What is a Master in Public Health Degree?

Master of Public HealthA Master in Public Health degree is one of the most common academic choices for public health officials. Below explains what is a master in public health and why this field is so important for communities across the country.

A Master in Public Health

A Master in Public Health degree is a popular academic choice for students who wish to contribute to public safety and well-being. Almost all master in public health degree programs will cover the fundamental topics, such as global, community and environmental health. Related to this, they will study occupational and environment health science classes. Students will study the relationship between health and collective social behaviors. They will also learn how to collect and evaluate data in order to produce practical recommendations that can increase public health and well-being. Therefore, they must understand how to formulate and change public health policies.

MPH in Epidemiology

A Master’s in Public Health specializing in epidemiology is for students who wish to expand their research and policy making skills and comprehension. In truth, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that most epidemiologists have a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in epidemiology. The goal of these programs is to teach students qualitative epidemiology methods and the associated applications for clinical and population health research. First year classes will include study design, bio-statistics, casual inference and analytic methodology. Second year classes will cover advanced topics, such as prediction rules, meta-analysis, outbreak investigations and chronic and infectious disease epidemiology. The BLS states that most master of public health programs specific to epidemiology require a the completion of a practicum or internship that can take up to one year.

Why Study Epidemiology?

Epidemiologists are one of the most common types of public health professionals who investigate disease patterns and causes. Their job is to reduce negative public health consequences through helpful policies and community education outreach program. They plan public health projects and campaigns designed to raise awareness and reduce health risks. Therefore, they must have excellent organization and project management skills. These projects will mostly involve data collection, analysis and interpretation. Traditionally, epidemiologists collected data through face-to-face interactions, such as interviews and observations. However, now epidemiologists must be tech savvy and collect massive amounts of unstructured data through data mining and data analytic techniques. Once data is properly processed and understand, they must create actionable recommendations for policy-makers and government officials. Many epidemiologists work in federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Other Specializations

Besides epidemiology, students with a Master’s in Public Health may specialize in different areas, such as occupational health. These professionals will most likely be employed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In fact, every state has their own OSHA department that works to protect employees from injuries and diseases. OSHA inspectors are tasked with visiting work sites to ensure compliance with basic health and safety regulations, such as providing employees with protective personal equipment (PPE) and adequate guards and rails. Other public health officials focus on studying how to contain and eliminate chronic or infectious diseases.

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Public health is a proactive discipline that seeks to provide universal health benefits to citizens. Additionally, there are definite social and career benefits to obtaining a master in public health degree.