Sadly, it took a pandemic to realize the importance of public health. With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, economies fell, leading to millions of hospitalizations. At the same time, there has been a spike in demand for public health professionals.
Public health professionals are dedicated individuals whose primary focus is to improve the health of communities. Their work includes injury prevention, research, and promoting healthy lifestyles. Moreover, their responsibilities also include responding to infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
To become a public health professional, you should promote healthy lifestyles and well-being within communities. But, before you start your journey to becoming a public health professional, you must understand the importance of public health.
Importance of Public Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases are the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. Have a look at the stats below to get an idea about the situation of chronic diseases:
- 2 million strokes and heart attacks occur every year
- 7 out of 10 Americans die due to a chronic disease
- One out of three Americans has high blood pressure
- For every $1 spent on healthcare, 75 cents are spent on factors that increase the risk of chronic diseases
Failing to uphold public health within communities can lead to various health concerns like diabetes and heart disease. A community’s overall health and well-being are affected when public health is neglected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of healthcare spending in the US is due to chronic diseases, further reinforcing that public health professionals are critical to the country’s well-being.
As a public health professional with an MSPH degree, you invest in the future of those you serve. Whether you wish to work for underprivileged families in your community or the World Health Organization (WHO), you will have a profound impact with a degree in public health.
Public Health professionals are always in demand. In fact, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in healthcare are expected to grow by 14% over the next few years. This is at a much faster pace compared to other careers.
Employment opportunities for healthcare workers and health educators will grow by 13% and 11% by 2028. More than 14,000 jobs will be added to the field.
The anticipated growth in career opportunities and employment only shows public health professionals’ growing importance in growing communities. Many people are alive today thanks to public health initiatives like vaccinations, tobacco restrictions, clean air and water standards, road safety laws, and family planning.
Initiatives like these have increased the life expectancy of Americans by as much as 30%.
According to experts, even without the existence of health threats, public health should be the number one priority of national governments. This includes constantly promoting proper hygiene, physical activity, and the right nutrition.
According to a report by the WHO, a healthy community can be ensured through effective guidelines, administration, and policymaking. Depending on the possible patient demographic, healthcare workers implement standard precautions for infection prevention.
Regarding effective policymaking, suggestions have been made to make policies more non-discriminatory and inclusive in communities. Protective solutions and measures recognized as inclusive must include the improvement of living conditions, including comprehensive workforce policy.
Compulsory measures like temperature checking and needing health clearances must be done to ensure the community’s well-being in each sector. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also asking for stringent compliance with regular disinfection of all environmental surfaces to mitigate the risks and consider the potential presence of the immunocompromised in the community.
In what we call the ‘new normal,’ adding these measures to how industries, schools, and workplaces operate will be crucial.
Offering a workplace setting that prioritizes employee safety and well-being affects public health significantly. As productive community members, employees who spend most of their day in offices should have a safe work environment that cares for their wellness. This should be not just during a pandemic but also during regular times.
What can you do with a public health degree?
As an aspiring public health professional, you must be wondering what you can do with your public health degree. Individuals who pursue PH degrees can pursue the following roles:
- Research Assistant
- Public Health Program Coordinator
- Public Health Educator
- Health Promotion Specialist
- Environmental Health Specialist
- Disaster Preparedness Coordinator
- Community Health Worker
These are just a few exciting opportunities for public health graduates that guarantee rewarding careers. Public health professionals must be trained and certified to participate in the healthcare sector.
Public health programs prepare students for a lifetime of meaningful work. The bachelor’s degree offers students the choice to take classes during the day or the evening, with coursework available on campus, online, or a mixture of both.
These options provide the flexibility needed to complete your degree without putting other aspects of your life on hold. If you want to further your education, online degrees are excellent.
After completing your PH degree, you can opt for higher roles like
- Public Health Educator
- Public Health Director
- Disaster and Emergency Specialist
Through multiple research studies and surveys, it is evident that the importance of public health professionals can’t be ignored. You are key to the overall health and well-being of communities.
Whether you wish to work in your local community to help children who might be affected by malnutrition or you want to work towards providing clean water to communities in far-off locations across the world, you can do it all as a PH professional.