Public health is a multidisciplinary field concerned with helping people to stay healthy and protecting them from hazards that could impact negatively on their well-being. It also involves practices geared towards improving the health of communities.Taking up a career in public health is one of the best decisions an individual will ever make because it places him on her on a sound pedestal to serve the public in multiple capacities, contribute to growth and development while earning a decent income.
A public health degree is a degree with multiple career paths. Because of its interdisciplinary nature, public health professionals can function in a variety disciplines.
Disciplines in public Health
Public/ Community health physicians – these are qualified medical doctors who have satisfied the requirements of the post graduate medical colleges. They are important members of the public health community who are in direct contact with the patients.
Public health Nurses – unlike their clinical counterparts who have very close relationships with individuals,(patients) public health nurses relate with the community to promote health
Epidemiologist – Epidemiology is concerned with the study of health, disease distribution and control. They investigate the factors responsible for disease pattern, causation and the overall effect of disease conditions on communities. Epidemiologists are described as the cornerstone of public health practice.
Environmental Health Scientist – Environmental health officers focus on the health of the environment. They study how hazards in water, land, or in the air negatively affect the population and the environment
Public Health Educator – when it comes to health promotion, public enlightenment and awareness creation the public health educator is the center of focus. They work to raise awareness about unhealthy lifestyles and health issues.
Bio-statistician – these are very important and highly revered members of the public health community because of their input in research, clinical trials and other academic related issues.
Social and Behavioral Scientist –Social and Behavioral Scientists deal with public health issues related to psychology and mental health. In general they study human action and often seeks to generalize about human behavior in society.
Disaster Management & Emergency Preparedness–This is a core area of specialization that is critical to human survival. Specializing in this area will entail working in organizations that prepare for and mange disaster and emergency situations when then arise.
Health Services Administration– This area of public health deals with issues of policy, leadership and management in the health care sector.
There are several other disciplines and sub disciplines within public health each with its unique contribution to the overall objective of protecting and promoting the health of the population. Read : Top MPH Programs