Careers in Public Health

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1 SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY Careers in Public Health Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition

2 Degree considerations for students in public health The Falk College s Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition at Syracuse University offers a bachelor of science in public health (BSPH). The public health program includes a 46-credit liberal arts core, a 45-credit public health core, and a 32-credit elective requirement. The public health core includes key public health concepts such as environmental health, epidemiology, health systems administration, and social and behavioral determinants of health as well as those specific to community health education, a sub-field within public health. The generous number of electives facilitates completion of a minor or a second major. In addition, the program s flexibility enables students to study abroad. When considering a career path in public health fields, the following information is helpful: A bachelor s degree is sufficient for entry-level positions. Advanced degrees allow people to specialize in various public health fields. The master s in public health (MPH) is a professional public health degree. The master s in science in public health (MSPH) is an academic public health degree. Falk College public health students gain valuable hands-on experience through courses, service learning, and research projects working closely with faculty members. Steve Sartori/Syracuse University

3 Steve Sartori/Syracuse University Steve Sartori/Syracuse University As part of the public health major, with input and guidance from faculty, each student designs an individual nine-credit senior internship and capstone project. This capstone project opportunity involves students in data collection for an NIH-funded study examining the effects of lead and PCB exposure on children s health. Other advanced degrees suit the range of fields that public health touches: master s in health communication, master s in community health education, master s in behavioral health, master s in health administration (MHA), or master s in public administration (MPA). Other relevant graduate work can be pursued in law, political science, anthropology, or sociology. Some students seeking a clinical health career choose public health, rather than biology, for their undergraduate major before applying to graduate-level clinical health programs. The bachelor s in public health can provide students with a pathway to advanced studies in medicine, dentistry, nursing or physician assistant studies if electives are used to fulfill the additional admissions requirements for these advanced degree programs. A Ph.D. is required for college teaching and advanced research positions. Upon completion of the BSPH program, students are eligible to sit for the national Community Health Education Specialist (CHES) examination. Certification as a Community Health Education Specialist, while voluntary, often provides advantages when seeking employment.

4 Dennis Nett/The Post STAndard One community-wide project Syracuse University public health students may be involved with through coursework or service learning is the Genesis Health Project, which uses cultural leveraging to improve the health of African American families through educational programming. Exploring careers in public health The Falk College s bachelor of science degree in public health prepares students for health-related careers in government and private and nonprofit organizations that address health promotion and illness prevention in individuals, families and communities. Field-based learning opportunities are an integral requirement of the public health curriculum. Public health students complete a total of 480 hours of field work engaged in health promotion, designing and implementing health education, understanding diversity and improving health literacy. These experiences culminate with HTW 422 Senior-Year Capstone Internship Experience. These purposeful opportunities provide students valuable hands-on experience that translates well into future professional roles in public health. In addition, many public health students engage in summer internship experiences to further their skills in public health practice or research. Faculty and staff advisors have deep connections in the public health field, which translates into tremendous networking connections locally and nationally for students. Currently, the public health program has a list of more than 120 internship sites in its database for students to consider.

5 To explore careers in public health further, visit these national organizations online for more information: American College Health Association; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Commission for Health Education Credentialing; National Institutes of Health; state departments of public health; Society for Public Health Education; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the World Health Organization, USAJOBS.gov, and; the Association of Schools of Public Health. Career opportunities for public health majors Public health is a growth career. By 2020, the United States will need 250,000 additional public health workers, according to estimates by the Association of Schools of Public Health. The Department of Labor reports employment of health educators will increase through Listed below are major practice areas in public health, related job titles, roles/responsibilities and employment settings for bachelor s degreeprepared public health professionals. Health Promotion/Illness Prevention Employment settings: Employee health services, college health services, government, public/private organizations. Sample job titles include: Community Health Educator Collects and analyzes data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating programs designed to encour- CDC/DAWN ARLOTTA Community health educators may engage in town hall meetings to collect community concerns and share health messages.

6 age healthy lifestyles, policies, and environments. For students interested in this career choice, earning national certification as a Community Health Education Specialist (CHES) will provide advantages in the job market. Community Health Worker Builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy. This work is often conducted among disadvantaged populations. Public Health Program Coordinator/Administrator Conducts needs assessments, supervises daily activities, conducts data analysis, develops educational materials, partners with other organizations, raises funds and markets health programs. Advanced positions in public health program administration require graduate training. Public health immunization education programs help prevent disease through increasing the community s knowledge of and access to vaccines. Epidemiologist Epidemiologists investigate the causes of disease and other public health problems to prevent them from spreading or from happening again. They report their findings to public policy officials and to the general public. Most epidemiologists have a master s in public health or a related field, and some have a Ph.D. in epidemiology. Health Advocate Supports and promotes the rights of community members in the healthcare arena, helps build capacity to improve community health and enhance health policy initiatives. Addiction Prevention Specialist/Professional Develops, implements and coordinates substance abuse prevention programs. Students interested in this specialty area may want to consider a minor in addiction studies. Most states require certification or licensure to work in this field. CDC/AMANDA MILLS

7 David Lassman/The Post STANDArd Public health nutrition professionals promote healthy behavior in a variety of contexts, such as ensuring that communities have access to fresh and nutritious locally grown food. Public Health Nutritionist Plans, arranges and conducts the nutrition component of public healthcare programs to promote health and dietary control of disease. For students interested in this career path, a minor in nutrition is suggested. Advanced positions in public health nutrition require graduate training. Infection and Disease Control Employment settings: Health departments and public health laboratories. For these positions, strong skills in data management and analysis, including statistical software applications, provide advantages in the job market. Sample job titles include: Public Health Advisor Assists supervisory personnel in planning, organizing and conducting disease control efforts. Eligibility for some positions in this area may require a competitive score on a civil service examination. Public Health Laboratory Assistant/Technician Assists scientists in laboratory procedures, performs experimental testing, calculates and records results, and develops scientific conclusions based on test data. Students interested in this career choice may want to consider a minor in biochemistry. Graduate training is typically required for laboratory scientist positions. Public Health Infection Preventionist Conducts surveillance to identify persons at risk for infection, conducts infection risk reduction education.

8 Steve Sartori/Syracuse University Disease control efforts from flu prevention programs to HIV/AIDS education provide many career opportunities for students trained in public health. Public Health Research Employment settings: Public or private organizations, academic public health research centers. Strong oral and written communication skills, including proficiency in word processing and spreadsheet software are required. Skill in data entry and graphical presentation provide advantage in the marketplace. A sample job title is: Research Assistant/Associate Provides general research support to the lead research scientist. Support may include recruitment of subjects, document preparation, graphical reporting of research results, conducting literature searches and reviews. Students interested in possible careers as research associates and assistants may engage in research projects working closely with public health faculty members.

9 Here, a student interested in maternal and child health conducts a research project on sweetened soda consumption in pregnant women. Health Communication Employment settings: Newspapers and journal organizations, nonprofit organizations, corporations, public and private foundations, government agencies. Sample job titles include: Health Journalist Creates and disseminates messages that help both individuals and groups understand health and illness. Students interested in this career path are encouraged to register for HTW 227 Healthy You Practicum to write health-related articles and gain hands-on experience in producing a health journal. Students may also consider a minor in journalism. Health Communications Director In addition to creating and disseminating health messages, marketing and outreach efforts are used to achieve organization program goals and positive health outcomes. For most positions, graduate training in health communications is required. Students interested in this career path are encouraged to register for HTW 227 Healthy You Practicum to write health-related articles and gain hands-on experience in producing a health journal.

10 Public health analysts evaluate effectiveness of government health programs and policies, such as whether restricting tobacco use in public places improves maternal infant health outcomes. Public Health Law, Policy, & Regulations Employment settings: Public interest law firms and related organizations, state/county/local government, federal agencies, World Health Organization, academia. Sample job titles include: Public Health Analyst Analyzes and evaluates effectiveness of current or projected government health programs and policies in achieving objectives. Bachelor s preparation is sufficient for some public health analyst positions; however, many others require graduate training in public health. Students interested in this career area may want to consider a minor in policy studies. Public Health Lawyer Works in policy, regulation and legislation that governs public health-related activities and advises legislators on constructing new health laws and writing agency procedures for implementing and enforcing the law. Significant constitutional issues often come into play in public health law. Public health lawyers complete law school, specializing in health law or health policy. Public health lawyers must have strong skills in oral and written communication.

11 Global Health Employment settings and job titles: Government and non-government organizations. A variety of job titles exist in the field of global health, from opportunities in health promotion and disease prevention in developing countries to health consequences of trauma, violence, war, and displacement. Students interested in this career path are encouraged to take courses in global health, achieve proficiency in a second language and consider enrolling in study abroad programs with a health-related focus. For more information about careers for public health students, contact: Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Syracuse University Syracuse, New York (315) For questions about applying to the Falk College, contact the Office of Admissions at (315) , or falk.syr.edu. A Falk College public health undergraduate implements an HIV/AIDS awareness education program in Grahamstown, South Africa, which she developed with a public health faculty member and classmates as part of a class project. PETE MIDDLEMISS

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