Public Health Professional

Overview

Public health professionals seek to assure conditions in which people can be healthy through education, the promotion of health and the prevention of disease, illness and injury. Public health professionals focus their activities on populations rather than individuals. They serve local, national and international communities.

Public health professionals’ work is organized and interdisciplinary in its approach. People working in public health come from varying educational fields, including specialists in research, science, demographics, education, the environment, medicine, and the law. Public health is highly varied, but activities are mainly focused on the following areas: health promotion, surveillance, risk, outbreaks, research, disease prevention, epidemics, communication, monitoring, and analysis.

Details

Potential Employers

  • Local, state or federal health departments
  • Non-profit organizations, such as the American Cancer Society or the Red Cross
  • Hospitals
  • Community health centers
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Health insurance companies

Job Outlook

While there are no specific Bureau of Labor Statistics for the public health field, it is considered a growing one due to complex health issues, improving access to healthcare, controlling infectious disease, and reducing environmental hazards.

Aptitudes

  • Ability to learn the principles and science of public health
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to work with a variety of people
  • Analytical skills and ability to make decisions based on observation and data
  • Ability to supervise others and plan and implement programs
  • Commitment to social justice

Education

Requirements

Applicants to the Master of Public Health program must possess a minimum of a 4-year baccalaureate degree in any discipline.  Students of public health come from a variety of backgrounds.  Coursework that would be helpful include classes in biology, mathematics, behavioral sciences, health education, global health, sociology psychology, education or anthropology.   All schools of public health require competence in effective communication.

UNMC offers a doctoral program in three areas:

  • Environmental Health, Occupational Health, and Toxicology
  • Health Promotion Research
  • Health Services Research, Administration, and Policy

Learning opportunities are offered to public health graduate students through UNMC’s network of community-based collaborations in Omaha, Nebraska, the United States, and globally.

Students who graduate from a Council on Education for Public Health accredited program or school are eligible to take the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) Certification in Public Health exam.  More information can be found at:  www.publichealthexam.org

Programs in Nebraska

Related / Links

Professional Associations

Career information adapted in part from What is Public Health, on the internet at www.whatispublichealth.org