Public health workers serve as liaisons between health services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. They also build individual and community health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy.
Public health professionals work in all geographic settings, including rural, urban and metropolitan areas; however, they are most often found working in underprivileged and marginalized communities where people may have limited resources; lack access to quality health care; lack the means to pay for health care; do not speak English fluently; or have cultural beliefs, values and behaviors different from those of the dominant Western health care system. In these communities, public health workers play an integral role in helping systems become more culturally appropriate and relevant to the people the systems serve.
Consider the U of I Community Health Education & Promotion degree emphasis with the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.
A masters degree in a relevant academic focus is recommended to have more employment opportunities in this field. Examples include
- Public Health Administration
- Health Policy and Management
- Behavioral, Social, and Community Health
- International Public Health Management
- Environmental Health
- Public Health Education
- Infectious Disease Management and Emergency Preparedness
- Human Genetics
- Join the Pre-Health Professions Program and request to be added to the Pre-Public Health Email List
- Meet with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor each semester to make a professional and academic development plan and review your progress
- Choose a degree major that you enjoy and that provides a good “back-up plan” and career path in case you change your mind about public health; common majors include Exercise Science, Biology, Food and Nutrition, Psychology, Human Development, International Studies, and Environmental Science, but all majors will be considered if a student completes the prerequisite courses and other admissions standards established by individual masters programs
- Carefully check admission requirements for graduate studies programs of most interest and take the required coursework
- Get involved in extracurricular, leadership, and volunteer activities, and obtain reputable certifications
- Develop strong relationships with faculty, public health workers, and others who will be writing letters of reference
- Attend Pre-Health Professions Program workshops and networking events