Public health covers everything from the identification of disease to creating policies that will prevent such diseases from spreading. It even covers helping refugees to settle into a community. The COVID-19 pandemic showed the shortage of qualified public health professionals in society and has made this career more significant and necessary. Public health is also under environment science because it deals with preventing disease outbreaks by combating various degrading acts on the environment, such as pollution in various forms.
Anyone looking to pursue a career in public health will usually perform some of these functions:
- Monitor and observe the health status within a community.
- Identify any health problems and find solutions to it.
- Investigate and diagnose any health hazards within a community
- Educate and inform people about various health issues and empower them to cope with disease outbreaks
- Develop programs, plans, and policies that will support health efforts made by individuals and communities.
- Enforce rules, regulations, and laws on health and safety of the community
- Connecting people with the much-needed health services and making provisions for health care services where it is not available
- Evaluating the effectiveness of existing policies and programs to determine the quality of health services.
- Finding novel solutions to existing health problems.
Specialities within the field
Given the numerous functions that public health professionals perform, various specialities exist within the industry with professionals usually focused on one of the areas. It includes jobs such as epidemiologist but doesn’t be surprised to find a marketing professional working in the public health field. Specialities include:
Informatics and Biostatistics: Public health requires a lot of data analysis as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us. Biostatistics and informatics are the branches of the field that deals with this. A subset of statistics, here, data is analysed and applied to health care. It is through this means that diseases are properly tracked, and it is also used spatial studies, clinical trials, and other instances. Informatics, on the other hand, focuses on monitoring and collecting data that is used to prevent disease as well as for research.
Epidemiology: This is the study of diseases that are likely to spread or the ones that are already spreading in order to understand the causes and infection pattern and develop the right solutions. Epidemiology is usually considered as the basic science in public health, and epidemiologist can function in any organisation, either local or international, both private and governmental.
Environmental Health: The World health organisation recognises environmental health as a major public health issue, and it identified areas of concern which include climate change, pollution, and electromagnetic fields. With various environmental factors capable of having severe effects on the health of individuals within a community, this is a major cause for concern, and public health professionals work to reduce the effects of this environmental risks on the community. Available career paths in environmental health include environmental scientist, environmental engineer, quality investigator, etc.
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