Public health is not one thing, it's a broad field which makes understanding what a public health professional does for a living a little confusing. It ranges from managing health data through statistics to knowing how to use data when managing services or advocating for health policies.
Here are the top 5 specialties in Public Health:
1. Epidemiology: This is the core of public health. It's the study of the distribution and determinants of health related events in specified populations, and the application of this to control of health problems. They study the movement and trends of diseases through a population, as well as investigate how diseases spread and how they can be slowed down. In a nutshell, it's about finding and monitoring disease patterns in population data and using these findings to inform decisions.
Common job titles: Field Epidemiologist, Health Data Analyst, Field investigator
2. Health Policy and Management: Health policy and management professionals use public health research to inform health policy. They need to be knowledgeable about health economics, politics, management and finance. Whether in business, nonprofits, or government, health organizations need policy advisers to help them decide the impact of regulations, and policies governmental organizations impose upon the public and on businesses. Health policy workers may be responsible for creating policies that ensure equitable access to medical care and provide health services.
Common job titles: Health policy analyst/advisor, Health services manager, Governmental administrator
3. Health Promotion:
This specialization focuses on communication and marketing methods to promote healthy practices. Through education programs, they aim to influence the behavior of others and empowering them to to take responsibility of their own health. Those working in this area will most likely be managing wellness programs, writing grant applications and working on public messages to address a health crisis.
Common job titles: Health education specialist, Public relations manager, Medical writer
4. Environmental Health:
This focuses on how external factors such as social factors, climate change and pollution influence the health of populations. Professionals working in environmental health will be found working in research, occupational health, creating and implementing environmental projects that improve the health of communities.
Common job titles: Environmental specialist, quality investigator
5. Global Health:
Global health is the understanding of healthcare with an international perspective by focusing on eliminating health disparities, improving access to healthcare and fostering policies that encourage healthy habits. Their work will most likely be in Non-governmental and international aid sectors (the most famous global health organization is the World Health Organization). It could involve traveling to countries with low resources for field work to implement or monitor health programs.
Common job titles: Health access project manager or coordinator, Infectious diseases educator, Humanitarian crisis field officer