settings include local and county health departments, state health departments, and community-based organizations. Other traditional career paths lie with federal governmental agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Non-governmental organizations include those such as the Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, the United States Agency for International Development, the Pan American Health Organization, and the World Health Organization. Public health professionals also work in less traditional public health settings such as local schools, hospitals, research organizations, and pharmaceutical representatives.
Examples of Job Tittles of Persons with MPH Degrees
- Epidemiologist in county health department
- Community health program planner
- Health communications specialist
- Health educator
- Health policy analyst
- Environmental health specialist
- WIC program manager
- Academic researcher
- Hospital infection control specialist
- Public health lobbyist
- Food safety specialist
- Health care consultant
- HIV/AIDS program specialist
- Non-profit organization director