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There is no particular major required for entry into medical school, as long as you complete the courses required and do well in them. The experience you gain with a major in Public Health can most certainly better understand health care beyond the physical factors. In addition, many medical schools do look for well-rounded students. This being your end goal, majoring in Public Health for undergrad may be beneficial to you. (Ebony Jackson, MPH, CHES)
A great idea! In my experience, many physicians only view infectious disease in a clinical management way and do not understand the health departments' role in protecting the public's health. I seem to have more cooperation when the physician also holds a MPH. This is beneficial to the patient, their friends and family, and the community. (Daniel Orcutt)
No, this not a good idea. The undergrad degree should be a pre-med program in chemistry, bio-chem, physics, or biology. Possibly combine it with minor in public health. (Maria Andrews)
I decided to research this a bit to give you an informed answer. I found that there is guidance available from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). According to the AAMC, " Medical school admission requirements vary from school to school. In general, most medical schools will expect applicants to have taken the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®), and to have completed the following types of courses:
One year of biology
One year of physics
One year of English
Two years of chemistry (through organic chemistry)
Applicants should consider volunteering at a local hospital or clinic to gain practical experience in the health professions. A well-rounded sampling of extra-curricular activities or work experiences, both related and unrelated to medicine, will help broaden an applicant's knowledge and development.
Students interested in medicine are encouraged to research the wide variety of jobs available in the health professions, to discuss the nature and demands of medicine with a pre-medical advisor or health professional, and to ask a lot of questions before embarking on the application process."
Citation source: https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/requirements/
It would be a good idea to peruse a number of medical schools in the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR®) — Preview to get a better of sense of what they are looking for in potential applicants.
Also, an article worth reading, "http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/medical-school-admissions doctor/2012/02/06/top-3-reasons-medical-school-applications-are-rejected"> Top 3 Reasons Medical School Applications Are Rejected.
So, in conclusion, I would recommend that you not major in public health for your undergraduate degree, but choose a basic science degree (e.g., biology, chemistry, etc.), and get very good grades. Rather than just be a pre-med major, you can major in engineering, which would require the math and science you would need for medical school, and make sure you take organic chemistry. This way, if you don't get into medical school, you would have a degree in engineering, which is a good profession to be in that values a strong math and science background. When I worked as a nurse I worked with several doctors who were previously engineers.
If you want to explore public health, then take a minor in it, if it is available. But, you would get a good understanding about public health if you should volunteer to work in a primary care clinic outside of the U.S., particularly in third world countries where medicine and public health must cooperate to address the medical needs of the population. Such an experience will be invaluable in teaching you the importance of primary care and preventive medicine, and how important Public Health is to ensure the health of the entire population and not just those in need of medical services.
Finally, after you have completed medical school, you can then earn an MPH that would open up the world of Public Health for you. Much success in your career endeavors. (Betty)
Well, Hannah, you can contact mentors who are part of Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors (PHENOM). I agree with Karyn that public health professionals are awfully busy, but PHENOM mentors have volunteered to make themselves available online to provide career advice to those who are interested in the field. You can contact any of the 61 professionals listed. First, check out their biosketch and possibly ask them a specific question about what they do (via E-mail), and see if they would be willing to continue. You may gain more from short specific contacts with several mentors, especially in an online situation than a more prolonged contact with busy professionals. Check:
I agree that mentoring is essential in Public Health Practice - if you want to know what public health professionals do, ask them! PHENOM strives to meet The Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice "Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals" http://www.bettycjung.net/Phenomdes.htm
My 2 cents - if you already have a job in the field (you seem to be working in the field already), keep working and save as much money as you can, and pay down the loans. Don't go into any more debt. The economy is really bad right now and many don't even have job to speak of. Having a job is a major plus in your favor, so congrats for landing it! Do not worry about getting into an MPH program right now because you will be able to get into a program when you are financially able. Having the work experience will be a consideration when you apply, that will put you at an advantage, and the more work experience you have, the better.
I do recommend you take the CHES exam and pass it. Having a credential that attests to having expertise in health education is always a good thing for your career. And, just remember you can always excel at whatever you are doing now. An MPH may provide you with more opportunities, but success goes to those who make the most of what they have now and how well they can work with it. If you want to see what people can do with an MPH, check out the PHENOM directory
Thanks, Adriann for your posting. If you are interested in being listed, please see my response above to Ramon. As for your question about differences between a community health degree and a public health degree, I would have to defer to the Association of Schools of Public Health (http://www.asph.org/) for information about academic programs related to public health. In general, a public health degree can have a variety of specializations, from epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health to community health education, to name a few. A public health degree provides you with the skills to work in a variety of settings, as PHENOM mentors can attest to. (Betty)
I would suggest nutrition since those who can show how to integrate the chemistry of performance nutrition into practical kitchen solutions may be the leaders in health as we reverse the obesity epidemic. Food studies will become the answer as we bring the work into schools, colleges, doctors' offices, and public health fairs and carnivals. Best of luck! I really believe that translating the daily values nutrition into an applied practical daily meal plan with clear and culturally contexted recipes will be powerful in changing the world and teaching people how to take charge of their lives and their health in positive string ways. (Eric Triffin)
Interesting question. It would really depend on what you are interested in doing. Having the nursing background is a major asset, of course, that will allow you to look at opportunities in the private, non-profit and for-profit sectors that involve health care delivery and the public health sector, especially at the local and regional levels, if you are interested in direct care. At these levels you will still have the opportunity to interact one-on-one with citizens that may not necessarily be patients.
In most instances, having a BSN will allow you to work in public health nursing. Having an MSN in community health may be useful in overseeing public health programs at the state level, but I am not sure if such a nursing degree would actually give you the kind of perspective necessary for dealing with community health issues, which are not always necessarily disease-oriented. Think social determinants of health.
But if you are truly interested in working in the Public Health sector, then an MPH would be appropriate. The MPH is the recognized degree of specialization for public health professionals, and such a program of study provides you with a population-based perspective that is essential in understanding how public health works in the broader context of population health. I can tell you that health services is only one factor to consider in ensuring that a community stays healthy.
You should compare MSN and MPH programs of study and carefully evaluate what each course of study offers you, what kinds of skills they will teach you and what you should be able to do when you have that degree. You should ask the school if they have alums you can talk to about what they are doing. If you want, you can contact anyone on the Online PHENOM Directory to conduct a phone interview about what they are doing with a Public Health degree. (Betty)
"Depends on the market where you are looking. However I would say yes. A Master's degree alludes to a certain level of expertise. In addition, people with a Master's often start at a higher salary. In addition to getting a "better" job, you will be and feel more prepared/equipt for a job and subsequent career in Public Health. Good luck." (Barbara Pickett)
" Hi! I got my BS in Community Health and had trouble finding a job and the one I was hoping for told me a graduate degree was needed. The times then were somewhat similar to now when any job is hard to find so another two years for an MPH seemed like an obvious option which I in fact chose. Of course the caliber of the graduate school will always be a factor, but it will allow you a broader range of options and skillsets which if jobs are still scarce in two years may mean all the difference in being hired. If you want to be a sanitarian a graduate degree would be less relevant, but I am all for learning more. You might even ask opotential employers what they would like to see in a candidate if they were hiring then go out and earn those assets in your coursework. Best of luck, public health can be a very satisfying field, thanks for choosing it and joining the rest of us!" (Eric Triffin, MPH)
"It's important that you have some work experience in order to get a good job. Your credentials help in getting a good job but if you are interviewing against someone with the same credentials and they have work experience you'll probably lose out. My suggestion is to get a job in the field you are interested in and go to school part-time working toward your Masters. It will be tough but the work experience will actually help you with your courses. It will give you something to actually put the concepts and theories towards. Good luck!!" (Krista Veneziano)
I suggest that you contact professional law associations for guidance regarding intellectual property issues and health law, and who is handling such issues today, and what kind of educational preparation is needed to practice in that area.
I believe intellectual property issues, especially with published materials, have received more coverage because of the availability of materials on the Internet. The ease in accessibility has also raised red flags as to how intellectual property can be protected online. The whole issue of plagiarism has become a major issue on many college campuses today because it is so easy to cut and paste from the Internet and students have not developed an academic appreciation for "giving credit where credit is due." Intellectual property issues really revolve around theft of intangible ideas made tangible through published materials, which can be words, or even tunes.
Finally, if you are interested in any area of law, even if it overlaps with the field of Public Health, most likely it would be best to get a law degree. Nevertheless, an MPH degree would provide you with the background needed to appreciate why a law is important in addressing Public Health issues, and may be useful in helping you develop good health policy. (Betty)
My employer actually provided me with tuition reimbursement! Online courses are a great way for students who have difficulty traveling to the University Campus. So many colleges are now offering distance learning opportunities. However I do not recommend this for undergraduates, as well as I do not recommend it for individuals that do not have excellent time management skills and self discipline. You have to be very regimented to ensure you are reading your lectures and preparing your assigments. Because there are no exams (at least in my courses), there are a lot of research papers that have to be written and daily assignments that require you to do a lot of research and writing.
You have to be very careful of the schools you choose to attend. You want to research the school to ensure that the programs are accredited, look at the faculty qualifications and if possible, speak with some former students. You want to make sure that the program of study involves the typical courses of all other universities. For example I had to make sure that not only was the University accredited, but the nursing program I was to complete was also an accredited nursing program. The program had to meet all the same qualifications as any university or college offering a MSN program.
I also went as far as asked some college administrators what they knew about the University of Phoneix. The reason I choose the school, first of all was because I was unable to travel to school, plus I wanted an education that focused my Nursing studies in Integrative Health. You also have to ensure you have resources available to you to do certain projects. For example, the University that I attended had both campus and online classes. However since I could not travel to the campus I had to set up my projects with qualified mentors that had to be approved by the University. So knowing what the requirements/expectations are, are vital to avoiding any problems if the intended program requires a practicum/onsite project.
If there are specific questions you wish me to answer, please let me know. But I have to be honest, I had a fabulous education. (Jeannine Capria)
Congratulations on thinking about pursuing a Public Health career! It's a wonderful career path (and, of course, I am being biased). Naturally, it is important to obtain an education that will prepare you to be proficient in public health practice. However, this is easier said that done simply because Public Health is so broad.
There is a place in Public Health for different levels of educational preparation, from baccalaureate to doctoral. The current requirement is a master's level of educational preparation, preferably, a Master of Public Health degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.
Your question about online institutions have set me on a quest to find out more about online education just so I can give you an informed opinion about this matter. So, the following summarizes what I have found.
To meet the current needs of potential students, many educational institutions have begun to offer some of their courses online for busy people. Some of these courses can lead to a certificate in a particular area of expertise. In some cases, completion of online courses may be accepted for credit towards a degree from the institution granting online courses. There are also institutions granting degrees that are administered entirely online, with a requirement to attend online classes for a short period of time annually on a physical campus.
On a more pragmatic basis, it would be important to think about how your college degree will be viewed by potential employers, because, after all, you do want to find a job after you have earned your degree.
I contacted three state personnel departments and the US government for their view on accepting an online degree for educational requirements for a civil service job. I heard back from two state personnel departments. Here are their responses:
From Connecticut Department of Administrative Services: "we will recognize college credits/degrees from any institutions of higher learning that are accredited by an accrediting body recognized by our State Department of Higher Education. It is recommended that you check with the State Department of Higher Education first to determine if an on-line program is accredited before signing up if you intend to use that education to qualify for entrance to any civil service exams which we may offer." "...you may want to inquire as to whether or not the university accepts transfer credits from a particular on-line program. They follow the same guidelines as we do when it comes to recognizing credits from an outside institution of higher education."
From NY State Public Health Information Office. They check to see if an online educational institution is "listed as an accredited institution of higher learning," adn whether the accrediting agency is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Conducting a literature review on employment trends, I found a good article about online vs. brick and mortar universities discussed in detail in How Do Employers View Online Degrees? Though concerns exist, acceptance is on the rise in an emerging industry .
To get a better idea of what online education is, check out: Online Education FAQs .
And, here is a quiz to take How To Know If Your Online College Is A Credible One?
Conducting a literature review on hiring trends, I found that an online graduate degree is more acceptable than an online undergraduate degree. Then again,"Only 20% of employers have hired a job applicant with an online degree." (http://www.vault.com/nr/newsmain.jsp?nr_page=3&ch_id=420&article_id=28540309&cat_id=3291). In some fields, like
library science, 60% of employers view an online degree as second class (http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6269436.html).
Finally, if you want to read about where online education is heading, check out E-Learning—A Financial and Strategic Perspective .
In general, a buyer beware attitude is probably the best approach to considering online/distance learning/e-learning education even though there are more of these educational opportunities available these days because of the Internet. Taking online courses from accredited brick and mortar universities to fulfill some of the degree requirements are probably okay, as long as these institutions accept the credits from these online courses towards the degrees they confer.
Finally, my opinion on this? Program accreditation should be a prime requirement for judging the credibility of any educational program. However, if you plan on being an academic and would like to eventually teach in a brick and mortar university, then you should get your education at such insitutions. Lastly, if you are not a risk taker, brick and mortar education is a safe bet, all around, when it comes to both advanced educational and professional opportunities. Incredibly, state universities supported by public monies most likely meet the stringent requirements of the U.S. Department of Education, and are safe bets to meet the scrutiny of picky employers. (Betty)
You can check the Grants Resources Page on this Web site for possible sources of grant funding. The global economy, unfortunately, is not very good and many grant sources have dried up as a result of belt-tightening. Probably, the course to take is networking with professionals in your area of expertise who may know of unpublicized sources of funding.
If you are pursuing a doctoral degree, you can contact potential academic institutions to learn more about research projects they are involved in. Of course, if you are a saavy consumer of research reports, you may be want to follow up with institutions that are actively publishing their wonderful accomplishments to see if they are looking for additional researchers. (Betty)
I'm not that familiar with the entire area, but in Neptune NJ there is a hosptial called Jersey Shore Medical Center that the student can check on their wellness/public health programs. Or I would talk to the volunteer department of the Medical Center to see if they would have any further information. Jersey Shore is part of the Meridian Health System that has one of the most comprehensive wellness programs in the area. Also in Freehold (which is about 25 minutes from Neptune), Centre State Hospital has a Health and Wellness Center that they probably would work with some interns. I hope this helps. Please let me know if there is anything else I may be able to provide for you. (Jeannine Capria)
I think your best bet, if you are interested in pharmaceuticals, is to contact one of the pharmaceutical companies, i.e. Wyeth, Glaxo Smith Kline, Merck, - and request that a representative in your area contact you. They have $ set aside for educational opportunities - I am confident that a representative in your area would be more than happy to meet with you during the times you requested. Hope this helps. (Linda Greengas)
I think he could Google pharmaceutical companies around him. He could talk to his local health director for some input: Health Officer: Stephen L. McKee, 3 Penelope Lane, Middletown, NJ 07748-2594 (Located adjacent to the Middletown Town Hall), Phone: 732-615-2095
He could speak to the pediatrician in charge of a local pediatric practice or the pediatric department of a hospital. I think when he's saying "meet" with this mentor for 3 hrs a week, he means intern with the mentor-I imagine there would be something he would be working on. He could also contact a local university/college. Hope this helps. (Barbara Pickett)
I would suggest he call either his pediatrician or perhaps even the local health department and see about coordinating plans and needs around pandemic flu planning, having something of a vested interest in him as their patient, student, resident , or future health care professional, maybe one or a combination of all would invest in this project of self and collective development. (Yours in health, Eric Triffin, MPH)
Why would you need malpractice insurance? Does this mean that you are liable to being sued while you are volunteering? Is there now concerns over professional liability for professional certification? This is what nurses have to deal with. Do health educators and volunteers want to go there? Malpractice Insurance for Nurses
Getting the CHES credential would be advantageous IF you are interested in health education. You will need to check with NCHEC to see if your undergraduate education qualifies you to sit for the exam ( http://www.nchec.org/exam/eligible/ches/ ). While it is also advantageous to earn a graduate degree, just don't go into debt doing so. I think this is the biggest problem today with higher education. So many people are graduating with a bachelor's degree along with thousands to pay back and few job prospects. Regarding work experience and career options, you can check out the PHENOM blog. I have revamped the postings by grouping them under categories that should make the responses more accessible. You may be able to find some ideas to help you make some decisions. You can also post a question for the PHENOM mentors to respond to. http://www.bettycjung.net/Phenomblog.htm (Betty)
"Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is an independent agency recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and certain public health programs offered in settings other than schools of public health. These schools and programs prepare students for entry into careers in public health. The primary professional degree is the Master of Public Health (MPH) but other masters and doctoral degrees are offered as well." (http://www.ceph.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3274)
I can tell you from personal experience that this is true. I know for a fact that federal public health agencies will not even accept a student for internship opportunities, much less for jobs, if the school or program is not accredited by CEPH. Therefore, it is absolutely essential, that is, if you are interested in working for the public sector, that you obtain a degree from a CEPH-accredited school or program.
Second, there is now CPH (Certified in Public Health), a new credential for which you can take an exam for (http://www.publichealthexam.org/). You cannot sit for this exam without graduating from a CEPH-accredited school or program. State and local levels of public health may not be as stringent in their requirements for graduation from a CEPH-accredited program, but the best bet would be to play it safe and earn a degree from a CEPH-accredited program to enhance your employment opportunities not only in the public sector, but in other sectors where a degree in Public Health is valued for the skills such a degree offers. If you want to learn more about public health competencies, check my Public Health Practice Page
Well, from your narrative, it sounds like a solid plan. My question for you is that being an infection control nurse is quite different than what you would do with a (graduate degree?) in Chronic Disease Epidemiology. What will you be doing with your Chronic Disease Epidemiology education? This will most likely take you away from hands-on nursing. (Betty C. Jung)
Sounds like you would have the skills that would benefit state developmental services as well as child welfare services. State health agencies may have programs devoted to maternal child health services that deal with transitioning adolescents with special needs into adult programs that can use your specialized skills. If you like, you can volunteer to be part of the PHENOM (Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors) Program, for a year. We have been around for over 20 years. There is an online directory that includes bio-sketches of public health professionals working at a variety of settings, organizations and agencies. Those who are interested in the field of public health can peruse this directory about each mentor's professional preparation and experiences, and can contact, via E-mail, any of these mentors to learn more about what they do. Public Health is so diverse that one can easily get lost in the many possibilities. If you are interested, just E-mail me for further info at: email@example.com
Check out PHENOM (Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors). The online directory includes biosketches of 61 public health professionals, many of which have a health education background. You may get some ideas of what you can do with such preparation. The important thing is to be flexible about career opportunities, as they become available. http://www.bettycjung.net/Phenom.htm
I would recommend that the student pursue CHES once eligible. In the meantime, get involved in community/campus health-related events and organizations. Also, joining a professional organization such as SOPHE can be helpful. (Dr. Amy S. Hedman)
I am assuming that you will be required to complete an internship as part of your degree requirements? If so, you should take the opportunity to find an internship site in a setting you will eventually want to work in. The work setting usually determines what kind of health education activities you would be involved in. For types of settings, see Careers in Public Health - What Do Public Health Professionals Do?
If you are not required to do an internship, you should do one anyway. Having an internship listed on your resume will go a long way in marketing your skills and letting potential employers know that you have some health education-related experience. I agree with Dr. Hedman's recommendations that you become involved in community and campus activities that involves health education. The more work-related experiences you have before you graduate, the better your chances of being considered when you graduate. (Betty)
Although I think grant writing is a fantastic skill to bring to the table, since you are located in Atlanta, it would seem that health communication would offer some great job opportunities. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in talking more about this. Maria Lewis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wow, Atlanta, GA? You are in a good place! You should check out what the CDC is doing in this area. The CDC has several initiatives going on about health communication. See Gateway to Health Communication & Social Marketing Practice about this growing field of public health practice.
The CDC also has a webpage that covers previous National Health Communications, Marketing and Media conferences on their National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media webpage. See what these events have to offer.
Attending such conferences can provide you with an overview of this growing area for public health interventions, while at the same time providing you with opportunities to meet those working in the field. Never underestimate the power of networking!
I teach Health Communication, and I can tell you that this disciplinary area will take precedence in health education and health promotion programming in the near future. I recommend C. Parvanta, DE Nelson, SA Parvanta & RN Harner's (2011) "Essentials of Public Health Communication." An excellent textbook that covers it all in an easy-to-understand narrative. (Betty)
If you are thinking of working in the health care field, which would include physician offices, you will probably have to have a health services background, like in nursing or dietetics. The most well-known health educators in physician offices are certified diabetes educators. Most of these individuals are either nurses or dietitians. They have specific requirements for certification. See http://www.ncbde.org/
Of course, if you are interested in working as a health educator in the workplace, there might be some leeway as to who they would hire in that capacity. Many times, wellness-oriented worplace programs concentrate on developing wellness programs that require someone proficient in health program development, implementation and evaluation, which are competencies for MCHES/CHES. (Betty)
Quality assurance is a good area to be in if you want to expand into patient education in the health care setting. Public health education careers tend to be different than patient education in that you may be more involved in the development of a health education initiative that may be delivered by someone else other than yourself. This would require some academic preparation in the area of community health education, which would come under the discipline of Public Health.
There are undergraduate degrees in health education, but if you are interested in working in the public sector, which would include government agencies, then having a master degree in health education would be an asset. With a degree in health education, you could probably work in health departments, non-profit organizations that advance their causes through public education and even in the manufacturing sector that may have wellness programs for their employees. Other industries may have occupational health services for their employees, so you can probably work in those settings, should they seek out a wellness coordinator or health educator. In such venues you may conduct health risk assessments to determine what health issues employees have and then go on to develop prevention-based health education programs to address these needs. Depending on staffing, you may have to do everything yourself, or work with a team to deliver these educational services. You would most likely need to develop some good communication skills so you can work with management to implement such programs. (Betty)
Despite the economy there are always jobs in public health. If you have a particular area that is of more interest to you go there. Are you interested in setting/impacting policy on a regional, state or national level? interested in research? program development? regulation? prevention of infectious or chronic diseases? Issues concerning children, older adults, etc. Figure out what interests you. Many baby boomers are beginning to retire and will continue to, jobs will open up. Sometmes jobs in pubic health are very bureaucratic- i.e., state health depts-they also have a lot to say about setting policy and implementng programs and media campaigns. So good luck and it might depend more on what various jobs o a day to day basis-is the work interesting/meaningful. Good luck! (Barbara Pickett)
I would tell this person I have had a pretty good career as a public school teacher. I have had good health insurance and have a good retirement program. Since the enhancement act, I have had a pretty good salary as well - I think much better than at the college level. I have always felt my job was pretty secure when I was teaching health. If you have children, you can count on being off when they are off. And now in my system, they have wonderful child care facilities for staff, right in the schools - one for babies to age 2, and another in another building, for 3 to 5 year olds. It is expensive, I think, but probably no more than other private daycare, and you could have your child right in the same building with you, or at least very near by.
However, there are very few teachers who are teaching only health. Most are also required to teach physical education. In some communities, it is the home economics teacher (or whatever they are called now) who also teaches health. If he or she chooses this option, s/he should be certified in some other subject area besides health. Biology is another good companion certification, which, in Connecticut anyway, is required for graduation, so there are usually positions in biology (the health certification would be a plus) but there is also a lot of competition - biology/general science certification is easier than chemistry or physics certification. (Nancy Thursby)
My solution has been to go in a new career direction: I am now working as a HS science teacher with a special ed certification (obtained via field-based studies here in New Hampshire).
But now, with Obama's new focus, perhaps she could work with a community clinic or other health care organization and get some experience before continuing with her degree. (Barry Kaplan)
State health departments are hiring most people at entry level positions. Often a Careers Trainee (CT) position for which one merely needs a Bachelor's degree. (Barbara Pickett)
Falls and medications' interactions with each other and foods are both important topics but relatively typical. Exercise and balance are also important. However, I think that creating linkages so that elderly spend quality time with friends would be a very intriguing challenge. Perhaps a project to encourage and facilitate healthy eating clubs of or more people who could get together monthly and share a healthy pot-luck supper...alternating whose apartment to go to, and which part of the meal each prepares. Some kind of synopsis or feedback from them about their success stories would be great too. Perhaps you could combine it with you attending some of these to do oral histories of especially meaningful anecdotes from their lives and combine the stories and recipes into a booklet of "Healthy Recipes for Living Long and Prospering from Friendships"? Oral histories gathering stories on a variety of topics could be continued from this with "Finding Love in Your Life," "Tips and Ideas on Adding Life to Your Years from Those Who Have Done it!" "Most Memorable Memories from the Past and Fondest Hopes for the Future" That's my quick offering! Yours in health, Eric Triffin, MPH
You can always volunteer at a number of nonprofit agencies that provide services to s enior citizens, just so you have an idea of the types of services that are currently available to them. Many social services provide for the basic needs of this population, (e.g., Meals on Wheels), and many religious organizations have developed ministries that specifically address the spiritual and physical needs of senior citizens.
If you are in the field of health education/health promotion, you can work with agencies and health departments to develop programs that educate senior citizens about many of the health issues that (and all of us, eventually, if we live that long) they face, many on a daily basis.
There are many residential communities that are developed specifically for this population that may offer wellness programs that can use a good health educator. For sure, as the baby boomers reach the age of retirement, the need will be great for self-care, given that Medicare is not going to last forever without some changes. For more information about senior health, check my Web page, http://www.bettycjung.net/Seniorhealth . Betty
What is your undergraduate background? It would be helpful to have a nutrition or nursing background. As a CDE, you will most likely be working with people with diabetes, many of which may have multiple chronic diseases. The content area for diabetes management is quite extensive. Here is some information that may be helpful regarding the requirements for sitting for the CDE exam (http://www.ncbde.org/certification_info/eligibility-requirements/) If you are interested in just keeping up, then check my Public Health Continuing Education page . For diabetes resources, see: http://www.bettycjung.net/Diabetes.htm
Well, if an MPH program emphasizes health education, it would cover project management as part of its curriculum. Those who eventually sit for the exam to become a certified health education specialist should possess such a competency. NCHEC Competencies (Betty)
Thanks, Leah. Okay, I have the webpage from your site listing the course descriptions listed at: Public Health Continuing Education Opportunities, under "Sites with multiple courses." Thanks for offering these courses on such an important topic!
Since I don't know what your academic training is, I can't really address that. However, generally speaking, if you are interested in health care administration/informatics it would be useful to have hands-on experience with health care delivery. If you have that it will be easier to understand the process enough to develop and improve electronic medical records. Electronic medical records are meant to capture the process of care enough to identify areas that may be in need of improvement to streamline the process.
Here is an educational YouTube video that explains the basics:
Check NCHEC Web site. Meanwhile you can check my Webpage for continuing ed opportunities. I have compiled all the agencies and organizations that are providing free CHES activities! Some offer up to 5 CECHs. (Betty) http://www.bettycjung.net/Phce.htm
Ashley Roberts • The NCHEC web site does provide very good definitions and examples but the search feature for actual activities is not very helpful. On the other hand, your website is exactly the type of information I expected to find on the NCHEC web site. Moreover it was much easier to navigate - this is the first time since becoming certified that I feel confident and informed on how to actually start on earning some hours with out paying for everything! Thank you so much!
Thanks, Blanche. Appreciate the listing. I have updated my Public Health Continuing Education Opportunities Page and will continue to do so as I become aware of free CHES offerings. MCHES is still a very new certification but I am sure the CDC and schools of public health with training centers will begin to offer free courses for MCHES CECH credits in the foreseeable future. (Betty)
CDC has an online course I think I did see some curriculum materials on their website. (Lysa Rodriguez)
I checked with our state TB person who suggested checking the CDC website under TB to see if they have on line or other courses. Good luck! (Barbara Pickett)
Check this out: TB Continuing Ed (Betty)
In this tough economy, an educational certificate from a reputable educational institution may be a good career move. This is especially true if these certificates offer college credits that will be accepted in a graduate degree program, should you decide to continue with your education. Having a graduate degree in Public Health is a real career booster since graduate-level education is required for many Public Health settings.
It's not too narrow a focus for employers who are interested in hiring people with the specific skill sets they are looking for. My suggestion is to contact the college offering this certificate and ask them who is employing people with this certificate. Also, talking to some people who have gone through the certificate program to see what they have done with the certificate may also be useful. (Betty)
In the current situation getting position with a BS (PH) is a bit difficult. Employers are looking for more PH informatics people, since huge reformation of health systems. I think if you could be able to study any computer/health informatics course (gain skill how to develop databases or systems etc) would provide a comfortable job. Don't waste your time for searching JOBS.
Thanks for raising this issue. I believe the original source of the graphics, etc in the article you cited are from The Role of Higher Education in Career Development: Employer Perceptions (December, 2012). For those interested in reading the entire report can go to: http://chronicle.com/items/biz/pdf/Employers%20Survey.pdf
I have actually done some extensive analyses of the findings in my 2013 Public Health Blog , between August 9 and September 6.
And, I have shared the report's summary findings with my students every semester and encourage them to complete an internship while they are in college.
Chronicle.com decided to survey employers to find what they are looking for in college graduates, and Chronicle's report is based on the survey responses of participating employers. Practically speaking, many college students work out of necessity to pay their bills, but an internship in their major really adds weight.
Furthermore, employers are more apt to hire someone who is already working, and will take a chance on a college grad that some other employer has already taken a chance on. They also like graduates who have worked while in college because they know these are the ones who know how to manage their time.
Also, everyone should be aware that exit exams that test critical thinking skills are coming to many colleges because employers are no longer interested in just possessing a college degree. When all applicants have one, then how do employers decide which one to choose?
Here is an article about the Collegiate Learning Assessment: http://www.sociologyinfocus.com/2014/07/14/c%E2%80%99s-earn-degrees-but-skills-pay-bills/
All in all, it never hurts to do well while you are in school, get the best grades possible and develop a strong work ethic. Conscientiousness is always a good characteristic to cultivate! You don't want some potential employer to ask you about the C you got with a question like,"Did you work hard for this? (Betty)
You can subscribe to my Public Health Jobs E-list, which lists available internship opportunities. I usually send out 2 mailings a day, but it depends on what I get to forward. It's free and the subscribe box is near the bottom of the Jobs Index page.
Internship opportunities are usually available through an academic program in which you would obtain college credit. You can probably do an internship once you are in a graduate program. The only other option I can think of, if you just want to get exposure, is to look for volunteer opportunities at local hospitals or community programs or health department. (Betty)
Subscribe to my Public Health Jobs E-list for the most current internship opportunities available. Sign up on the Home Page
If you are interested in exploring the public health field, you can talk to any volunteer mentor who is part of PHENOM (Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors), which is an online mentoring program comprising of 61 public health professionals working in a variety of settings. Mentors come from 17 states and 4 countries! Or, you can send in a question and any responses to the your question will be posted on the PHENOM Blog.
May I suggest you contact professionals who are volunteer mentors of the Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors (PHENOM)? Many are CHES. All would be willing to speak further with you about how they got their start in what they are doing now.
You may want to look at the sorted listings to get an overview of who the mentors are: http://www.bettycjung.net/Phenomlistings.htm
Or you can just post a question on the form provided. (Betty)
I believe that non-profits don't usually use recruiters to look for people to hire. Their budgets are usually pretty tight and people they hire are usually people they already know from somewhere, or someone interning or volunteering at their organizations.
My suggestion is that you look at volunteering at a non-profit that you are interested in working at. This way you can learn more about the organization and when a paid position becomes available, you will be there with a proven track record! Furthermore, while you are there you will get a chance to meet others working on collaborative projects, and this is another way to network.
I checked your profile on LinkedIn. Nice profile. Based on what I saw, I think your experience and background is more suitable in the legal field, possibly paralegal??? I think maybe you may have more success looking at advocacy and child welfare organizations, in which case you may want to look into governmental social services and child welfare agencies. Another venue, school health (e.g., community health centers, school health programs). Just a thought. (Betty)
Hi! First, because it is the most obvious from what little info I have to work with, is to check and make sure your spelling/grammar is correct: "advise" is the spelling for the verb, your usage required a noun which is "advice". Mistakes like this can make the viewer prejudiced against the rest of your application thinking you are either sloppy or not educated enough to spell. Just as it can spin your efforts away, the company would not want to be represented in a way that shows this either.
On the issue of hiring, I don't know your details but would offer a couple (2 cents worth?!), of suggestions. First, highlight most of all your passion for the work that led you to get the education you needed to do what you love. Try to give some insight to this perhaps in how you meld your career objective with the particular job you are applying for. Make that a glowing fit so that they can picture you blossoming into the job!
Second, I would recommend that you bring an expanded portfolio to any interview you get. Mine is in a three ring binder with my résumé yes, but any other work you have done that you are proud about. Mine includes any publications including letters to the editor that I sent, articles that I have written or that have been written about me, photographs of my work in action, awards, volunteer activities and recognitions, and any other pieces that you think might set you apart from the crowd of other applicants in positive ways. With a binder you can always change the mix to perhaps match best with your prospective employer to show how you might add life and exuberance to their team if they hired you. Attract them with the "honey" of the qualities you have that you live and love, and are appreciated for the most! This can be a pep rally for your continued development in your goals, and give your potential employer the chance to feel like they would help you rise to your potential and how that would feel good for all involved. Show any letters of support, thanks, reference letters, etc. I hope this helps and wish you every success with your future. Remember why you chose public health to empower your love for the values of working for the public and their health. In love and health, Eric Triffin, MPH The TranscenDancer
I think Eric pretty much said all. The economy is really bad so jobs are hard to come. I would suggest being a bit more creative about job titles. It may be worthwhile to spend some time researching job postings just so see what's out there. Also, look at the education and skills employers are asking for. If you have more than 3/4s of what they ask for, then apply and see what happens. Subscribe to my Public Health Jobs E-list (free), which can offer some ideas of what is out there. Job Index (Betty)
With your degree, I'd suggest looking into pharmaceutical companies. They are a great setting for practicing epidemiology. (Jonida Gjika)
No one is immune in this current economy, even those who have what I would consider stellar public health knowledge and skills!! Since I don't know what kind of work experiences you already have, and what you really like to do, it's hard to provide specifics. But generally speaking, a doctoral education with a scientific-based concentration would allow you teach in any academic institution with a public health program. You can work for research-based organizations and government agencies that compile health statistics. If statistics is your strong suit, you can do consulting for non-profits that need to make a case for their causes by monitoring population statistics. As Jonida mentioned above, pharmaceutical companies are always looking for those with PhDs to provide statistical support in clinical trials.
If you like health policy, those interested in advocating need someone who can develop an epidemiologic picture of the public health or policy issue in need of a solution. With an infectious disease background, you should check into what the CDC is doing. There is the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), which is a 2-year postgraduate program of service and training in applied epidemiology. Finally, there are several PHENOM mentors with doctoral degrees that you can contact about their career paths. See the newly released PHENOM Listings that has a sorted list by job title and academic preparation. And, you can always subscribe (near the bottom of this page) to my Public Health Jobs E-list, which goes out almost every day with listings for jobs from academia, non-profit organizations, etc. It's free! (Betty)
Seems that they need to prepare a portfolio of grant applied and obtained; attend meetings of continuum of care - United Way, etc..; identify those agencies she would want to work for and tell them to either hire her IF the grant is obtained to manage it OR get a fee or retainer before hand. Seems that a lot of people would want this service. (Scott Leroy)
One of my fave recommendations (of course it happens to be on the site) because it works...Never underestimate the power of social media specifically Linkedin in this case...Don't be afraid to send quick notes to anyone asking for tips like you are on PHENOM. You will be surprised. Good luck and please let us know how you are doing. Take care! (Dr. Judith Mairs-Levy)
Congratulations on your pending graduation! Writing is a tough field to crack. One of the more important things about this area is potential employers would like to see samples of your writing. So, start compiling a portfolio of whatever writing you have done. Also, the more varied, the better. Samples could include brochures, health education materials, newsletters, white papers, etc. If you have published anything, bring copies of published work. That's always impressive.
While you are still in school I would recommend you find an internship in the area of writing. This is just so you can explore what that would entail. Plus, you can then put this down as job experience on your resume. It might even lead to a potential job. One never knows. If you have a hard time in the current academic department finding an internship, then I suggest you check out the journalism department in your school. Also, you many consider writing some articles for your school paper.
Because of your nursing background, you may consider checking out public relations departments for health care and non-profit organizations. If you decide to freelance, you can get people to know more about your writing by developing an online presence. Start a blog about what you care about the most. This can be a sample of your writing. Finally, you can sign up for my free Public Health Jobs E-list on the Job Index Page. Hope this helps, Betty
The economy is very tough right now. The best bet is to be creative about job titles. You will find very few positions out there that would specifically call for a "health educator." So, think about the skill sets you have acquired and developed while you were in graduate school. If you enjoyed the science side, then seek out research assistant and environmental consulting positions to start. If you enjoyed programming, then look for program assistant positions to get your feet wet in the field. If you have a health background, look for in-service coordinator type positions. If you liked writing, look for grant coordinator positions. Nonprofits are great for people with community health education backgrounds. In those areas, look for marketing and outreach positions. If you are interested in working for government, then check out what each state requires for you to be considered. Most of the time you have to take some exam to be put on a list to be considered. Take exams in areas you meet the minimum qualifications. Usually an MPH is adequate to meet the minimum requirement to take these exams. In any of all these types of positions you will have a chance to do some health education in one form or another. Public Health is all about education, usually outside of a classroom setting. Read the job descriptions, and if you can do 75% of what they ask for, apply! Hope this helps. (Betty)
Congratulations for doing an internship! This work experience should prove helpful in showing a potential employer that you are employable because someone already took a chance on you! During these hard times you should expand your search beyond the usual political arenas. Any nonprofit organization could be a potential employer, especially if such an organization is involved with health advocacy. Most of those involved with health or public health issues usually are. Because you have had some exposure to how the legislature works, you can talk up your experiences, especially with how any potential bill hopes to get through both houses. Research-oriented non-profit organizations would be interested in hiring someone with your experience, but be prepared to do a lot of writing. So, make sure your research and writing skills are beyond reproach. Good luck, Betty
Right now health departments have money to implement an H1N1 programs so I would hop on that topic and offer your skills there. Also, monies are still there for P. H. Emergency Preparation so a resume geared there might help. Social networking is a new arena for many of us to learn to use so you might do well with skills connected to a public health agenda there. I would like to see effort in addressing health through smoke cessation and diet and inactivity. I think we need to see innovative new ways to reach the hard to reach and therefore some new methods or pilot/demonstration sites and programs could be more likely to get funded. You need to be a self-starter and ready to write a grant or two to help you gain the funds. Perhaps going both to the school grant writer and the Health Department person usually the director, and suggesting you would like to join them in writing some grants that could fund your position and whether they would support your work. What projects do they consider more ikely? I picture short videos possiby YouTube, one on one counseling and maybe setting up mentoring between students and health heroes/mentors/ ambassadors. In health, Eric Triffin
Unfortunately, the market right now is awful for everyone. Attending public health meetings, or any professional meetings in your area of interest is a good way to network. I've heard that APHA is the best conference to go to for networking and for posting your resume.
You can post your resume on employer Web sites, if they are recruiting online. You can post your resume on a number of general job sites like Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com. You can subscribe to my Public Health Jobs E-list for free, which includes jobs in a variety of setting, at http://www.bettycjung.net. Most of the jobs included have links that you can click on for more information and/or applying online. You can also use the Jobs search engine on my Web site for available jobs, which is available on all the jobs-related Webpages. Start at: http://www.bettycjung.net/Jobindex.htm (Betty)
Contact the Danbury Health Department to discuss with them? See if there are any jobs listed on the DAS website in that area. (Barbara Pickett)
Some generic suggestions: look in the blue pages for city agencies like the Health Department but depending on your training and interests you may find possibilities in the Board of Ed., DEP, Inlands/wetlands, Social Services, Human Resources, Senior Centers, Parks and Recreation, etcetera. But then ask whether there is any directory of social service agencies in the area (often put together by a group like Youth and Family Services, or the Community Health Center). The idea also is to call each place, or even go to as many as possible for a direct contact and a reading for yourself of what that agency is like. It also would be an interesting introduction for you to get a pulse on the city's health assets...and ask everywhere you go for any leads or ideas for you to follow next.
People usually want to help you, especially if they feel bad that they have no jobs to offer you, they often feel better by trying to send you elsewhere! The other idea is to seek to develop the help and networking to fund your ideal job...then write the grants to make it happen...this would take being a self starter, and ability to promote yourself. Look for help from local grant writers for the City, the Health Department, Board of Education or local colleges/universities.., and any local employment websites...like asking Betty! Good luck helps, too! And I think showing up, making yourself known as you survey the possibilities...make up a stand out business card to leave everyone with a way to contact you if they think or hear of anything later. (Yours in health --- Eric Triffin, MPH)
Here is a link for public health opportunities posted by Emory (Rollins School of Public Health) . (Jeannine Capria)
Check my Job Index Page for links to job search Webpages on this Web site. You can also sign up for the Public Health Jobs E-list that now goes out daily. I also just posted a new job search engine you can use to find what's available anywhere. You can find this on any of the job search pages, but I have made it available here as well. All you do is type in a job title in the "what" box, and a geographic location in the "where" box. Generally, a broader term works best, like program, data, epidemiologist, service, etc. For location, type in a state instead of a specific town or city. (Betty)
Has the person checked out USAjobs.gov . This is the federal hiring site and there are so awesome Public Health jobs listed there (especially in the field of Env. Health). Hope this helps! Take Care! (Brian Wnek, MPH, RS)
Has the person checked out USAjobs.gov . This is the federal hiring site and there are so awesome Public Health jobs listed there (especially in the field of Env. Health). Hope this helps! Take Care! (Brian Wnek, MPH, RS)
If you enjoy epidemiology, then being an Infection Control Nurse is the best way to meld nursing with the public health science of epidemiology in the U.S. However, you may be able to get front line nursing epidemiology work experience if you were to work in global health. Being a nurse would be advantageous for you should you decide to work in public health programs addressing infectious disease epidemics in countries outside of the U.S.
You should check into becoming certified in infection control. Check Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC) for what education and work experience you need to sit for the exam.
You can check the CDC's training programs for those with a college degree who are interested in working in public health. You should be able to apply your nursing expertise and epidemiology interest into gaining some public health experience. Check out Career Training Fellowships The Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) maybe something you may want to look into. Hope this helps. (Betty)
Do you know if Arizona or Missouri would be a better state to find public health work in after graduating? I also have not pinned down exactly what area of public health I want to go into-I am thinking global health. As someone who works in the field do you have any suggestions for what aspect of Public Health is the best to get involved with in terms of being able to find a job and being financially secure? I hope I have not bombarded you with too many questions. I have looked into some of these questions online but I was hoping to get the perspective of someone who currently works in the public health field. Any input to any of these questions would be much appreciated. Again thank you so much for taking time to help me. (N.L-K. AZ)
You have some GREAT questions.
I live in Maryland. So, I am unaware of which state for you would be better for Public Health opportunities. What I can say is that Public Health tends to work in smaller communities than states. By that I mean, if you are not working on a national initiative, you are working on a local issue. So instead of focusing in on the state, I'd suggest you exploring the work setting you want to have.
You stated you have an interest in global health. So ultimately do you see yourself in a government type of position? Or a condition that effects global health? Epidemiology based work? Environmental based work? Public Health is such a broad topic that you can affect change in so many different areas. I have found it better to be more specific in which area you would like to impact. Public Health is not an area where in which you come into and are instantly in a very well paying job (depending on your view of what's well paying). However, because there are so many areas impacted by public health, job opportunities are far and wide. Stability will be based on the area you live, what you choose to specialize in, what work setting you choose, etc. For example, recently, my family has been exploring a move to North Carolina. I was offered a job working for a Health Department as a program Director in Community Health. However, because that particular area of North Carolina was more rural, so cost of living is low, the salary offered to me was at least $25K lower than any job in Maryland. My very first job out of school was working on a Community Health Program at a hospital in Washington, DC. I hated the job because I worked solely in the Emergency Department. The program did not allow me to work in the community, which is what I wanted to do. But, since it was a hospital, money was good. Now, I work for a small non-profit where I have a blend of happiness in my pay and duties. I say all of this to say, stability is dependent on what makes you happy. Reading all of my responses, I realize I haven't given you any direct answers. That is because there really isn't a direct answer to your question. Once you really dive into public health (and you may have done this already) you will get a feel for what it is you like, and what kind of impact you want to make. Those are the guiding factors for deciding how you will ultimately map out your career. And don't be afraid to start down one path and end up somewhere else. The beauty of public health is that it is so broad, you can move around within it and still be inside of your field. The best thing you can do is to keep volunteering or doing internships to really find out what makes you happy. I hope this helps some. (Ebony Jackson)
Today's economy is not very friendly to those thinking of working in Public Health. That's because Public Health is mostly funded by government and non-profit entities, or what is commonly called "soft money," which means it not a sure thing. As Public Health priorities change, so will funding sources. So, you basically have to be flexible about what you will be doing.
I can't really tell you if one state is better to work in than another state. However, you can get a feel for what is available, especially if you are thinking of working for a state or local government. You can research this by look at state human resources Web sites that will post what is available. In most cases you will probably need to take an exam so you can be placed on a list from which agencies will hire from.
As for global health, you are in luck. Just within the past 12 months, countries have had to deal with infectious disease epidemics, like Ebola and MERS. Of course, this would require you to be willing to expose yourself to life-threatening diseases and situations. You may want to explore what countries you may want to work in and then look at the resources those countries have for public health services.
Unfortunately, many countries do not have the necessary resources to address public health epidemics effectively. This is where non-profit groups can contribute to the solution. You may want to look at international non-profit groups, usually concentrating on some particular area (e.g., maternal-child health issues, AIDS, TB, etc.) You may want to contact them and see what they have available and what kind of skills they are looking for. That way you can make sure you get those skills while you are in graduate school, whether through coursework or a field experience. I would definitely recommend you do an internship in your area of interest while you are in school. Doing an internship will provide you with some requisite skills and experience that will help you find a job. (Betty C. Jung)
Public health practice is so broad that you can work in the field in a variety of capacities. As a graduate student you should take advantage of your student status and think of completing an internship with a potential employer. The academic institution you are studying at and your graduate advisor should be able to help you with providing ideas for placement as they may already be collaborating with agencies and organizations involved with providing public health or social services.
While social services and public health services are viewed as separate areas of practice, they may overlap because it is more cost-effective to collaborate, given the limited budgets that many governmental entities have for providing public health and social services. While nonprofit organizations may help out in providing social services, most of what are public health services fall under the purview of government agencies. And, many times, public health gets shortchanged when it comes to getting money to do what must be done for the health of the Public. So, do look at social services for potential areas of practice.
On a more global scale, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an initiative with your country's public agencies to address AIDS/HIV. Check out CDC in South Africa. You may be able integrate your current lab experience in some way since the monitoring of treatment and disease surveillance are dependent upon good laboratory services. There are many opportunities for research in AIDS/HIV since researchers and health care providers are always looking for better treatment regimens.
You may also want to contact Public Health Association of South Africa. They seem to be very active in helping academic institutions interface with provincial health departments.
So, there are many possibilities, you just need to be little creative in looking for potential opportunities to learn new things and enrich your areas of expertise. You may want to check out my Public Health Practice Page which provides resources in the various areas of public health practice. Best wishes for a great career! (Betty)
Check out PHENOM - Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors. All volunteers, most are public health professionals, some work in health education-related jobs, many are CHES or MCHES. Any of us would be willing to talk to you about what we do. http://www.bettycjung.net/Phenom.htm
Many times a "job title" is defined by the job you are performing for an employer. Or, what you were hired to do. Sometimes those job titles can be pretty generic. Like Registered Nurse. You may be able to use a more descriptive title that is defined by the roles you play. Such a job title would be a functional job title so that others would immediately know what you do, e.g., Dialysis Nurse. If you are certified in a particular area of expertise, you can refer to yourself as "certified diabetes educator." If you are free-lancing you can be a bit more creative about how you would like to refer to yourself. In this instance you would have to come up with a descriptive job title that identify the strengths and skills you have to offer to a potential employer. It shouldn't be so eclectic that people don't know what the job means. For example, if you have expertise in evaluation, then you can refer to yourself as a public health program evaluator or health systems program evaluator. These job titles would be descriptive enough to entice an employer to look at what you have to offer. "Health professional" is just too generic/broad. It could mean doctor, nurse, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, lab technician, imaging technician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, rehab therapist. hope this helps. (Betty)
Well, in your follow-up E-mail you mentioned that while you have not been working for pay because you were busy raising 2 children, you have been very active volunteering for organizations involved with women's health issues. You mentioned that you would like to become a public health advisor and your interests lie in program monitoring and evaluation. This is helpful information to share.
During these hard economic times, we just have to be a bit creative about marketing ourselves. That means being proactive about letting others know about what we can do. There are many social networks out there that you can start to develop a professional presence on. My recommendation is to start with LinkedIn. In an interesting report I just recently read The Role of Higher Education in Career Development: Employer Perceptions December, 2012, I am learning a lot about the value of not only one's academic preparation, but whatever work experience one has gained along the way.
An interesting finding is employers are more willing to hire those who have done an internship and/or were employed while they were in school (Slide 24). Employers are looking for those with a work ethic that shows good time management skills, conscientiousness and the ability to multi-task. These are the characteristics of a potential candidate they would consider.
Another interesting finding was more than half of employers evaluated job candidates online (Slide 72). And, the way they do this is by checking LinkedIn and doing Internet searches (Slide 74). This means that one should be very careful about what gets posted online. You don't want the lose out on a job opportunity because a potential employer found some photos of you in some compromising situation, which is happening a lot these days, just because practically everyone has a cellphone that can instantly take and post photos on the fly.
Finally, because work experiences have become the "coin of the realm," it no longer matters if you have gained this experience from a paid or non-paying job. If you have gained valuable skills from your volunteer activities, and if those are the skills a potential employer is looking for, then you become that much more attractive to them. Yes, skills-building is a life-long avocation! (Betty)
Thanks for the background. I think your nursing background will be most beneficial when you do eventually complete your MPH. You will be able to find opportunities in the public health and health care sector. You may want to contact the school you have been accepted to and ask if they have alumni of the program who can speak to you and share their work experiences with you.
Most importantly, while you are in school you should make sure you do an internship in your area of interest, which seems to be global health. This will provide you not only work experience, but a possible opportunity for a more permanent position with the agency you interned at. It's like you are auditioning for a role and they get to see what you can do. A good way to market what you can do for them.
Well, I hope this helps. Also, feel free to contact any mentor on the directory who is working in an area you may want to learn more about. There are a few mentors involved with international health. Contact them by E-mail and ask some questions about what they do. They can give you insight about the knowledge and skills necessary to do the work. And, you can always subscribe (near the bottom of this page) to my Public Health Jobs E-list, which goes out almost every day with listings for jobs from academia, non-profit organizations, etc. You can use the job-listings to research what employers today are looking for. Almost all job listings will list the skills and experience they are looking for. You can learn a lot just by regularly perusing what is out that. It's free! (Betty)
It's a good idea to check out what others are doing in the field. Review the 50 biosketches posted for the Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors (PHENOM) to see how diverse the field of Public Health really is. You can contact any of these public health professionals via E-mail for insight into what they do. There is always a place for everyone who is passionate about working for the Public's health. (Betty)
Well, I suppose a good place to start is to see what data are available about this group! The Census.gov just recently released (in June):65+ in the United States: 2010 - Special Studies - Current Population Reports
Additional demographic data sources:
Additional info: http://www.bettycjung.net/Seniorhealth.htm
Probably not, but I am posting anything I come across pertaining to Obesity that has some public health relevance (statistics, theories, causes, various aspects, strategies, interventions, how to measure, etc.) to it at: Obesity Resources Thanks for bringing up the subject...
Of course! In the age of the Internet it is no longer a scarcity of information, but a deluge of information, MISINFORMATION and DISINFORMATION. In teaching Wellness to college students, I expect them to know the definitions of these terms ( http://www.bettycjung.net/Pch201index.htm ). Over the years I have spent a lot of time correcting misinformation, disinformation, etc. because they think anything on the Internet is credible. The emphasis now is developing information and health literacy. That is, separating the wheat from the chaff. This is especially true with "natural remedies," many of which are bogus and/or have not proven to be truly effective. Americans waste millions of dollars on "natural remedies" with the mistaken notion that what's "natural" is good for them and that they are empowering themselves through self-medication. The sad fact is some of these "natural remedies" affect the potency of prescribed medications and cause interactions that can be extremely dangerous. I refer students to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at http://nccam.nih.gov/ for the latest information about alternative and complementary medicine. I am glad that an agency has been set up to test the claims of complementary health practices. I also have a Web page offering the most credible sources for my visitors about health care
What a great resource, thank you! I have added it to my Diabetes Page
Unfortunately, the presentation did not offer any content that would explain what "Big Data" means, or much of anything to reflect on. Of course, "Big Data" is one of those buzzy words that could eventually reach mass acceptance to connote the negative aspects of what could be the outgrowth of data mining, similar to what "Big Agra" and "Big Pharma" mean these days in those commercial enterprises.
Hi, Elizabeth, yes, you can trust Web sites with the HON code. My web site is certified by Healthonnet.org, the organization responsible for the HON code. Web sites so certified undergo a review every few years to ensure they abide by a criteria Healthonnet have developed to evaluate the credibility of the information provided on that Web site. My Web site have been certified since 2000. Here is the kind of information you would get about the site when you click on the verify link: https://www.healthonnet.org/HONcode/Conduct.html?HONConduct847991
Obesity can be blamed for the continuing rise in Type 2 diabetes, which is reaching epidemic highs, as in Mexico. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/ However, poor dietary habits and not enough exercise can be blamed for obesity in any country. Of course, there are other reasons, like the use of certain medications can cause weight gain, but predominately it's diet and exercise. I am not too thrilled with what's available for consumption. Most of what is available to eat has been processed to death, organic foods are better, but more costly, high fructose corn syrup is in everything, and then there's GMO to consider. Many places are not suitable for exercising, like having no sidewalks to walk on, etc. I have a Webpage devoted to obesity issues, and will add to resources as they become available.
You will probably need to reach other groups like Paul Farmer and Partners in Health or Doctors Without Borders. I just wish them success with their efforts! (Eric Triffin, MPH)
A possible resource-- www.uniteforsight.org. The group has an interesting annual conference in April-- seemed like a lot of the global projects were in Africa and the Caribbean, however I think that as different initiatives come up, the work will spread to those regions. There is also a Global Health University and the group offers certificates on doing research in reduced resource areas. (Maria Lewis, MPH)
Health care systems differ from country to country. The way to research access to health care would be to take an epidemiological approach. By comparing what already exist in different countries, one can develop an understanding what works and what doesn't work. There are many factors to take into consideration, as how health care is funded, how health issues are addressed at various levels (nationally and locally), and, of course, the country's overall health status. And, this is just for starters.
While international health data are available from the World Health Organization, each country will still need to evaluate its own strengths and weaknesses in meeting the health care needs of its citizens. I recommend you start by looking at my "Health Care Reform" section on the Health Care Quality Issues Page , Also, check out the Data Search Engines Page for resources you can use to access available data about population health. (Betty C. Jung)
I would say that healthcare reform is the hottest topic. Turn on the TV, Internet, radio or even the talk on the street, everyone is concerned about healthcare resources and dollars. From those that are unisured, underinsured or struggling to afford the insurance premiums they have. Also it's not only the affordabilty of health insurance, but it's the coverage that's a struggle. I have worked in various healthcare settings including hospitals, private office, community and manage care. Although different entities, the feedback from healthcare consumers were the same. Why won't my coverage reimburse for wellness or holisitc care? This is an area of healthcare that has to be addressed. Although providers may still be divided, studies show that healthcare consumers are seeking complementary and wellness treatments. Even if an insurance offers coverage for holistic therapies for chiropractic, accupuncture or massage, it is usually with specific restrictions of meeting the "medically necessary" criteria and/or limited sessions. I have seen many people fight for such coverage to actually be "covered". Therefore, in my opinion, healthcare reform is the hot topic. The rise in chronic conditions accounts for almost 75% of every healthcare dollar. Many of these conditions can be prevented. So health education, wellness programs and working to improve public health infrastructures in my opinion are the areas one should focus. The aim will be to help mobilize positive change in healthcare reform to ensure that we facilitate a healthy lifestyle. That we look at caring for individuals and communities in a holistic manner. At least this is my perspective ;-)! (Jeannine Capria)
H1N1 (Danielle Orcutt)
I vote for H1N1 flu and other viruses - getting people immunized, etc. (Nancy Thursby)
I am excited to hear about connectomics, a field exploring how humans connect. I also believe that obesity needs to be approached in some ways like tobacco. An addiction to salt, sugar and fat that is consciously perpetrated through marketing to children especially but in ways that are known to cause severe health problems. Our collective weght gain has been unparalelled in history for impacting such large numbers in such a big and fundamental way. (Eric Triffin)
Not necessarily hot, hot, but I would have to say that the regulation of dietary and herbal supplements should be re-examined. When health care providers are suggesting to their patients to take dietary supplements like fish oils and calcium supplements, health consumers should be assured that what they are taking meet a standard criteria and that they are getting what they paid for. Currently, there is no guarantee whatsoever that the ingredients listed on the label is indeed what is in the supplement. Supplements are very expensive, and if they are suppose to serve a medicinal purpose, then they should be regulated by the FDA to ensure the quality and purity of these products, not to mention require labeling that discloses the possibility of interactions with food, over the counter and prescription drugs. (Betty)
My background is in health education/health promotion and when developing any kind of health educational materials we do try and take into account not only the literacy levels of the populations we would like to reach, but their unique cultural beliefs and understanding so that our messages are clear and not misconstrued. Cultural competence has also become an important point of interest in the delivery of health services to diverse populations. I have gathered a few resources you may find useful at:
Health Care Quality Issues under, "Cultural Competence."
For evaluation resources, please see
Also, check out AHRQ's The Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT) and User’s Guide. Links to these resources can be found on my Health Education/Health Promotion Resource page (Betty)
I have added all the free programs shared on my webpage that I maintain called "General Statistical Software Sites"
Regarding Camilla's initial question, I would recommend not rushing into buying any statistical package since there are many free alternatives available on the Internet, many of which are good. You can find just about anything to perform the type of analysis you need to do for any particular project.
After working many years conducting statistical analyses of all kinds, the most important thing is understanding the basic principles of statistical analysis than knowing how to use a particular package. I have found this fundamental lack of statistical understanding to be somewhat disconcerting because interpreting the results is what is truly important in analyzing data (among other things, like data quality).
In my field of Public Health, many agencies have not had the opportunity to use expensive packages because the money is just not there to purchase them. The current availability of so many free packages is a godsend. However, the other lesson I have learned is the importance of compatibility among various packages. Given that collaboration seems to be the way to get things done these days, it is probably more important that everyone working on a particular project agree on using the same package to reduce any potential misunderstandings. (Betty)
Definitely check the funding source of the program you will be evaluating. An evaluation plan should have been developed when the program was developed, and this should guide what you need to do. Federal agencies funding state-based programs usually require an evalution plan be in place and any evaluation activities be reported on a regular basis in program progress reports. You can also check my Evaluation page for resources.
Yes, I have seen infographics being used with more frequency these days in many venues. I view it as making data reporting more palatable to general audiences. Infographics are very appealing to people who are visually oriented, which seems to be almost everyone. Just look at all the electronic devices being used today- all visual. Because I see this as the future for presenting data, I have included a section about infographics on my Charting and Graphing Data webpage
Thanks, John! I have added your suggested link to the Graphing webpage ( http://www.bettycjung.net/Graphing.htm ). I like your reference to John Snow. Considering he didn't have sophisticated hardware or software, he still managed to stop the cholera epidemic by using keen observation and simple mapping of identified cases. Now that's elegant epidemiology at work!
When it comes to designing a relational database, for any field, not just Public Health, one must consider the importance of compatibility across databases. Is the database going to be sharing data with other databases? If so, then the databases should share a compatible design to make data sharing possible.
Another issue would be who will be using the database? Will there be different people involved with the data, i.e., data entry, data management, report generation? If many people will be involved, then a standardized approach should be taken, and everyone should be trained on all aspects of the database. Having a training manual is critical to ensure uniformity with all these aspects.
One of the big mistakes I have seen is to hire outside consultants to develop a database. In most cases these consultants are paid to develop a database, which they do, and then if any problems come up, it would cost more money to bring them back to fix the problem. Many times, such funding is not available, so you are left a state-of-the-art database that is totally useless.
Finally, given constant technological change with software companies disappearing all the time, probably the most important issue may be the ability to convert data sets into other formats, as needed. So, keeping things simple is the best way to go. (Betty)
Scholarships and grants for Graduate programs are more difficult to obtain than in undergrad. The first place to start should be the University you are looking to attend. Sometimes Public Health programs offer grants for specific start dates or experience already in the the field (which it sounds like you have). Honestly, the next thing to do is just keep doing internet searches. Think creatively about where you can find the grants. For example, while in undergrad, I volunteered at a hospital, and was able to apply for the grant the hospital gives to their employees for school. Look for funding within any organization you are apart of or work for; this could include churches, bank, job, etc. Lastly, I know that you have your heart set on specific schools. What about their program interested you? Because perhaps you can look for a school that specifically offers funding if yours does not. (Ebony Jackson)
Higher education is definitely an expensive proposition these days. Scholarships are hard to get, but if you look hard enough you may be able to find something. I agree with Ebony that scholarships at he graduate level are hard to come by. You may want to explore what the school you will be attending has to offer in way of financial support. There might be graduate and teaching assistantships you can apply for, or campus jobs.
Here are 3 online resources you may want to explore in terms of scholarships for those interested in Public Health:
Hope this helps. E-mail if you have more questions (Betty C. Jung)
I am interested in the area of Health Promotion in order to bridge my clinical background in health care with my educational experience in order to advocate for patients by working within the health system as a Corporate Compliance Officer, Health Program Consultant or Regulator Officer for example. I've been in the field of Health Care for over 13 years and I believe that the best way to improve a system is to ask the people who work in the system. They're the ones that live it everyday on the front lines. This is my passion and purpose for pursuing my degree.(C.U., Connecticut)
I would get a minor in communications along with your MPH. I believe that strategic communications, and even strategic logistics would help you gain a credibility, foothold and value in the work you want to do. Look at even the example of virus and how it opened doors to embracing change and difference in everything from an amoeba to every living creature. How ideas diffuse and penetrate a society is powerful and recognized now when they "get legs", or "go viral!" Putting the "Public" and "Health" in public health is what it sounds like you want to do and that is very attractive. Ask people what tools you might need or be able to use best. Video and mindfulness training come to mind, assertiveness, group communications. Best of luck!!In love and health, Eric Triffin, MPH, The TranscenDancer
Congratulations on being accepted to graduate school! You will have some interesting years ahead. I think you are going to need to work a little while longer in what you are doing now (surgical technologist) before you can find a position in the field of public health. While you have a good health services work background, positions in health promotion require the skills you will be learning in graduate school, such as program planning, implementation and evaluation, etc.
As you mentioned, you have not been successful in your search, probably in part to not having the requisite skills. But, once you have earned your MPH degree, you will be in a better place to get a job in Public Health. The earliest you can start thinking of working in public health would be during your graduate internship. By the time you can take the internship you would have had the basic courses necessary for developing the skills you will need to make the most of an internship.
You will most likely have to look for a site yourself, so it will be just like looking for job, except you will have a better chance of getting something than you would now. Before then you will need to explore what it is that you really want to do. From your question and information provided, I sense that you will need to explore what you mean by health promotion, as that is not the usual strategy used by those who work as a "Corporate Compliance Officer, Health Program Consultant or Regulator Officer." Two of these positions are regulatory in nature, and will probably require additional education and/or certification and/or licensure. To be able to call yourself a "Health Program Consultant" would require that you have at least 5 to 10 years of work experience in health promotion/education programming.
While Health Promotion is a major buzzword in Public Health, and can theoretically mean anything that would advance the Public's Health, on a more practical level, it involves health education and health communication strategies in developing programs to address the current public health issues of the day. It is mostly education-based that involves raising the awareness of the community about an issue that is affecting their health and requires the community to make not only policy and environmental changes, but enable personal health behavior changes as well. So, in this context, working in compliance and regulation would be conceptually divergent from what health promotion is meant to do.
May I suggest you contact one of our PHENOM mentors, Mary Nescott, who is a Quality and Compliance Officer, to learn more about what such a role entails and what kind of specialized training, beyond the MPH, you would need to do this kind of work. You can also contact other mentors listed on the Phenom Directory to learn about what you they do as that will help you to better plan for what you need to learn before looking for a job in Public Health. You can E-mail them and set up a phone interview, which works best, as all of them are busy professionals, but have volunteered to provide mentoring to those interested in the field. (Betty)
An expectation of graduate education is learning from your peers while enriching the education of those around you! Two to five years of work experience after completing your undergraduate education should provide adequate time for assessing what you want to do with the rest of your life. Having the work experience will put you on par with more experienced classmates, or, what you would refer to as colleagues in graduate school. The continual interaction between work experience and graduate education is invaluable in helping you to learn what you will need to apply to, hopefully, a higher level of public health practice when you have completed graduate studies. There are things you simply cannot learn from the classroom setting.
Thanks for posting the question. I do recommend that you get some job experience before you pursue your MPH. The benefits of gaining some post-grad job experience go beyond potentially increasing your chances for admission to a graduate program. The opportunities to build your professional network, learn essential on the job skills and to explore areas of public health that you may not have otherwise considered, are definitely valuable. Some employers will even offer you tuition reimbursement for pursuing additional education.
Two years of experience will provide you with a good foundation and can make the graduate experience meaningful, especially when you can relate and apply what you learn in class to your professional role. Good luck!(Naralys Estevez)
Congratulations on choosing public health! It is a great field to be in as it continues to evolve. If you are not sure where you want to end up, I would encourage you to apply to become a CDC Public Health Associate Program (PHAP) Fellow. This program provides 2 years of paid training with various public health providers across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Guam.
We are hosting our first PHAP Fellow. I believe the minimum requirement is a bachelor's degree. This gives you an opportunity to explore the field of public health in action, get hands on / in the field work, as well as having the potential (depending on openings) to be hired at the CDC. I believe it will also market your skills.
To learn more visit: https://wwwn.cdc.gov/FMS/phap/hostsite/HomePage.aspx
I hope this helps. If you are thinking of applying take note there is a deadline. For the health of it, (Nola Goodrich-Kresse, MS, MCHES; Public Health Educator / PIO; Orleans County Health Department; Albion, NY)
I’m a big supporter of working before going back to get a Master’s degree. Having some work experience will really help put what you are learning into perspective. She’ll have “real life” experience. Just my thoughts. I hope they help. (Krista Legg)
I guess it depends on what sector she would be considering working in as well as the public health climate of the state she intends to pursue a career. Right now is pretty tough on public health with the economy as it is as we, in public health know, is the first thing to be cut. The sequestration is making it even more difficult. I think someone in Maryland would be the best to answer this question for her. (Danielle Orcutt)
Since the emphasis of a public health career is on practice, work experience is of vital importance in the education process. So, the more work experience you bring to your graduate education, the more you can benefit from it. Public Health graduate education can learn from another graduate education program that is known for its value for the industry that such a graduate degree would prepare them for - the MBA. Here is a brief quote:
"I have to admit that I agree with admissions officers who reject inexperienced applicants. The whole objective in assembling a business school class is to put together people who can share unique experiences from their industries. If you have two years in your industry and another applicant has five years in the same business, I'm going to take the more experienced candidate over you, even if his GMAT score is a little lower than yours."
My suggestion is to get at least 2 years of work experience in, and even more won't hurt, in fact, it will definitely help. Those with work experience have a competitive edge in graduate school because graduate school is not undergraduate school. Professors in graduate courses expect students not only to be learning from them, but from their classmates as well. So, if you have classmates who can talk about work experiences pertaining to what you are learning, it really enriches everyone's learning.
Furthermore, there really is no "deadline" (unlike undergraduate education) in which you must apply after completing your undergraduate degree. If you have good grades AND years of relevant work experience, you will be able to get into a competitive MPH program. However, you should look for CEPH accreditation for graduate public health schools and programs, and if they are accredited by CEPH, they should provide you with a quality public health education.
Finally, if you can continue to work through graduate school, you will have a leg up on the competition when you finally look for a full-time job. If not, most programs require an internship so the student can get some "work experience" they can put on the resume while being exposed to the field.
According to a Chronicle.com study about employer expectations for college graduates, those who have work experience have the edge. After all, earning a graduate degree will provide you with opportunities at positions that require an MPH, but you will be back to the same situation that an undergraduate graduate has to deal with when job hunting, the one with more work experience is valued more by a potential employer. So, all that work experience you bring into your graduate education will benefit you, as well, in the long run. If you are interested in the Chronicle.com's report, I have written a series of blog postings highlighting the poignant points of the report at 2013 Public Health Blog. Best wishes for a long and fruitful Public Health career! (Betty)
In today's tough economy, employers are extremely interested in potential employees who can come on board, ready and willing, up and running. Money is tight, and of course they will be willing to train, but they would rather have people who already have as many of the requisite skills they are looking for. And, most of the time, you get these skills from work experiences.
Ideally you should look at your time during school as prime opportunities to obtain as much work experience as possible. Studies have shown that hiring managers favor those who have worked while they were in school. It tells employers a lot about a person who can balance school with work. Only those who have good organizational skills can manage to stay on top of things. Multitasking is highly valued.
So, while you are in school, complete an internship or two, get involved with projects and volunteer work in which you can develop some skills you can talk about on your resume.
Also, may I suggest to check out the PHENOM (Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors) program that comprise of 59 volunteer public health professionals who would be willing to talk to you further about their experiences. You can see biosketches at http://www.bettycjung.net/Phenom.htm
Or, you can check out the sorted listings by job title, geography and work settings at http://www.bettycjung.net/Phenomlistings.htm
Nothing beats talking to someone already working in the field. They can provide you with insight and guidance to the public health field, which is extremely diverse. (Betty)
Obviously, it is hard to find a suitable position with the degrees from other countries like India. Based on my experiences there are two important aspects influence the opportunities in North America (N.A.)
1. educational curriculum and training particularly in public health is
completely different from Americas.
2. lack of networking with scientific communities.
So, having a degree (related) from N.A. (North American) universities will increase the opportunities and during study/research period you can have interactions with scientists at different conferences (as a poster/podium presenter). There are so many immigrants, who got the positions after education in N.A.
Hope this helps. Dr. Venkata Duvvuri
I agree with Dr. Duvvuri. When it comes to professional preparation, it's best to get your academic preparation from the country you are currently residing in. For example, physicians with an MBBS, which is the medical degree in many countries, cannot practice Medicine in the U.S. without going through an examination process to determine their ability to complete a residency in the U.S. before they can practice medicine. And, then they must complete a residency program. Here are Immigration Guidelines for foreign born physicians.
The best way to get experience is usually through internship programs that are part of an academic institution. You would have to be a student in a program and completing an internship would be fulfilling the requirements for the degree. However, these are not always paying positions. Another way to gain experience would be to volunteer for an organization that provides health education or health promotion interventions. (Betty)
Thanks, Miriam, for your comment. Public health practice covers many areas. It would really depend on what you are interested in doing. What have you already worked in? Did you enjoy it? Were there skills you didn't have then that you wished you had then? Another more practical way would be to see what is out there now in the job market. I always find perusing job postings to be quite educational. Employers usually tell you exactly what they are looking for. So, if you see something you like, you can ask yourself, do I have the skills to do the job? That is where you can start. Subscribe to PHENOM's free jobs listserv and start researching!
I would say a MPH or Phd.should be able to get you to at least an entry level position, or an assistant to one. As I sought new ventures, connections, etc., I have discovered that the city and state health offices/departments, the CDC, etc., are usually the best places to start applying. Alternatively, if at all possible, becoming a part/full time volunteer or intern could also land you that position. By proving yourself, showing dedication, committment, and hard work, one could be on his/her way to a salaried position in a fairly short time. Take care and Good Luck! Regards, Judith (Mairs-Levy)
These are hard economic times. Most recently, public sector employers are beginning to lay off workers who used to have more job security than those in other sectors. Basically, there is no such thing as job security these days. So, I would suggest you broaden your search for gaining work experience. If you are still in school, take advantage of any internships that may be available in areas that stress scientific and analytical skills.
Epidemiologists are really scientists and they apply the principles of scientific inquiry and research principles in what they do on a daily basis. They are expected to be proficient in data management, data analysis and report writing, so being comfortable with using a computer is absolutely essential. They must know how to use a word processing software program, a presentation software program, a spread sheet program and a data management program. With the advent of desktop mapping capabilities, having a basic understanding of GIS and being able to use at least one mapping program would be an asset, especially if you are interested in the areas of environmental epidemiology. If you are not computer proficient, then take some basic courses in computer skills. Any educational or continuing education courses that cover these skills would be worth your while.
Also, you should be proficient in using the Internet to manage online data sources. Many federal data sets are becoming available online because many government agencies are working to make the data they compile for planning purposes available to the public. Some of these agencies have online tools that you can use to develop your own data sets for analysis from what they have available online, or you can even conduct analyses online to answer your particular question. This is a very new area of statistical and epidemiologic expertise. Just learning to be familiar with what is available can take time, but will be worth your while to explore. A prime example of this is the CDC's Health Data Interactive. You can also check my U.S. Federal Government Statistics Sites page to get an idea of data sources currently available from the federal government.
I stress having these basic skills because having a skill set that you can apply right away in any workplace that is looking for an epidemiologist, or public health researcher, or data analyst or database manager will give you an edge in a very competitive job market. In any job opportunity you may get, always think of what you can learn from that job that you can add to your skill set. It may be the only concrete asset you can take away from a job and the most productive way to manage your career growth in an economy that no longer believes longevity on the job is an asset to the company. Best wishes. (Betty)
Work experience is always an asset for applying to graduate school. I would recommend working for at least 2 years before thinking about going back to school for a graduate degree. Because Public Health is such a broad field it is always helpful to decide what it is you want out of a career in Public Health. Are you pursuing a graduate degree to improve your knowledge and skills so you can compete in your current job setting, or are you looking to change fields entirely?
Usually, a graduate degree in Public Health (PH) can be seen as an add-on for those working in the medical field already (e.g., doctors, nurses, allied health professionals), or in the basic science fields (e.g., chemists, biologists, vets, etc.). Having the PH graduate degree will provide advancement opportunities in their current fields. Having work experience in these areas are an asset for applying.
A PH graduate degree can refine the career focus of those working in the social science and public service fields (e.g., social workers, public sector professionals), and can provide additional employment opportunities outside of their current work settings. Having work experience in these areas are an asset, also.
Of course, if you want make a career change, you would really need to assess what you really want to do with a PH graduate degree. You would need to know what people with a PH degree are doing these days. You can contact a mentor listed in the PHENOM Directory to conduct an informational interview to learn more about what they do. You can check out where they work as listed in Careers in Public Health - What Do Public Health Professionals Do? and find out more about the various settings and if you think you may like working in such settings.
At the same time, you can research the various schools that offer a PH graduate degree and see if they would be willing to give you some names of alumni who have finished the program to find out what they are doing and if they are happy with their chosen field.
Half the time, I think people just don't spend enough time thinking about who they are before making career choices and if the fit is not there, then they are unhappy. Eventually you will need to work in a career that suits your temperament to experience job satisfaction. Learn more about how your personality affects your career on the Personality Page.
Finally, whatever work experience you have is always an asset to graduate studies. You will bring fresh perspectives from what you have been doing into the classroom and enrich the learning experiences of those around you. And, if you can match what you have been doing to something in some the Public Health field, then that would be useful, too. For example, if you currently work with numbers all the time, making a change to concentrate on Epidemiology is a natural progression (at least in my mind). Or, if you have been teaching in some form or manner, making a change to health promotion and health education would put you in the forefront of public health education. (Betty)
I AM NOT REALLY IN THAT PART OF OUR FIELD BUT WANT TO ENCOURAGE YOU NONETHELESS. First, you are doing a smart thing by asking, and do that at every job interview along with a request for other leads and contacts. Then, just generically, and I think I hear that from you already, express the love you have for the field and the opportunities it provides for meaningful work. You know you want to love what you do by doing what you love, and as the Beatles said : "The love you give is the love you get!" Best of luck! P. S. I sometimes picture myself as a Public Health Superhero but when I go in the phone booth to change into my superhero outfit I just come out the same but with a mirror to show people their own super-ness! We each have a light to shine and showing people that spark in themselves is indeed a high calling, and one that health educators and others play at quite often. (Eric Triffin, MPH)
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
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