Career in professional courses: Public Health - We bring you expert insights on Career in Public Health where the health of public is in focus. Read here to know the courses offered and career prospects in Public Health
Programmes Master’s in Public Health (M.PH)
Eligibility Bachelor’s degree in any discipline (preference given to applicants having a graduate/bachelor’s degree in fields like medical, dental, physiotherapy, nursing and paramedical sciences etc.
Top institutions Manipal University, Karnataka; Public Health Foundation of India, Delhi; Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi; BITS Pilani, Rajasthan; Panjab University, Chandigarh, TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai
Job profiles Chief Medical Officer, Biosecurity Specialist, Epidemiologist, Public Health Data Analyst, Political Scientist
Recruiters National and international NGOs, industry-supported foundations, academic/research institutions, hospitals, health insurance companies, allied health organizations
Public health plays a crucial role in a country like India with the second largest population in the world and a rapidly developing economy. Public health is the study of diseases in the broader context of social organizations. It is the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities. Public health professionals protect and improve the health of population as small as a local neighborhood or as big as an entire country through promotions of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention and detection of infectious diseases. Unlike clinical professionals like doctors and nurses who focus primarily on treating individuals after they become sick or injured, public health professionals focus on preventing outbreak of diseases or recurrence of the same through educational programmes, administering services and conducting research.
Public Health education in India
The health of the public depends to large extent on the quality and preparedness of the public health workforce that in turn depends on the relevance and quality of its education and training. “Public health education in India is at a critical juncture with a conscious shift happening from medical schools to public health schools. These schools are offering Master of Public Health (MPH) and other public health courses in order to create multi-disciplinary public health professionals who can assume wider public health responsibilities,” said Prof. Sanjay Zodpey, Director, Indian Institute of Public Health, Delhi (IIPHD).
Master of Public Health
The most widely recognized professional credential for leadership positions in public health is the Master of Public Health degree i.e M.PH. Public health jobs and salaries increase along with the expansion of the healthcare industry and interest of government in disaster-preparedness. “Public health domain includes everything under the sun. This field is all about human health which is affected by everything that surrounds us including climate, social environment or physical environment, the place where we live and the place where we work and hence it is a very vast field that way,” said Dr Prachin Kumar Ghodajkar, Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Dr Prachin Kumar Ghodajkar
Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
This field is all about human health and human health is affected by everything that surrounds us including climate, social environment or physical environment, the place where we live and the place where we work and hence it is a very vast field that way
Prof. Sanjay Zodpey
Director, Indian Institute of Public Health, Delhi
Public health education in India is at a critical juncture with a conscious shift happening from medical schools to public health schools. These schools are offering Master of Public Health (MPH) and other public health courses in order to create multidisciplinary public health professionals who can assume wider public health responsibilities
What do you study?
Master of Public Health is a two-year interdisciplinary field having a range of disciplines. It includes medicine, social sciences, management, engineering and information technology covering subjects like Biostatistics & Computers in Public Health, Management Principles & Practices, Environmental & Occupational Health, Public Health & Diseases, and Communication in Healthcare, Health care Management, Preventive Nutrition & Health Promotion, Epidemic & Disaster Management, Health Economics & Financial Management, and Epidemiology.
Educational institutes can help in adequately training and positioning multidisciplinary, and competent public health professionals at all levels in the Indian public health system. “India is experiencing rapid development in the arena of public health and has achieved great strides in improving public health education over the past few decades. Thus the role of educational institutions is crucial to meet the country’s demand supply gap by producing adequate numbers of trained public health professionals,” says Prof. Zodpey.
Focus areas and eligibility
The focus of M.PH degree is to train a workforce that can work for preventive measures, eradicating threats to public health and hence this programme is targeted at healthcare professionals, hospitals, and academicians. “Public health systems are the first point of contact for most of the rural population. The need for providing quality care in prevention, and health promotion is important and it can be done through improved public health system,” said Dr Sanjay Pattanshetty, Head of Public Health, Manipal University.
Public Health education in India was traditionally started for medical graduates and postgraduates. But modern public health education is now open for graduates from any domain. The basic eligibility criteria for M.PH is graduation in any discipline except some universities like JNU where people having degrees in M.Sc (Nursing) and MBBS are eligible for M.PH. “Public health education was traditionally a medical model in India, being offered in medical colleges through departments of community medicine and was open for medical graduates only. Currently several non-medical institutions offer various courses in different domains of public health which are open for both medical and non-medical graduates,” said Prof. Zodpey
What after M.PH?
“There is a need for highly qualified public health specialist to tackle public health problems. There is a lot of scope for quality public health education is this point of time,” said Dr Pattanshetty. Public health infrastructure and services can only be ramped up by strengthening the public health workforce which can be achieved by strengthening the public health education architecture. Public health workforce comprises public health professionals, doctors, nursing professionals, allied health workers, paramedical workers and experts from basic sciences such as chemistry, psychology, and mathematics.
“The fact that public health is getting attention is a good thing as it is a very important discipline, which was neglected in our country so far. Practitioners of public health are what we need the most right now. Number of disciplines ranging from hospital management, health administration and health economics are in need of public health practitioners,” said Dr Prachin.
If you hold a Master’s in public health, there are countless jobs you can take on. Indeed, the scope of the degree is so varied that career options exist in varied locations as well. So go for M.PH if you want to make a mark for yourself.
Job profiles of Public Health professionals
Chief Medical Officer
Overseeing programmes and staff within healthcare institutions
Communicable Disease Analyst
Educating and advising others on how diseases and illnesses spread
Assistant Environmental Scientist
Environmental hazards and how they will affect public health
Protect the general public from potential biological attacks and dangers
Clinical Infectious Disease Specialist
Work with patients with infectious diseases, stopping it from spreading and identifying the source
Identifying the needs of the community in terms of health and addressing them by lobbying for new programmes and services
Investigating patterns and causes of diseases in the general population
Conducting research and solving issues around infectious diseases
Studying governmental systems both in the country and abroad, while focusing on how decisions affect overall public health
Public Health Data Analyst
Working with the available data on public health and analysing its meanings, thereby enabling others to come up with projects for improvement
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