9 Public Health Concentrations: Choose Your Path
Public health is essential Public Health Concentrations for strong communities and families. It offers health services to rural areas, immunizes kids, and promotes safety and health on the job. Public health saves lives. According to the American Public Health Association, the U.S. adult smokers have seen their death rates drop from 42% to 25% between 1964-1997 and 25% in 1997.
Public health professionals share a common goal: to improve the health of individuals and communities. However, their work covers a wide range from community health and epidemiology to disaster management to health policy.
9 Public Health Concentrations
Public health professionals are more likely to focus on a particular area of expertise. Epidemiologists monitor outbreaks, health educators specialists promote healthy living, while health system managers improve the health care systems. Public health professionals can work in many fields. Public health specialists can be qualified for many roles, thanks to their knowledge in science, health care, and skills in policy development and community outreach. Students in public health should think about how their interests align with the skills required for different career paths. It can help narrow down the choices by learning about different industries and work environments. To help you decide which path to take, the following nine concentrations are available to public health professionals.
Community health professionals establish relationships with their clients, connect them to healthcare providers, remove barriers to health care and advocate for changes in the healthcare system. They work with underserved and marginalized communities to advocate for their rights in health care. This concentration can lead to advanced degrees in social work and medicine. Community health professionals can be a community health advisor, wellness coordinator or community outreach specialist.
Featured Role – Community Health Advisor
- Description Community health advisors gather health data and work with individuals to promote wellness. They provide support and counseling to the community and create reports for health educators and healthcare providers. They also educate the community about housing, food, mental health, and healthcare services. A community health advisor can help clients enroll in Medicare or Medicaid.
- Common workplace environments: The employers of community health advisors include hospitals, colleges and universities as well as private companies and nonprofit organizations.
- Expertise: The Community Health Advisors are experts in public and community health, healthcare administration and government services.
The goal of disaster management is to help communities in need. The professionals in disaster management help communities deal with a variety of disaster situations, including hurricanes, fires, and human-made catastrophes. They develop and refine emergency response plans in four phases: preparation, response, recovery and mitigation. The roles of emergency management director, general operations manager, and manager social and community services are all possible.
Featured Role – Emergency Management Director
- Description. Emergency management officers are responsible for developing the plans and procedures communities use to prepare for emergencies and disasters. They are responsible for leading the response effort to a natural or man-made disaster. This often involves working with public safety and health officials. They coordinate federal funding applications, organize training and perform damage assessments.
- Common workplace environments: Emergency managers often work for state or local government agencies. Private corporations, hospitals, colleges, universities, and other healthcare providers are all possible employers.
- Expertise: The emergency management directors coordinate disaster planning and response.
Public health is focusing on epidemiology today. According to the National Institutes of Health, epidemiologists study factors that determine the presence and absence of disease. COVID-19 is an example of this. They collect data and determine the number of people who have been affected. Then they investigate the causes and patterns. The broad field of epidemiology offers many subspecialties, including environmental health and injury. In addition, epidemiologists often work as clinical or academic researchers as well as as applied epidemiologists.
Featured Role – Applied Epidemiologist
- Description Epidemiologists investigate the causes and patterns of disease and look for trends in their spread and occurrence. They coordinate public health research and devise strategies to treat and prevent diseases. They are responsible for collecting and analysing data, communicating with people, coordination of safety and health plans with public officials, managing programs and communicating diseases to the public.
- The typical workplace environment for Epidemiologists is in offices or laboratories. Local and state health departments are both employers. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (CDC) is a major employer at the federal level.
- Expertise: Most epidemiologists hold a doctoral or master’s degree in medicine or epidemiology, and are trained in areas such as infectious diseases or environmental health.
Health Education and Communication
Communication and health professionals educate communities on wellness and support behaviors that will benefit long-term well-being. They also develop strategies to improve community and individual health. They work with families, young people, and professionals. The public health concentration allows professionals the freedom to concentrate on communication or education. Health education and communication roles include technical writer, public relations specialist and health educator specialist.
Featured Role – Health Education Specialist
- Description Health educators evaluate the health needs and create educational programs to address them. They educate individuals and communities about possible health risks and how to manage them. They can also assist individuals in obtaining access to health services or provide training programs.
- Common workplace environments: Healthcare facilities, colleges, universities, non-profit organizations, private businesses, and public health agencies all have healthcare education specialists.
- Expertise: Health education experts apply their knowledge in education and health behavior to the creation of educational materials.
Health policy concentration is about focusing on the most effective solutions for social and health problems. This field consists of professionals who analyze, present, write, and petition the public about the impact of policies on a variety demographics. There are many career options in health policy, both in government and private sectors. This concentration could lead to a variety of roles, including those as a political scientist, a medical and health service manager, or specializing in healthcare consulting.
Featured Role – Medical and Health Services Manager
- Description The business activities of healthcare providers are coordinated by medical and health service managers. They are responsible for setting organizational goals and objectives, monitoring compliance to regulatory requirements, training, supervision, creating work plans, budgeting and managing facility finances, coordination of cross-department communication, and maintaining records.
- The typical workplace environment: Health and medical managers work in hospitals and nursing homes.
- Expertise: Health and medical managers manage healthcare and administrative functions. Some positions may require experience in clinical work.
Health Systems Management
Management of health systems focuses on the administrative aspect of public health. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals in this area plan, direct and coordinate health and medical services. They are responsible for setting goals, managing finances, and improving service quality. Aspiring managers of health systems can take on roles such as clinical managers, nursing home administrators, or health information managers.
Featured Role – Nursing Home Administrator
- Description Nursing home administrators are responsible for maintaining standards of care in nursing homes. They manage and plan the facility’s operations, train staff, oversee policies and standards, supervise budgets and report to regulatory agencies.
- Common workplace environments: Administrators who have this specialization work at retirement communities, independent living facilities, nursing homes, and independent living units.
- Expertise: The role of administrator in a nursing home requires knowledge of administration, general health care and elderly care.
International health is a focus on low-income communities, as well as displaced people. This concentration focuses on professionals who work with people in low-income countries to solve problems such as mental health, gender-based violence, age-related issues, and so forth. The international health focus covers nearly all roles in public health. You can think of emergency management director, laboratory scientist and health information manager as examples.
Laboratory Scientist is the featured role
- Description Health scientists conduct field and laboratory research on global health issues. They also conduct surveys and field interviews. They are usually experts in one area, such as epidemiology and virology.
- Typical work environments: Health scientists are employed by governmental and intergovernmental agencies, such as the CDC or the United Nations. They also work for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), that focus on health care.
- Expertise: Many laboratory scientist positions that are focused on international health require field research and clinical science expertise.
Maternal and Child health
The maternal and child focus focuses on health care of women, children, adolescents and their families. This path is for professionals who educate women about family planning and reproductive services. They monitor health issues, make policy changes and offer outreach services to reach the right audience. The concentration focuses on education and research. You can find examples in the following: administrative researcher, maternal-child health educator, behavioral scientist.
Featured Role: Child and Maternal Health Educator
- Description Child and maternal health educators offer counseling and education on health issues such as nutrition, hygiene, and prevention of child diseases. They can also help families with limited financial resources by creating educational programs or working with them to provide financial support.
- Common workplace environments: Both local and state governments as well as non-profit organizations often employ maternal and child healthcare educators.
- Expertise: This area is populated by educators who have a broad understanding of public health, disease prevention, and maternal and child health.
Occupational health professionals inspect work environments to ensure that employees use safe practices. They assess workplace safety, inspect and design workplace procedures, and educate employees. This concentration focuses on the indoor or outdoor workplace. Industrial hygienists, environmental protection officers, and ergonomists are all examples of occupational health roles.
Featured Role: Industrial Hygienist
- Description: Industrial Hygienists assess, measure and identify workplace hazards. They protect workers against exposure to hazardous substances like toxic chemicals and air contaminants. They conduct worksite assessments to identify potential hazards and recommend corrective steps if necessary.
- Examples of workplace environments: The most common employers for occupational health specialists are local, state and federal government agencies, industrial manufacturing facilities, and construction companies.
- Expertise: Most industrial hygienists have training in the physical sciences and an understanding of environmental law.