10 Facts About Public Health Funding
Public health professionals dedicate their careers to promoting wellness locally and globally. They do this in roles such as epidemiologists, researchers, health educators, nutritionists, and community planners.
Public funds make much of their work possible. And the level of that funding can make all the difference. Time and research show that evidence-based public health programs can help reduce mortality.
If you’re considering earning a public health degree, learning these 10 facts about funding and its impact may spark ideas about how to focus your education and career path.
Increased public health funding can save lives.
According to the American Public Health Association (APHA), every 10% increase in funding for community-based public health programs has the potential to reduce deaths due to largely preventable causes by 1% to 7%. “Chronic conditions—the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems—account for 90% of the nation’s $3.8 trillion in annual healthcare costs,” the APHA reports.1
Investing in public health can also save money.
Spending $10 per person per year in community health programs could save the United States more than $16 billion each year. That’s potentially a $5.60 savings for each $1 invested.2
Public health funding is trending upward.
According to the 2021 America’s Health Rankings report, public health funding in the U.S. increased 33%, from $87 to $116 per person, between 2017–2018 and 2019–2020. That was the biggest year-over-year increase since 2014–2015. A portion of this increase was due to funding for COVID-19.3
States vary in how much they spend on public health.
The American Health Rankings report shows that per-person public health funding for 2019–2020 was highest in the District of Columbia ($874), with Alaska in second place ($449). The lowest per-person expenditures were in Nevada and Wisconsin, each with $72 spent per person.3
The U.S. funds public health initiatives worldwide.
The U.S. government is the world’s largest funder of global health initiatives, a Kaiser Family Foundation report says. Funds are used in many different ways, including preventing the spread of diseases like HIV and tuberculosis and safeguarding population health through programs that include promoting maternal and child health.4
America’s uniformed services include public health responders.
Federal funding supports the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, one of the eight uniformed services of the United States. Its mission? To “protect, promote, and advance the health and safety of the nation.” The corps’ over 6,000 officers work in 800 locations scattered across the United States and the world.5
The U.S. and other member countries support WHO efforts to impact global health.
Member countries fund the work of the World Health Organization (WHO), a United Nations agency founded in 1948 to advance public health. Since its founding, the average global life expectancy has increased 25 years. “Even though many factors have shaped these major improvements in global health … WHO has been pivotal in catalyzing and securing these health outcomes,” the organization says.6
Funding is mandated for U.S. public health programs.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 created the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), the first mandatory funding source for the U.S. public health system. According to the law, PPHF funds must be invested in prevention and public health programs with dual goals of improving health and slowing the rise in private and public healthcare costs.7
Spending money on public health has led to successful disease prevention.
Funds supporting prevention and health promotion are well invested. In a 2019 report, The Commonwealth Fund said the U.S. “outperforms peer nations in terms of preventive measures.” The organization cited as examples the high number of adults who receive flu vaccines and women who have breast cancer screenings.8
Public health funding is used in many ways.
How is money invested in public health spent? Just about any way and anywhere there’s an opportunity to improve population health. The APHA says: “Public health works to track disease outbreaks, prevent injuries, and shed light on why some of us are more likely to suffer from poor health than others. … Public health saves money, improves our quality of life, helps children thrive, and reduces human suffering.”9
Become a Community Health Champion
Earning a bachelor’s in public health can help prepare you for a life-changing role in improving and enhancing community health.
Walden University, a leader in distance learning for over 50 years, offers an online BS in Public Health program that makes it possible to earn a degree while continuing to work and enjoy family life. In Walden’s online bachelor’s in public health program, you can choose the General Program or one of three optional specializations: Healthcare Management, Health Promotion and Wellness, and Health Psychology and Behavior.
Walden offers other public health degree programs, too. Its online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Accreditation is important when choosing an MPH program because it ensures that it meets specified criteria and standards for quality.
As a graduate of a public health degree program, you may find your career passion as a researcher, health educator, or occupational health and safety professional, or in another of the many public health career fields. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for health education specialists and community health workers is projected to grow by 17% from 2020 to 2030—much faster than average for all occupations.10
With the education, skills, and tools you acquire in your bachelor’s or master’s public health program, you’ll be prepared to use your vision and voice to improve community health and promote positive social change.
Walden University is an HLC-accredited institution offering online BS in Public Health and Master of Public Health (MPH) degree programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Note on Certification
The BS in Public Health program with the Health Promotion and Wellness concentration has been designed to reflect the Seven Areas of Responsibility for Health Education Specialists outlined by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC) to prepare students to sit for the national Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam. Walden enrollment specialists can provide information relating to national certification exams; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to national certification exams for the state in which he or she intends to practice. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain national certification. For more information about the CHES exam, students should visit www.nchec.org.
Note on Accreditation
The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) Board of Councilors acted at its September 6, 2019, meeting to accredit the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program at Walden University for a five-year term, based on an application for accreditation submitted on February 3, 2018. On June 5, 2020, the CEPH Board of Councilors accredited the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) at Walden University, after reviewing an accreditation application submitted on April 21, 2020. CEPH is an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and programs of public health. CEPH accreditation provides assurance that the program has been evaluated and met accepted public health profession standards in practice, research, and service. For a copy of the final self-study document and/or final accreditation report, please contact the dean of the College of Health Sciences and Public Policy ([email protected]).
Note on Certification
The National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) offers the Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential as a voluntary core credential for public health professionals. As the eligibility criteria may change periodically, students should visit https://www.nbphe.org/eligibility for more information about certification in public health. It is the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to national certification. Walden makes no representations or guarantees that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain national certification or practice as a public health professional in the state where they intend to practice.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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