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What Might You Learn in a Public Health Degree Program?

When a person talks about going into healthcare or medicine, most people assume they are talking about being a doctor or a nurse. However, there are many jobs in medicine being a doctor or nurse. The job you choose may be determined by the health sector you want to go into. For example, emergency medicine, mental health and addiction services, prevention, and public health are all examples of public health sectors. There is also overlap among those sectors, so the possibilities are endless.

One option that many may not know about is the public health sector. Jobs in public health may include nutritionist, health coach, health educator, social worker, outreach coordinator, and professor. A bachelor’s degree in public health will allow you to explore many options within the public health sector. You can choose a focus area and go on to get a graduate degree in your specific focus area or get a job with your bachelor’s degree in the field that interests you the most.

Clarification of Common Diseases


When going into public health, there is many organizations and fields you may end up working in. For example, you may take a business with an organization that promotes Alzheimer’s research and provides resources and education to families about Alzheimer’s Disease. In that case, you’ll learn about dementia vs Alzheimers, tangles, plaques, the symptoms of dementia, the impact on the brain cells, and the different causes of dementia other than Alzheimer’s Disease like stroke and Parkinson’s Disease. Understanding the different types of dementia, mood changes, changes in a person’s ability to do things, and memory loss will allow you to help better the people you are talking to.

Public Health Risks


Health coaches, health educators, social workers, and prevention specialists are all jobs that involve learning and understanding public health risks. Learning these risks will allow you to work with others who may be at risk and provide education and resources to those in need of help. For example, knowing that early childhood trauma is a risk factor for future drug addiction gives you a foundation of knowledge when working with children coming from abusive situations. The public health risks you learn about will be tailored to the field you are going into, but you’ll be able to learn many things through a public health degree program.

Strategies to Mitigate Risk


While education is key to mitigating risks in nearly every area, some actions can help reduce risks. As a public health worker, you may be on the frontlines of those actions. For example, within addiction, harm reduction is an evidence-based approach to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, so you may learn to work in a harm reduction clinic. Knowing the evidence-based strategies to mitigate the risks within the area you are working in will help people most effectively. Going back to the example of Alzheimer’s Disease, while an exact cause is unknown, research has shown a possible link between high cholesterol and development. Using that information, you can work with people to learn and follow a healthy diet to naturally lower their risk of high cholesterol.

Getting a degree in public health will give you the education you need to go into a field that allows you to help individuals and the public as a whole. You’ll be provided valuable education and resources to groups of people that will lessen a public health crisis. You can fulfill your desire to go into a job that makes a difference in the lives of others. If you have a gift for connecting with people and a passion for helping, you can excel in the public health sector.

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