9 Public Health Concentrations to Help You Choose Your Path

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9 Public Health Concentrations to Help You Choose Your Path

Public health helps keep families and communities healthy. It provides rural health services, immunizes children and promotes safety on the job. Public health is also a way to save lives. Public health efforts have led to a drop in the American Public Health Concentrations Association’s (APHA) death rate for Americans who smoke between 1964 and 1997.

Although public health professionals have a single goal, which is to promote better health in individuals and communities, their work covers many areas. These include community health and epidemiology as well as disaster management and policy.

9 Public Health Concentrations

Public health professionals often specialize in one area. Health educators promote healthy living and epidemiologists track outbreaks. Health system managers improve healthcare systems. There are many career options for public health professionals who have completed training in this field. Public health professionals can work in many areas, combining their skills in science and health care with those in policy development and community outreach. If you are a public health student looking for a concentration, make sure to consider what your areas of interest match the knowledge required for each career path. The best way to narrow your options is to learn about the different industries and work environments. The following nine concentrations can be used to help public health professionals aspirants get a better understanding of their chosen path.

Community Health

Community health professionals develop relationships with clients, connect people to healthcare providers, reduce barriers to Public Health Concentrations accessing health care and advocate change in the healthcare system. These professionals work specifically with people from marginalized and underserved communities. They advocate for individuals’ rights in healthcare, help them make connections, and provide care. These professionals may choose to pursue advanced degrees, such as in medicine or social work. There are many career options in community health, including community health advisor, community wellness coordinator, community outreach specialist, and wellness coordinator.

Featured role: Community Health Advisor

  • Description – Community health advisors are health professionals who collect and share health information with people to promote wellness. They prepare reports for health educators as well as providing support and guidance to community members. Others include educating the community about housing, food and mental health. They also help to make sure that healthcare services are available such as cancer screenings. Access to health services is also facilitated by them. For example, a community advisor might assist a client in enrolling in Medicare or Medicaid.
  • Workplace environments typical for community health advisors: These include colleges and universities, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, private businesses, public health agencies, and non-profit organizations.
  • Specialties: Our community health advisors have a wealth of knowledge in the areas of community and public healthcare, administration and government services.

Disaster Management

The focus of disaster management is on helping communities that are in crisis. Professionals in disaster management assist communities with dealing with all manner of disasters. These include fires, hurricanes, human-made and natural disasters. They plan and prepare emergency response plans for four phases: response, recovery, mitigation, preparedness and response. There are three possible roles in disaster management: emergency management director and general and operations manager.

Emergency Management Director is the featured role

  • Description. The emergency management directors are responsible to create the plans and procedures that communities use in order to prepare for natural and man-made disasters. They often collaborate with health and public safety officials to lead response efforts in the event of a natural disaster or other human-made catastrophe. They organize training, conduct damage assessment and coordinate federal funding requests.
  • Workplace environments typical: Emergency management director often work for local and state governments. Other possible employers include healthcare providers, private corporations, and colleges and universities.
  • Specialties: Emergency management director coordinates disaster planning, emergency response and public administration.

Epidemiology

Today, epidemiology is in the forefront of public health. According to the National Institutes of Health Epidemiologists investigate factors that can determine whether a disease is present or absent. COVID-19 was an example. In this case, they gather data to determine how many people are affected and then investigate the virus’s causes and patterns. A broad career path in epidemiology includes subspecialties like infectious diseases, injury, and environmental health. Additional roles for epidemiologists include clinical, academic and applied epidemiologists.

Featured role: Applied Epidemiologist

  • Description The purpose of Epidemiologists is to study the causes of diseases, and examine patterns in their spread. They conduct public health studies and plan ways to treat and prevent disease. These duties include collecting, analyzing, and communicating with the public. They also coordinate health and safety plans with officials. Manage public health programs.
  • A typical workplace environment: Epidemiologists are employed in offices and labs. The state and local health departments can be employed. Federally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and, more specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are major employers.
  • Specialties: Many epidemiologists have a master’s in epidemiology or medicine and are experts in a particular area, such as infectious disease or health.

Health Education and Communication

Communication professionals and health education professionals are trained to educate the community about wellness and encourage healthy behaviors. They develop strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. They are available to families, young adults, as well as working professionals. Public health professionals can choose to specialize in education or communication. There are many roles that can be performed in health education and communications, such as technical writer, health educator, and public relations specialist.

Featured role: Health Education Specialist

  • Description The role of health educators is to assess the needs of the communities they serve and then develop education programs that address them. They provide information to individuals and communities on potential health hazards and strategies to manage existing conditions. They provide training and help people access health services.
  • Workplace environments typical: Health educators work in healthcare facilities, colleges and Universities, nonprofit organizations and private companies.
  • Specialties: Health educators apply their knowledge to education and health. They are skilled at the development of educational materials.

Health Policy

The focus on health policy is to find top-level solutions for health and social problems. The professionals in this field use research analysis, policy briefs and presentations to highlight the impacts of various policies across a range of demographics and suggest reforms. Careers in health policy include both the government and private sector. There are many possible roles within this concentration, such as healthcare consultant, political scientist, and medical and health services manager.

Featured role: Medical and Health Services manager

  • Description Health services and medical managers coordinate healthcare provider’s business activities. These managers are responsible for developing and implementing organizational goals and objectives. They also monitor compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Common workplace environments: Healthcare managers and doctors work in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.
  • Specialties: Healthcare and administrative managers. Some roles might require clinical experience.

Health Systems Management

The administrative side of public healthcare is managed by health systems management. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics professionals in this field plan, direct, coordinate and manage medical and health services. These professionals are responsible for developing goals, managing finances and improving the quality services. Aspiring nurses home managers, clinical managers and health information managers may be interested in these roles.

Featured Role

  • Description The standards of care for nursing home residents are maintained by nursing home administrators. They oversee and direct the operation of the facility, as well as hiring and training workers. They also create and supervise standards and policies, ensure compliance to federal and state regulations, manage budgets, report to regulators, and assist clients seeking admission.
  • The typical workplace environment: Administrators with the specialization work in retirement communities, independent living homes, and nursing homes.
  • Knowledge areas: Administrators in nursing homes need to be familiar with administrative functions, elderly care, and general health care.

International Health

International health focuses on communities living in low-income countries. This includes displaced populations. These professionals work to find solutions for problems related to mental health, violence against women, and other age-related issues. Nearly all public health positions are applicable to the international focus on health. These include the emergency management director and laboratory scientist, as well as the health information manager.

Laboratory Scientist is the featured job

  • Description Global health scientists do field and laboratory work focused on global issues. They also conduct field interviews, surveys, and other research. They usually specialize in a specific area like epidemiology or virology.
  • Typical workplace settings: Governmental and intergovernmental health agencies like the CDC and United Nations as well as nongovernmental organizations that are focused on health care are some of the employers of health scientists.
  • Specialties: Field research and clinical expertise are essential for many international laboratory scientist positions.

Maternal and Child Health

The maternal-child health concentration is focused on health care for mothers, babies, children, teenagers and their families. These Public Health Concentrations professionals educate women on family planning and reproductive services. To reach the correct audience, they monitor health conditions, implement policy changes, provide outreach services, and monitor other areas. This concentration is centered on research and education. Some examples include: Administrative researcher, maternal and infant health educator, and behavioral science.

Featured role: Maternal and child health educator

  • Description The child and maternal health educators provide counseling and education in health and nutrition. They also address issues like child nutrition, hygiene and prevention. They create educational programs and assist families who have limited financial support.
  • The typical workplace environment: Non-profit and local government health agencies as well as state and local governments often employ maternal or child health educators.
  • Specialties: These educators have extensive knowledge in the areas of public and preventive health as well as maternal and infant health.

Occupational Health

Occupational health professionals assess work environments and make sure employees follow safe procedures. They examine workplaces and help employees to understand safety. These individuals are focused on either the indoor environment or the outdoors. Some examples of occupational roles in health include industrial hygiene, environmental protection officer, or ergonomist.

Featured Role: Industrial Hygienist

  • Description Industrial hygiene hygienists measure, assess and evaluate workplace health hazards. They protect workers from being exposed to toxic chemicals, air contaminants, and other biological and physical hazards. They do worksite assessments and recommend corrective actions for hazards they find.
  • Workplace environments that are typical: Some of the most common employers of occupational healthcare specialists are local, federal, and state government agencies; construction companies; and industrial manufacturing plants.
  • Specialties: Industrial Hygienists are typically trained in physical sciences, and have knowledge of environmental law.

Additional Resource:
https://www.apha.org/what-is-public-health
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_health
https://www.cdcfoundation.org/what-public-health

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