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Careers in Public Health

By Cami Brown

My interest in Public Health started when I was choosing a potential major at Cal that aligned with my interest in the medical field and helping others. Studying Public Health opened my eyes to preventative medicine and ways to prevent disease and illness through innovative technology, healthcare access, equality, and community health management. I always knew that I wanted to work in the medical field but I never knew about any options other than the typical pre-med or nursing routes. Public Health is a great option for people who want to help others but are not inclined towards the typical route of medicine.

There is a wide range of careers to be explored in Public Health but five main sectors of study: Health Policy, Community Health, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Environmental Health. Many masters programs are also available in each of these fields, (Masters of Public Health) which is typically a good option if you want to further yourself in the field and have more opportunities for employment. 

I am currently involved in the Genentech Mentorship Program which has taught me about drug regulation and clinical trial processes. This experience has been a good tangent to the intersection with biotechnology and Public Health. I’ve learned that biostatistics, which is the application of statistical methods in biological and health studies, is a vital piece in population analysis and drug development. Biostatisticians can design experiments, enforce quality control, and optimize biotechnological processes to aid in the drug making and clinical trial process to help treat diseases all over the world. Biostatistics can also be applied to assure safety, engineer personalized medicine, or even create new health policy by presenting relevant statistical analysis.

Another growing career in Public Health includes health policy consulting. Health policy consultants offer expert advice on insurance policies, advocate for health policy change, and conduct data analysis and research on the impact of different health plans. The health insurance industry continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, which means there is an increasing demand for researchers and experts. Health policy is a great way to promote Public Health and well-being without becoming a physician — you can help people gain access to preventative services and care that can reduce disease and adverse health outcomes. 

Other interesting careers include becoming a health educator teaching students in a school setting, promoting health and wellness in private companies, and increasing awareness of ways to better overall health in the community. There are also many other options in research, such as conducting your own research with a health department or biotechnology firm. In conclusion Pubic Health is a diverse field with countless options for potential healthcare related careers other than the typical pre-med route. I would love to talk with anyone that has more questions about Public Health, career options, or applying to graduate school!

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