Can We Deliver Good Health to Everyone? A Public Health or Health Education Degree May Provide Some Answers
Public health careers can be incredibly fulfilling. As a public health professional, you’ll develop programs and policies that can help individuals around the world lead healthier lives. But the field is also incredibly challenging. The World Health Organization and the World Bank issued a report in 2017 stating that half of the globe’s inhabitants do not have access to essential healthcare and that 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household budget on healthcare for themselves and their families, pushing an estimated 100 million into extreme poverty.1
There are several factors that make it difficult to bring healthcare to the underserved, particularly in developing nations. Lack of financial resources, roads, communication, electricity, and trained community health workers pose serious challenges. Still, strides have been made. Immunizations, family planning services, and treatments for HIV and malaria have become more accessible. But there is much work left to be done.
Public health experts say there are several ways to improve the delivery of healthcare services to those in need and perhaps one day reach the goal of healthcare for all. Here are a few:2
- Train more community health workers. These individuals can bring medical care to most far-flung locales. Homegrown workers, as opposed to outsiders, can build local trust and play a critical role in gathering data and overcoming fears associated with vaccination and other programs.
- Use the same healthcare provider for all income levels, rich and poor. This ensures that all get the same quality care.
- Identify the healthcare systems that work best and use those as a model.
- Consider public-private partnerships. In poverty-stricken countries, governments often cannot shoulder even a small share of the burden for healthcare programs.
- Consider a progressive tax system so that the wealthiest can help subsidize care for the poorest.
- Invest in disease prevention.
Public health and health education graduate programs wrestle with a number of these issues and can be instrumental in helping bridge the divide between the haves and have-nots. The starting point for a career in public health or health education is often an undergraduate public health degree program. You can then pursue a master’s in public health or an MS in Health Education and Promotion, both of which can help open doors to a number of job opportunities in areas such as community health, health education, health policy, environmental health, biostatistics, and epidemiology. Salaries in these areas vary greatly depending on the field. For example, the median annual salary for a health educator is $53,940.3 An environmental health scientist could earn $41,580 to $122,510 annually.4
The best MPH and MSHEP programs offer different options for fields of study and program structure. Some students prefer to enroll in full-time, campus-based programs. Others favor a more flexible approach, such as an online master’s degree program. An online program lets you tailor your studies to meet your active lifestyle and allows you to continue working full time.
Walden University, an accredited institution, offers an online Master of Public Health program that provides a solid foundation in key areas of public health, including biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, public health administration, and social and behavioral sciences. The program is global in scope and offers an in-depth look at the challenges you will face as a healthcare professional, from fighting infectious diseases to reducing inequities in the way healthcare is delivered. Walden also offers an MS in Health Education and Promotion degree program that is designed for those who wish to dedicate their career to encouraging good health and preventing illness. Both programs can have an impact on your career, your community, and the world you live in.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering online Master of Public Health (MPH) and MS in Health Education and Promotion degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
4Source: www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm - tab-1
Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission www.hlcommission.org.
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