Public Health

Public health is the discipline responsible for the protection of health at the population level. It seeks to improve the health conditions of the communities by promoting healthy lifestyles, awareness campaigns, education and research. Professionals in this field use specialized knowledge and skills to better understand the root causes of diseases and injuries and, whenever possible, develop strategies to prevent them. This is a collaborative diverse field that attracts people who want to improve human health by applying skills from areas such as social and behavioral science, environmental science, biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy and management.

 

Being a public health professional enables you to work around the world to address health problems of communities as a whole, and influence policies that affect the health of societies. As a public health professional, you will be trained to perform one or more of these ten essential services:

 

  • Monitor, diagnose and investigate the health status of a community to identify potential problems.
  • Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues, particularly the underserved and those at risk.
  • Mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems.
  • Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
  • Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
  • Link people to needed personal health services and ensure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.
  • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.
  • Research new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.

 

With a graduate degree in public health, you could work for:

 

  • Government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
  • State and local health departments or agencies, such as the Puerto Rico Department of Health,
  • Nonprofits, such as the American Red Cross, American Heart Association,
  • Health care organizations, such as hospital systems and long-term care facilities,
  • Private sector companies, such as health insurances and pharmaceutical companies,
  • Colleges and universities, such as schools of public health or medicine, among others.