To answer that question, lets first define what the Public Health field encompasses.
Public health can be summarized as the science of promoting well-being, preventing illness and improving and protecting the populations' health through individuals, groups and organizations efforts on both a public and private level.
Although the majority of public health work is underwritten and undertaken by the government on a federal and local level, it is not the sole remit of the state, and private organizations, charities, communities and individuals can be involved on many levels. While these non-governmental contributions tend to be smaller scale more locally focused efforts, they do all have the same aim in mind – the well-being of the population as a whole.
There are three principal domains that a public health role tends to occupy - namely; the protection of health, the improvement of health and the improvement of health services.
The protection of health encompasses the conveyance of information to people to aid them in making informed and educational decisions about their personal well-being. Mediums used to convey this message might be billboards, social media, television or radio, so individuals working is this sector will be expected to develop a good understanding of the ever-evolving media landscape as well as honing their communication skills and messaging skills.
Health improvement covers the quality and availability of health services to the public. These might include housing, health education and employment prospects and could extend to monitoring behavior that might have an effect on someone's health and well-being. One of the main challenges in the health care industry has always been how to ensure that people across the country and in all demographic groups, have equal access to quality healthcare resources and facilities. Democratic access to these resources helps to ensure that people stay healthy longer and can significantly aid in the adoption of preventative measures that help lower the burden on the healthcare system as a whole.
As previously stated, access to healthcare is important, but perhaps equally so is the manner in which the facilities are run. As clinical services are by and large paid for with public money, it is important to ensure that they are run in the most efficient and effective way. A well-run clinic will have lower wait times, less administrative waste and bureaucracy and will ultimately give patients and a better visiting experience, which will in turn make them more likely to visit when issues arise.
Career paths that a degree in Public Health can open up are numerous as the field is such a broad church, but some of the more well know ones include;
Health visitors, who might deliver health related services from the time a woman is pregnant up to the point where the child has reached five years of age. Of course, not all expecting or new mothers need this sort of help, but individual circumstances
can sometimes present difficulties and this is where these professionals can step in with support and expertise.
Health promotion specialists aim to empower people take control of their health. In some instances, these professionals might simply give some advice to individual clients, but in other instances, they could be involved in producing strategies for promoting the health and well-being of a large number of people.
Health psychologists study the factors that allow people to be healthy, recover from an illness or cope with a chronic condition. They are experts in the intersection of health and behavior and are in demand as a part of integrated health care delivery teams — working with other doctors to provide whole-person health care.
Community developers focus on facilitating change within a community by setting certain policies in place that will ultimately have a positive effect on the health of the community as a whole or families within it.
The Public Health field can be a powerful draw for people who feel inspired to and compelled by making a difference in people's lives and giving back to their communities. Few careers are as rewarding as one that involves enhancing the longevity, well-being and procedural outcomes of the people in the communities around you.
Take a look at the schools on the right for more inspiration.
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