Career Talk: Why Major in Public Health?

There are many reasons I can use to make the case for why a career in Public Health is beneficial, I am only going to highlight two very important reasons (in my opinion) why I think a prospective student should take the leap of faith. But first, let me share a little background on my personal decision to major in Public Health …

My Decision

During my undergrad years, my interest was Health Administration. As I got closer to graduating, I realized I wanted more options and broader reach to how I helped people. Honestly at that time in my “pre-career” I may not have been so insightful as to the options of health administration. Regardless, I asked myself a question: “How can I make the biggest impact?” So after intense research into public health masters programs, I went for the MPH. While there were very distinct concentrations areas, I could immediately see the various pathways within each area. After almost 17 years, I can honestly say I made the right choice.

So, why should you?

Why Public Health: Reason #1

Well, to put it simply – because we need people. With all of the certain uncertainty caused by COVID19 professionals working in the various public health domains are crucial to helping us understand how to prevent further deaths. We need people in the field, lab and office who are ready to seek out the “how, what, why, when and where” so that we have the data and … wait for it…. information to make better decisions and evolve health care.

For example, in order for the front line workers within the clinical setting to do their best, there must be a mechanism to provide data from a broad spectrum of disciplines. This is especially present when we think about social determinants of health – a public health concept. We zoom in on what is happening in a persons’ community, population or identity groups that cause certain outcomes. As a result, when a patient is being treated (standing in front of the doctor or nurse at that clinical stage of care) the approach is more holistic. Preventing death and prolonging life becomes more than just looking at the individual.

One thing that was so inspiring to me is that there are many MDs that also get their MPH. I like to think it’s because they understand that the information garnered from the field to inform the clinical work or what is done in the medical side. A focus on both prevention and intervention is key. 

Reason #2: Options, Options, Options

A second reason – and my favorite (obviously) – are the options. There are so many different fields to go into – enough said. Here is just a glimpse of what I will cover later on:

  • Policy  
  • Healthcare management 
  • Social and behavioral/ mental health 
  • Advocacy 
  • Epidemiology 
  • Biostatistics 

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