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Public Health Perspectives
PHENOM mentors share their expertise, experiences and insight into Public Health Careers!

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Date Published Author Topic
August 23, 2022 Laura Blum, MPH Change a Life, Be A Mentor: My Mentorship Experience
October 7, 2022 Staci Kershner, JD The Role of Law in Public Health
October 21, 2022 Teresa Huang, MPH, MCHES®, RPCV Peace Corps for Public Health - Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How?
November 4, 2022 Brandy Benedict, DNP, MN, RN What is Public Health Nursing?
November 18, 2022 Nola Goodrich-Kresse, BS, MS, MCHES® Are There Benefits to Having Interns?
December 2, 2022 CDR Molly Rutledge Have you ever thought of working for the U.S. Public Health Service?

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Table of Contents
(Click on title to get answers to specific topic)

Academic Issues Accreditation/Certification Career Options Continuing Education/Specialized Training
Internships Job Hunting Strategies Public Health Careers Public Health Issues
Public Health Skills Scholarships Work Experience Not Yet

Academic Issues


Career Options

Continuing Education & Specialized Training

  • (1/2014) I'm looking for some input or resources/certifications for Diabetes. I'm hoping to sit for my MCHES within the next year and then eventually the CDE exam. Does anyone know of any great continuing education options or online classes that are reasonably priced for a recent graduate? (S.S., Massachusetts, via LinkedIn)

    What is your undergraduate background? It would be helpful to have a nutrition or nursing background. As a CDE, you will most likely be working with people with diabetes, many of which may have multiple chronic diseases. The content area for diabetes management is quite extensive. Here is some information that may be helpful regarding the requirements for sitting for the CDE exam ( If you are interested in just keeping up, then check my Public Health Continuing Education page . For diabetes resources, see:

  • (9/2013) I am wondering aloud if MPH graduates should take some trainings in Project management? Somebody help! [C.I, Bermuda, via LinkedIn]

    Well, if an MPH program emphasizes health education, it would cover project management as part of its curriculum. Those who eventually sit for the exam to become a certified health education specialist should possess such a competency. NCHEC Competencies (Betty)

  • (8/2013) Two FREE Category I CHES/MCHES Credits for Online Suicide Prevention Data Training [L.R., PA via LinkedIn Official CHES/MCHES Group]

    Thanks, Leah. Okay, I have the webpage from your site listing the course descriptions listed at: Public Health Continuing Education Opportunities, under "Sites with multiple courses." Thanks for offering these courses on such an important topic!

  • (9/2012) I'm a Public Health Specialist currently promoting Reproductive health in the Armed forces, where I work but I want to venture into Healthcare Administration / Informatics. What course do you suggest I take to get expertise in this area? [R.M.; Uganda]

    Since I don't know what your academic training is, I can't really address that. However, generally speaking, if you are interested in health care administration/informatics it would be useful to have hands-on experience with health care delivery. If you have that it will be easier to understand the process enough to develop and improve electronic medical records. Electronic medical records are meant to capture the process of care enough to identify areas that may be in need of improvement to streamline the process.

  • (7/18/2012) "Does anyone know if there is a list of Designated CECH Providers?" (Ashley Roberts, posted on LinkedIn's MCHES/CHES group)

    Check NCHEC Web site. Meanwhile you can check my Webpage for continuing ed opportunities. I have compiled all the agencies and organizations that are providing free CHES activities! Some offer up to 5 CECHs. (Betty)

    Ashley Roberts The NCHEC web site does provide very good definitions and examples but the search feature for actual activities is not very helpful. On the other hand, your website is exactly the type of information I expected to find on the NCHEC web site. Moreover it was much easier to navigate - this is the first time since becoming certified that I feel confident and informed on how to actually start on earning some hours with out paying for everything! Thank you so much!

  • (6/13/2012) "Is it possible or easy to find FREE pre-approved continuing education credits for CHES?" (Blanche Collins CDC Train, posted on LinkedIn's MCHES/CHES group)

    Thanks, Blanche. Appreciate the listing. I have updated my Public Health Continuing Education Opportunities Page and will continue to do so as I become aware of free CHES offerings. MCHES is still a very new certification but I am sure the CDC and schools of public health with training centers will begin to offer free courses for MCHES CECH credits in the foreseeable future. (Betty)

  • (9/2011) I would like to take a class on TB--prefer on-line but would also consider instructor led in-class [Hartford, Connecticut]

    CDC has an online course I think I did see some curriculum materials on their website. (Lysa Rodriguez)

    I checked with our state TB person who suggested checking the CDC website under TB to see if they have on line or other courses. Good luck! (Barbara Pickett)

    Here's some resources:
    Both have links to other resources. (Danielle Orcutt)

    Check this out: TB Continuing Ed (Betty)

  • (7/2009) I am a mid-career changer interested in Field Epidemiology. A reputable college offers a post-BA certificate in this area. Is it too narrow a focus for employers?? [Maryland]

    In this tough economy, an educational certificate from a reputable educational institution may be a good career move. This is especially true if these certificates offer college credits that will be accepted in a graduate degree program, should you decide to continue with your education. Having a graduate degree in Public Health is a real career booster since graduate-level education is required for many Public Health settings.

    It's not too narrow a focus for employers who are interested in hiring people with the specific skill sets they are looking for. My suggestion is to contact the college offering this certificate and ask them who is employing people with this certificate. Also, talking to some people who have gone through the certificate program to see what they have done with the certificate may also be useful. (Betty)

  • (5/2009) I graduated in August 2008 with a B.S in Public Health. I haven't been able to find any work and I feel like my value is decreasing because I haven't been able to gain experience. Does anyone have any suggestions? [Connecticut]

    In the current situation getting position with a BS (PH) is a bit difficult. Employers are looking for more PH informatics people, since huge reformation of health systems. I think if you could be able to study any computer/health informatics course (gain skill how to develop databases or systems etc) would provide a comfortable job. Don't waste your time for searching JOBS.
    Good luck


  • (8/2014) The Thing Employers Look For When Hiring Recent Graduates [M.N.W. [GA] via LinkedIn Public Health Professionals]

    Thanks for raising this issue. I believe the original source of the graphics, etc in the article you cited are from The Role of Higher Education in Career Development: Employer Perceptions (December, 2012). For those interested in reading the entire report can go to:

    I have actually done some extensive analyses of the findings in my 2013 Public Health Blog , between August 9 and September 6.

    And, I have shared the report's summary findings with my students every semester and encourage them to complete an internship while they are in college. decided to survey employers to find what they are looking for in college graduates, and Chronicle's report is based on the survey responses of participating employers. Practically speaking, many college students work out of necessity to pay their bills, but an internship in their major really adds weight.

    Furthermore, employers are more apt to hire someone who is already working, and will take a chance on a college grad that some other employer has already taken a chance on. They also like graduates who have worked while in college because they know these are the ones who know how to manage their time.

    Also, everyone should be aware that exit exams that test critical thinking skills are coming to many colleges because employers are no longer interested in just possessing a college degree. When all applicants have one, then how do employers decide which one to choose?

    Here is an article about the Collegiate Learning Assessment:

    All in all, it never hurts to do well while you are in school, get the best grades possible and develop a strong work ethic. Conscientiousness is always a good characteristic to cultivate! You don't want some potential employer to ask you about the C you got with a question like,"Did you work hard for this? (Betty)

  • (8/2013) MPH student in need of a Fall Practicum. If any of you have leads on internships in the field of Public Health int he Greater Washington, DC area - please advise! [M.O., VA via LinkedIn Health Educationa and Promotion Group]

    You can subscribe to my Public Health Jobs E-list, which lists available internship opportunities. I usually send out 2 mailings a day, but it depends on what I get to forward. It's free and the subscribe box is near the bottom of the Jobs Index page.

  • (9/2009) I am looking for any summer 2009 Intern opportunities in Public Health/ infection control/Epidemiology. I am a BSN student at the University of San Francisco, and I am interested in pursuing a MPH. [California]

    Internship opportunities are usually available through an academic program in which you would obtain college credit. You can probably do an internship once you are in a graduate program. The only other option I can think of, if you just want to get exposure, is to look for volunteer opportunities at local hospitals or community programs or health department. (Betty)

  • (7/2008) Where can I find out about internship opportunities? [Dr. P, India]

    Subscribe to my Public Health Jobs E-list for the most current internship opportunities available. Sign up on the Home Page

Job Hunting Strategies

  • (8/2013) Can anyone tell me about jobs of public health? [R.C,, Bangladesh, via LinkedIn APHA]

    Here's a brief fact sheet about public health jobs in the US.

    If you are interested in exploring the public health field, you can talk to any volunteer mentor who is part of PHENOM (Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors), which is an online mentoring program comprising of 61 public health professionals working in a variety of settings. Mentors come from 17 states and 4 countries! Or, you can send in a question and any responses to the your question will be posted on the PHENOM Blog.

  • (8/2013) Does anyone have any suggestions about companies that hire entry level full time health educators? I would love to hear how others got their start in the field since I've been searching for so long. [Jenny R. LA via LinkedIn Official CHES/MCHES Group]

    May I suggest you contact professionals who are volunteer mentors of the Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors (PHENOM)? Many are CHES. All would be willing to speak further with you about how they got their start in what they are doing now.
    You may want to look at the sorted listings to get an overview of who the mentors are:
    Or you can just post a question on the form provided. (Betty)

  • (4/2013) I am looking to find a recruiter. I have been through job postings in the past and they have not been helpful. I have networked with people, tried LinkedIn too. I have been doing this- including submitting resumes online, but have not gotten far enough. If you can't help, then I understand. It is hard. I am not sure why I can't find a recruiter. It seems like other fields do have one. [TX]

    I believe that non-profits don't usually use recruiters to look for people to hire. Their budgets are usually pretty tight and people they hire are usually people they already know from somewhere, or someone interning or volunteering at their organizations.

    My suggestion is that you look at volunteering at a non-profit that you are interested in working at. This way you can learn more about the organization and when a paid position becomes available, you will be there with a proven track record! Furthermore, while you are there you will get a chance to meet others working on collaborative projects, and this is another way to network.

    I checked your profile on LinkedIn. Nice profile. Based on what I saw, I think your experience and background is more suitable in the legal field, possibly paralegal??? I think maybe you may have more success looking at advocacy and child welfare organizations, in which case you may want to look into governmental social services and child welfare agencies. Another venue, school health (e.g., community health centers, school health programs). Just a thought. (Betty)

  • (9/17/2012) I am a healthcare professional, graduated with MPH but having a difficult time in getting a job. Just don't know how will I get a job? Need advise, please. [R.R., Detroit, MI]

    Hi! First, because it is the most obvious from what little info I have to work with, is to check and make sure your spelling/grammar is correct: "advise" is the spelling for the verb, your usage required a noun which is "advice". Mistakes like this can make the viewer prejudiced against the rest of your application thinking you are either sloppy or not educated enough to spell. Just as it can spin your efforts away, the company would not want to be represented in a way that shows this either.

    On the issue of hiring, I don't know your details but would offer a couple (2 cents worth?!), of suggestions. First, highlight most of all your passion for the work that led you to get the education you needed to do what you love. Try to give some insight to this perhaps in how you meld your career objective with the particular job you are applying for. Make that a glowing fit so that they can picture you blossoming into the job!

    Second, I would recommend that you bring an expanded portfolio to any interview you get. Mine is in a three ring binder with my resume yes, but any other work you have done that you are proud about. Mine includes any publications including letters to the editor that I sent, articles that I have written or that have been written about me, photographs of my work in action, awards, volunteer activities and recognitions, and any other pieces that you think might set you apart from the crowd of other applicants in positive ways. With a binder you can always change the mix to perhaps match best with your prospective employer to show how you might add life and exuberance to their team if they hired you. Attract them with the "honey" of the qualities you have that you live and love, and are appreciated for the most! This can be a pep rally for your continued development in your goals, and give your potential employer the chance to feel like they would help you rise to your potential and how that would feel good for all involved. Show any letters of support, thanks, reference letters, etc. I hope this helps and wish you every success with your future. Remember why you chose public health to empower your love for the values of working for the public and their health. In love and health, Eric Triffin, MPH The TranscenDancer

    I think Eric pretty much said all. The economy is really bad so jobs are hard to come. I would suggest being a bit more creative about job titles. It may be worthwhile to spend some time researching job postings just so see what's out there. Also, look at the education and skills employers are asking for. If you have more than 3/4s of what they ask for, then apply and see what happens. Subscribe to my Public Health Jobs E-list (free), which can offer some ideas of what is out there. Job Index (Betty)

  • (9/2012) Have a PhD in Epidemiology with minor in infectious diseases, having difficulty finding jobs, perhaps I don't know what other areas I could work and use my expertise [OS, Columbus, OH]

    With your degree, I'd suggest looking into pharmaceutical companies. They are a great setting for practicing epidemiology. (Jonida Gjika)

    No one is immune in this current economy, even those who have what I would consider stellar public health knowledge and skills!! Since I don't know what kind of work experiences you already have, and what you really like to do, it's hard to provide specifics. But generally speaking, a doctoral education with a scientific-based concentration would allow you teach in any academic institution with a public health program. You can work for research-based organizations and government agencies that compile health statistics. If statistics is your strong suit, you can do consulting for non-profits that need to make a case for their causes by monitoring population statistics. As Jonida mentioned above, pharmaceutical companies are always looking for those with PhDs to provide statistical support in clinical trials.

    If you like health policy, those interested in advocating need someone who can develop an epidemiologic picture of the public health or policy issue in need of a solution. With an infectious disease background, you should check into what the CDC is doing. There is the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), which is a 2-year postgraduate program of service and training in applied epidemiology. Finally, there are several PHENOM mentors with doctoral degrees that you can contact about their career paths. See the newly released PHENOM Listings that has a sorted list by job title and academic preparation. And, you can always subscribe (near the bottom of this page) to my Public Health Jobs E-list, which goes out almost every day with listings for jobs from academia, non-profit organizations, etc. It's free! (Betty)

  • (9/2012) How do I attract non-profit clients for my grant writing business? [TW, Akron, OH]

    Seems that they need to prepare a portfolio of grant applied and obtained; attend meetings of continuum of care - United Way, etc..; identify those agencies she would want to work for and tell them to either hire her IF the grant is obtained to manage it OR get a fee or retainer before hand. Seems that a lot of people would want this service. (Scott Leroy)

    One of my fave recommendations (of course it happens to be on the site) because it works...Never underestimate the power of social media specifically Linkedin in this case...Don't be afraid to send quick notes to anyone asking for tips like you are on PHENOM. You will be surprised. Good luck and please let us know how you are doing. Take care! (Dr. Judith Mairs-Levy)

  • (9/2012) I am a pediatric nurse and will complete my Master of Public Health this December. I am hoping to pursue a job in health writing. Do you have any advice for where to search for jobs? Thank you! [CM, Milwaukee, WI]

    Congratulations on your pending graduation! Writing is a tough field to crack. One of the more important things about this area is potential employers would like to see samples of your writing. So, start compiling a portfolio of whatever writing you have done. Also, the more varied, the better. Samples could include brochures, health education materials, newsletters, white papers, etc. If you have published anything, bring copies of published work. That's always impressive.

    While you are still in school I would recommend you find an internship in the area of writing. This is just so you can explore what that would entail. Plus, you can then put this down as job experience on your resume. It might even lead to a potential job. One never knows. If you have a hard time in the current academic department finding an internship, then I suggest you check out the journalism department in your school. Also, you many consider writing some articles for your school paper.

    Because of your nursing background, you may consider checking out public relations departments for health care and non-profit organizations. If you decide to freelance, you can get people to know more about your writing by developing an online presence. Start a blog about what you care about the most. This can be a sample of your writing. Finally, you can sign up for my free Public Health Jobs E-list on the Job Index Page. Hope this helps, Betty

  • (4/10/2012) Can anyone suggest few Job Titles for an MPH graduate? (LinkedIn posted APHA group)

    The economy is very tough right now. The best bet is to be creative about job titles. You will find very few positions out there that would specifically call for a "health educator." So, think about the skill sets you have acquired and developed while you were in graduate school. If you enjoyed the science side, then seek out research assistant and environmental consulting positions to start. If you enjoyed programming, then look for program assistant positions to get your feet wet in the field. If you have a health background, look for in-service coordinator type positions. If you liked writing, look for grant coordinator positions. Nonprofits are great for people with community health education backgrounds. In those areas, look for marketing and outreach positions. If you are interested in working for government, then check out what each state requires for you to be considered. Most of the time you have to take some exam to be put on a list to be considered. Take exams in areas you meet the minimum qualifications. Usually an MPH is adequate to meet the minimum requirement to take these exams. In any of all these types of positions you will have a chance to do some health education in one form or another. Public Health is all about education, usually outside of a classroom setting. Read the job descriptions, and if you can do 75% of what they ask for, apply! Hope this helps. (Betty)

  • (4/2011) I coming to the end of a health policy internship with the Speaker of the CT House of Representatives. What sector would be best for entry level health policy jobs now that I have some experience? [D, Connecticut]

    Congratulations for doing an internship! This work experience should prove helpful in showing a potential employer that you are employable because someone already took a chance on you! During these hard times you should expand your search beyond the usual political arenas. Any nonprofit organization could be a potential employer, especially if such an organization is involved with health advocacy. Most of those involved with health or public health issues usually are. Because you have had some exposure to how the legislature works, you can talk up your experiences, especially with how any potential bill hopes to get through both houses. Research-oriented non-profit organizations would be interested in hiring someone with your experience, but be prepared to do a lot of writing. So, make sure your research and writing skills are beyond reproach. Good luck, Betty

  • (9/2009) I recently graduated from SCSU's MPH program and I am currently looking for a job in Community Health Education. Do any of you have suggestions for organizations to look at? (Connecticut)

    Right now health departments have money to implement an H1N1 programs so I would hop on that topic and offer your skills there. Also, monies are still there for P. H. Emergency Preparation so a resume geared there might help. Social networking is a new arena for many of us to learn to use so you might do well with skills connected to a public health agenda there. I would like to see effort in addressing health through smoke cessation and diet and inactivity. I think we need to see innovative new ways to reach the hard to reach and therefore some new methods or pilot/demonstration sites and programs could be more likely to get funded. You need to be a self-starter and ready to write a grant or two to help you gain the funds. Perhaps going both to the school grant writer and the Health Department person usually the director, and suggesting you would like to join them in writing some grants that could fund your position and whether they would support your work. What projects do they consider more ikely? I picture short videos possiby YouTube, one on one counseling and maybe setting up mentoring between students and health heroes/mentors/ ambassadors. In health, Eric Triffin

  • (12/2008) I graduated from SCSU with a B.S in Public Health in August 2008. I am having trouble finding public health jobs What are some good networking tools I could use to get my name and resume out there? [D.A., Connecticut]

    Unfortunately, the market right now is awful for everyone. Attending public health meetings, or any professional meetings in your area of interest is a good way to network. I've heard that APHA is the best conference to go to for networking and for posting your resume.

    You can post your resume on employer Web sites, if they are recruiting online. You can post your resume on a number of general job sites like, You can subscribe to my Public Health Jobs E-list for free, which includes jobs in a variety of setting, at Most of the jobs included have links that you can click on for more information and/or applying online. You can also use the Jobs search engine on my Web site for available jobs, which is available on all the jobs-related Webpages. Start at: (Betty)

  • (7/2008) I am a interested in looking for public health jobs in the Danbury area what would be the best way to go about searching? [D.A., Connecticut]

    Contact the Danbury Health Department to discuss with them? See if there are any jobs listed on the DAS website in that area. (Barbara Pickett)

    Some generic suggestions: look in the blue pages for city agencies like the Health Department but depending on your training and interests you may find possibilities in the Board of Ed., DEP, Inlands/wetlands, Social Services, Human Resources, Senior Centers, Parks and Recreation, etcetera. But then ask whether there is any directory of social service agencies in the area (often put together by a group like Youth and Family Services, or the Community Health Center). The idea also is to call each place, or even go to as many as possible for a direct contact and a reading for yourself of what that agency is like. It also would be an interesting introduction for you to get a pulse on the city's health assets...and ask everywhere you go for any leads or ideas for you to follow next.

    People usually want to help you, especially if they feel bad that they have no jobs to offer you, they often feel better by trying to send you elsewhere! The other idea is to seek to develop the help and networking to fund your ideal job...then write the grants to make it happen...this would take being a self starter, and ability to promote yourself. Look for help from local grant writers for the City, the Health Department, Board of Education or local colleges/universities.., and any local employment asking Betty! Good luck helps, too! And I think showing up, making yourself known as you survey the possibilities...make up a stand out business card to leave everyone with a way to contact you if they think or hear of anything later. (Yours in health --- Eric Triffin, MPH)

  • (7/2008) I am interested in beginning to look for jobs in Boston, MA, but publichealthjobs. com has no postings, any other resource suggestions? [H.M., Massachusetts]

    Try these sites

    (Sheree Boulet)

    Here is a link for public health opportunities posted by Emory (Rollins School of Public Health) . (Jeannine Capria)

    Check my Job Index Page for links to job search Webpages on this Web site. You can also sign up for the Public Health Jobs E-list that now goes out daily. I also just posted a new job search engine you can use to find what's available anywhere. You can find this on any of the job search pages, but I have made it available here as well. All you do is type in a job title in the "what" box, and a geographic location in the "where" box. Generally, a broader term works best, like program, data, epidemiologist, service, etc. For location, type in a state instead of a specific town or city. (Betty)

    Has the person checked out . This is the federal hiring site and there are so awesome Public Health jobs listed there (especially in the field of Env. Health). Hope this helps! Take Care! (Brian Wnek, MPH, RS)

Public Health Careers

Professional Competency Framework

Competency framework
Graphic source:

  • 6/2015 Thank you for your response! Well as of now I am thinking about career fields of Epidemiologist (Infectious Disease or Chronic Disease) and Nurse Practitioner. The reason why I wanted to take the route of Infection Control Nurse is based off of the experience I received while rotating with an Infection Control Coordinator at one of the local hospitals out here. She was an Infection Control Nurse (CIC Certification) with a BSN. During my time rotating with her she usually was not on the frontlines of patient care. She identified any infections that may have possibly resulted from a patient's health care during the patient's stay such as C.Diff, studied patients cultures, and instructed staff on breaking the cycle of infection during meetings. I felt that the experience that I will gain over the years as an Infection Control Nurse could translate to the field of Epidemiology. What do you think? Thank you! (JXM, LA)

    If you enjoy epidemiology, then being an Infection Control Nurse is the best way to meld nursing with the public health science of epidemiology in the U.S. However, you may be able to get front line nursing epidemiology work experience if you were to work in global health. Being a nurse would be advantageous for you should you decide to work in public health programs addressing infectious disease epidemics in countries outside of the U.S.

    You should check into becoming certified in infection control. Check Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (CBIC) for what education and work experience you need to sit for the exam.

    You can check the CDC's training programs for those with a college degree who are interested in working in public health. You should be able to apply your nursing expertise and epidemiology interest into gaining some public health experience. Check out Career Training Fellowships The Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) maybe something you may want to look into. Hope this helps. (Betty)

  • (5/2015) Thank you so much I appreciate you taking the time to help me. Just to give you some background information about myself. I am going into a MPH program this coming fall after taking a year off from undergrad. During this year I worked (various jobs) and volunteered for different non-profit organizations. I decided I wanted to go into to public health because I really want to help address the factors that keep people from leading healthy lives. I have my heart set on attending Washington University in St.Louis however, it is a very expensive school and I am worried about having to take out loans. My other choice is the University of Arizona.

    Do you know if Arizona or Missouri would be a better state to find public health work in after graduating? I also have not pinned down exactly what area of public health I want to go into-I am thinking global health. As someone who works in the field do you have any suggestions for what aspect of Public Health is the best to get involved with in terms of being able to find a job and being financially secure? I hope I have not bombarded you with too many questions. I have looked into some of these questions online but I was hoping to get the perspective of someone who currently works in the public health field. Any input to any of these questions would be much appreciated. Again thank you so much for taking time to help me. (N.L-K. AZ)

    You have some GREAT questions.
    I live in Maryland. So, I am unaware of which state for you would be better for Public Health opportunities. What I can say is that Public Health tends to work in smaller communities than states. By that I mean, if you are not working on a national initiative, you are working on a local issue. So instead of focusing in on the state, I'd suggest you exploring the work setting you want to have.

    You stated you have an interest in global health. So ultimately do you see yourself in a government type of position? Or a condition that effects global health? Epidemiology based work? Environmental based work? Public Health is such a broad topic that you can affect change in so many different areas. I have found it better to be more specific in which area you would like to impact. Public Health is not an area where in which you come into and are instantly in a very well paying job (depending on your view of what's well paying). However, because there are so many areas impacted by public health, job opportunities are far and wide. Stability will be based on the area you live, what you choose to specialize in, what work setting you choose, etc. For example, recently, my family has been exploring a move to North Carolina. I was offered a job working for a Health Department as a program Director in Community Health. However, because that particular area of North Carolina was more rural, so cost of living is low, the salary offered to me was at least $25K lower than any job in Maryland. My very first job out of school was working on a Community Health Program at a hospital in Washington, DC. I hated the job because I worked solely in the Emergency Department. The program did not allow me to work in the community, which is what I wanted to do. But, since it was a hospital, money was good. Now, I work for a small non-profit where I have a blend of happiness in my pay and duties. I say all of this to say, stability is dependent on what makes you happy. Reading all of my responses, I realize I haven't given you any direct answers. That is because there really isn't a direct answer to your question. Once you really dive into public health (and you may have done this already) you will get a feel for what it is you like, and what kind of impact you want to make. Those are the guiding factors for deciding how you will ultimately map out your career. And don't be afraid to start down one path and end up somewhere else. The beauty of public health is that it is so broad, you can move around within it and still be inside of your field. The best thing you can do is to keep volunteering or doing internships to really find out what makes you happy. I hope this helps some. (Ebony Jackson)

    Today's economy is not very friendly to those thinking of working in Public Health. That's because Public Health is mostly funded by government and non-profit entities, or what is commonly called "soft money," which means it not a sure thing. As Public Health priorities change, so will funding sources. So, you basically have to be flexible about what you will be doing.

    I can't really tell you if one state is better to work in than another state. However, you can get a feel for what is available, especially if you are thinking of working for a state or local government. You can research this by look at state human resources Web sites that will post what is available. In most cases you will probably need to take an exam so you can be placed on a list from which agencies will hire from.

    As for global health, you are in luck. Just within the past 12 months, countries have had to deal with infectious disease epidemics, like Ebola and MERS. Of course, this would require you to be willing to expose yourself to life-threatening diseases and situations. You may want to explore what countries you may want to work in and then look at the resources those countries have for public health services.

    Unfortunately, many countries do not have the necessary resources to address public health epidemics effectively. This is where non-profit groups can contribute to the solution. You may want to look at international non-profit groups, usually concentrating on some particular area (e.g., maternal-child health issues, AIDS, TB, etc.) You may want to contact them and see what they have available and what kind of skills they are looking for. That way you can make sure you get those skills while you are in graduate school, whether through coursework or a field experience. I would definitely recommend you do an internship in your area of interest while you are in school. Doing an internship will provide you with some requisite skills and experience that will help you find a job. (Betty C. Jung)

  • (2/2014) I am a graduate student ( Bachelor of Science completed 2012) and I am interested in the public health field, however I'd love to know about job opportunities in Southern Africa or Africa as a whole? I am currently working as a research assistant in a virology lab, but want to be hands on, while still be involved in research but also be in touch with the community. I want to know more about the different disciplines of public health to make a decision what really interests me the most. (K.K., South Africa)

    Public health practice is so broad that you can work in the field in a variety of capacities. As a graduate student you should take advantage of your student status and think of completing an internship with a potential employer. The academic institution you are studying at and your graduate advisor should be able to help you with providing ideas for placement as they may already be collaborating with agencies and organizations involved with providing public health or social services.

    While social services and public health services are viewed as separate areas of practice, they may overlap because it is more cost-effective to collaborate, given the limited budgets that many governmental entities have for providing public health and social services. While nonprofit organizations may help out in providing social services, most of what are public health services fall under the purview of government agencies. And, many times, public health gets shortchanged when it comes to getting money to do what must be done for the health of the Public. So, do look at social services for potential areas of practice.

    On a more global scale, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an initiative with your country's public agencies to address AIDS/HIV. Check out CDC in South Africa. You may be able integrate your current lab experience in some way since the monitoring of treatment and disease surveillance are dependent upon good laboratory services. There are many opportunities for research in AIDS/HIV since researchers and health care providers are always looking for better treatment regimens.

    You may also want to contact Public Health Association of South Africa. They seem to be very active in helping academic institutions interface with provincial health departments.

    So, there are many possibilities, you just need to be little creative in looking for potential opportunities to learn new things and enrich your areas of expertise. You may want to check out my Public Health Practice Page which provides resources in the various areas of public health practice. Best wishes for a great career! (Betty)

  • (7/2013) Also, looking to connect with existing health educators to learn more about what you do! When I majored in PH I was interested in program planning but discovered that my passion is in Health Ed. Thank you so much!!!! [N.G., Ohio via LinkedIn Official NCHEC]

    Check out PHENOM - Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors. All volunteers, most are public health professionals, some work in health education-related jobs, many are CHES or MCHES. Any of us would be willing to talk to you about what we do.

  • (5/2013) What title can be given to someone who has MPH,MSC in public health. As using the title "a health professional " does not satisfy the audience [Raya Sayyed, Lebanon/LinkedIn]

    Many times a "job title" is defined by the job you are performing for an employer. Or, what you were hired to do. Sometimes those job titles can be pretty generic. Like Registered Nurse. You may be able to use a more descriptive title that is defined by the roles you play. Such a job title would be a functional job title so that others would immediately know what you do, e.g., Dialysis Nurse. If you are certified in a particular area of expertise, you can refer to yourself as "certified diabetes educator." If you are free-lancing you can be a bit more creative about how you would like to refer to yourself. In this instance you would have to come up with a descriptive job title that identify the strengths and skills you have to offer to a potential employer. It shouldn't be so eclectic that people don't know what the job means. For example, if you have expertise in evaluation, then you can refer to yourself as a public health program evaluator or health systems program evaluator. These job titles would be descriptive enough to entice an employer to look at what you have to offer. "Health professional" is just too generic/broad. It could mean doctor, nurse, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, lab technician, imaging technician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, rehab therapist. hope this helps. (Betty)

  • (4/2013) How can I pursue a career in public health having graduated 6 years ago and did not practice? [Kenya]

    Well, in your follow-up E-mail you mentioned that while you have not been working for pay because you were busy raising 2 children, you have been very active volunteering for organizations involved with women's health issues. You mentioned that you would like to become a public health advisor and your interests lie in program monitoring and evaluation. This is helpful information to share.

    During these hard economic times, we just have to be a bit creative about marketing ourselves. That means being proactive about letting others know about what we can do. There are many social networks out there that you can start to develop a professional presence on. My recommendation is to start with LinkedIn. In an interesting report I just recently read The Role of Higher Education in Career Development: Employer Perceptions December, 2012, I am learning a lot about the value of not only one's academic preparation, but whatever work experience one has gained along the way.

    An interesting finding is employers are more willing to hire those who have done an internship and/or were employed while they were in school (Slide 24). Employers are looking for those with a work ethic that shows good time management skills, conscientiousness and the ability to multi-task. These are the characteristics of a potential candidate they would consider.

    Another interesting finding was more than half of employers evaluated job candidates online (Slide 72). And, the way they do this is by checking LinkedIn and doing Internet searches (Slide 74). This means that one should be very careful about what gets posted online. You don't want the lose out on a job opportunity because a potential employer found some photos of you in some compromising situation, which is happening a lot these days, just because practically everyone has a cellphone that can instantly take and post photos on the fly.

    Finally, because work experiences have become the "coin of the realm," it no longer matters if you have gained this experience from a paid or non-paying job. If you have gained valuable skills from your volunteer activities, and if those are the skills a potential employer is looking for, then you become that much more attractive to them. Yes, skills-building is a life-long avocation! (Betty)

  • (9/2012) I got admission for Masters in Public health in Edith cowin university , Australia. University MPH classes starts on 2013 Feb. I am in need of a mentor, who can give guidance, advice, in every dimension which enhance my career growth.
    I done my BSc in nursing. Having more than 2 years of experience in hospitals sector, now working in a small firm which is related to health of students. In the current scenario, the world is facing numerous health issues due to industrialization, globalization, life style and so on.....In search of better job prospect I came to know the importance of MPH, and world is in need of public health professionals who is interested in preventive sector and promotion of better health with improved quality of care by superior administrative stance. MPH a meaningful career will provide me and open the door which gives a better possibility to work in Govt and Non Govt agencies, nationally as well as internationally. My aim is to work with any of international agency like WHO. [R.P., India]

    Thanks for the background. I think your nursing background will be most beneficial when you do eventually complete your MPH. You will be able to find opportunities in the public health and health care sector. You may want to contact the school you have been accepted to and ask if they have alumni of the program who can speak to you and share their work experiences with you.

    Most importantly, while you are in school you should make sure you do an internship in your area of interest, which seems to be global health. This will provide you not only work experience, but a possible opportunity for a more permanent position with the agency you interned at. It's like you are auditioning for a role and they get to see what you can do. A good way to market what you can do for them.

    Well, I hope this helps. Also, feel free to contact any mentor on the directory who is working in an area you may want to learn more about. There are a few mentors involved with international health. Contact them by E-mail and ask some questions about what they do. They can give you insight about the knowledge and skills necessary to do the work. And, you can always subscribe (near the bottom of this page) to my Public Health Jobs E-list, which goes out almost every day with listings for jobs from academia, non-profit organizations, etc. You can use the job-listings to research what employers today are looking for. Almost all job listings will list the skills and experience they are looking for. You can learn a lot just by regularly perusing what is out that. It's free! (Betty)

  • (4/6/12) What advice do you give to new graduates looking to make their mark in the public health field? (Posted LinkedIn APHA group)

    It's a good idea to check out what others are doing in the field. Review the 50 biosketches posted for the Public Health Expertise Network of Mentors (PHENOM) to see how diverse the field of Public Health really is. You can contact any of these public health professionals via E-mail for insight into what they do. There is always a place for everyone who is passionate about working for the Public's health. (Betty)

Public Health Issues

  • (8/2014) The Health challenges in the 21st century are many but what do you think most of the "Baby Boomers" will face or are facing? (N.J.I.O., OH, via LinkedIn Health Promotion and Education Group)

    Well, I suppose a good place to start is to see what data are available about this group! The just recently released (in June):65+ in the United States: 2010 - Special Studies - Current Population Reports
    Additional demographic data sources:
    Additional info:

  • (8/2013) Do we really know everything about Obesity? (Jonah-Barnes More San Fran Student) [J.B-M., CA via LinkedIn Public Health Professionals Group]

    Probably not, but I am posting anything I come across pertaining to Obesity that has some public health relevance (statistics, theories, causes, various aspects, strategies, interventions, how to measure, etc.) to it at: Obesity Resources Thanks for bringing up the subject...

  • (8/2013) Could all the misinformation and disinformation on the web and social media regarding natural remedies cause a significant detriment to the overall health status of the nation? [G.C., NC via LinkedIn APHA Group]

    Of course! In the age of the Internet it is no longer a scarcity of information, but a deluge of information, MISINFORMATION and DISINFORMATION. In teaching Wellness to college students, I expect them to know the definitions of these terms ( ). Over the years I have spent a lot of time correcting misinformation, disinformation, etc. because they think anything on the Internet is credible. The emphasis now is developing information and health literacy. That is, separating the wheat from the chaff. This is especially true with "natural remedies," many of which are bogus and/or have not proven to be truly effective. Americans waste millions of dollars on "natural remedies" with the mistaken notion that what's "natural" is good for them and that they are empowering themselves through self-medication. The sad fact is some of these "natural remedies" affect the potency of prescribed medications and cause interactions that can be extremely dangerous. I refer students to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at for the latest information about alternative and complementary medicine. I am glad that an agency has been set up to test the claims of complementary health practices. I also have a Web page offering the most credible sources for my visitors about health care

  • (7/2013) Diabetes is a global epidemic [V.L., Belgium via LinkedIn APHA Group]

    What a great resource, thank you! I have added it to my Diabetes Page

  • (7/2013) 10 Big Data Trends Changing the Face of [A.L., California via LinkedIn Research Methods & Data Science Group]

    Unfortunately, the presentation did not offer any content that would explain what "Big Data" means, or much of anything to reflect on. Of course, "Big Data" is one of those buzzy words that could eventually reach mass acceptance to connote the negative aspects of what could be the outgrowth of data mining, similar to what "Big Agra" and "Big Pharma" mean these days in those commercial enterprises.

  • (7/2013) How are older adults using the internet, and what implications does this have on health education? [L.S., Canada via LinkedIn Health Promotion & Education Group]

    Hi, Elizabeth, yes, you can trust Web sites with the HON code. My web site is certified by, the organization responsible for the HON code. Web sites so certified undergo a review every few years to ensure they abide by a criteria Healthonnet have developed to evaluate the credibility of the information provided on that Web site. My Web site have been certified since 2000. Here is the kind of information you would get about the site when you click on the verify link:

  • (7/2013) Blame the U.S. for Mexico obesity? [A.M., California via LinkedIn Public Health Group]

    Obesity can be blamed for the continuing rise in Type 2 diabetes, which is reaching epidemic highs, as in Mexico. However, poor dietary habits and not enough exercise can be blamed for obesity in any country. Of course, there are other reasons, like the use of certain medications can cause weight gain, but predominately it's diet and exercise. I am not too thrilled with what's available for consumption. Most of what is available to eat has been processed to death, organic foods are better, but more costly, high fructose corn syrup is in everything, and then there's GMO to consider. Many places are not suitable for exercising, like having no sidewalks to walk on, etc. I have a Webpage devoted to obesity issues, and will add to resources as they become available.

  • (5/2012) How could you assist me in doing research on access to medicine in relation to health systems in low and middle income countries? [Palestinian Authority]

    You will probably need to reach other groups like Paul Farmer and Partners in Health or Doctors Without Borders. I just wish them success with their efforts! (Eric Triffin, MPH)

    A possible resource-- The group has an interesting annual conference in April-- seemed like a lot of the global projects were in Africa and the Caribbean, however I think that as different initiatives come up, the work will spread to those regions. There is also a Global Health University and the group offers certificates on doing research in reduced resource areas. (Maria Lewis, MPH)

    Health care systems differ from country to country. The way to research access to health care would be to take an epidemiological approach. By comparing what already exist in different countries, one can develop an understanding what works and what doesn't work. There are many factors to take into consideration, as how health care is funded, how health issues are addressed at various levels (nationally and locally), and, of course, the country's overall health status. And, this is just for starters.

    While international health data are available from the World Health Organization, each country will still need to evaluate its own strengths and weaknesses in meeting the health care needs of its citizens. I recommend you start by looking at my "Health Care Reform" section on the Health Care Quality Issues Page , Also, check out the Data Search Engines Page for resources you can use to access available data about population health. (Betty C. Jung)

  • (8/2009) What the hottest topic in public/community health new today? (excluding Michael Jackson) [Pennyslvania]

    I would say that healthcare reform is the hottest topic. Turn on the TV, Internet, radio or even the talk on the street, everyone is concerned about healthcare resources and dollars. From those that are unisured, underinsured or struggling to afford the insurance premiums they have. Also it's not only the affordabilty of health insurance, but it's the coverage that's a struggle. I have worked in various healthcare settings including hospitals, private office, community and manage care. Although different entities, the feedback from healthcare consumers were the same. Why won't my coverage reimburse for wellness or holisitc care? This is an area of healthcare that has to be addressed. Although providers may still be divided, studies show that healthcare consumers are seeking complementary and wellness treatments. Even if an insurance offers coverage for holistic therapies for chiropractic, accupuncture or massage, it is usually with specific restrictions of meeting the "medically necessary" criteria and/or limited sessions. I have seen many people fight for such coverage to actually be "covered". Therefore, in my opinion, healthcare reform is the hot topic. The rise in chronic conditions accounts for almost 75% of every healthcare dollar. Many of these conditions can be prevented. So health education, wellness programs and working to improve public health infrastructures in my opinion are the areas one should focus. The aim will be to help mobilize positive change in healthcare reform to ensure that we facilitate a healthy lifestyle. That we look at caring for individuals and communities in a holistic manner. At least this is my perspective ;-)! (Jeannine Capria)

    H1N1 (Danielle Orcutt)

    I vote for H1N1 flu and other viruses - getting people immunized, etc. (Nancy Thursby)

    I am excited to hear about connectomics, a field exploring how humans connect. I also believe that obesity needs to be approached in some ways like tobacco. An addiction to salt, sugar and fat that is consciously perpetrated through marketing to children especially but in ways that are known to cause severe health problems. Our collective weght gain has been unparalelled in history for impacting such large numbers in such a big and fundamental way. (Eric Triffin)

    Not necessarily hot, hot, but I would have to say that the regulation of dietary and herbal supplements should be re-examined. When health care providers are suggesting to their patients to take dietary supplements like fish oils and calcium supplements, health consumers should be assured that what they are taking meet a standard criteria and that they are getting what they paid for. Currently, there is no guarantee whatsoever that the ingredients listed on the label is indeed what is in the supplement. Supplements are very expensive, and if they are suppose to serve a medicinal purpose, then they should be regulated by the FDA to ensure the quality and purity of these products, not to mention require labeling that discloses the possibility of interactions with food, over the counter and prescription drugs. (Betty)

Public Health Skills

  • (8/2014) Any resources out there for evaluating nutritional materials for their cultural competence? (C.A, Mississippi, via LinkedIn American Evaluation Association Group)

    My background is in health education/health promotion and when developing any kind of health educational materials we do try and take into account not only the literacy levels of the populations we would like to reach, but their unique cultural beliefs and understanding so that our messages are clear and not misconstrued. Cultural competence has also become an important point of interest in the delivery of health services to diverse populations. I have gathered a few resources you may find useful at:
    Health Care Quality Issues under, "Cultural Competence."
    For evaluation resources, please see
    Evaluation Resources
    Also, check out AHRQ's The Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT) and User�s Guide. Links to these resources can be found on my Health Education/Health Promotion Resource page (Betty)

  • (1/2014) What is your take on a good statistical package for the price conscious researcher? (C.K., United Kingdom, via LinkedIn)

    I have added all the free programs shared on my webpage that I maintain called "General Statistical Software Sites"

    Regarding Camilla's initial question, I would recommend not rushing into buying any statistical package since there are many free alternatives available on the Internet, many of which are good. You can find just about anything to perform the type of analysis you need to do for any particular project.

    After working many years conducting statistical analyses of all kinds, the most important thing is understanding the basic principles of statistical analysis than knowing how to use a particular package. I have found this fundamental lack of statistical understanding to be somewhat disconcerting because interpreting the results is what is truly important in analyzing data (among other things, like data quality).

    In my field of Public Health, many agencies have not had the opportunity to use expensive packages because the money is just not there to purchase them. The current availability of so many free packages is a godsend. However, the other lesson I have learned is the importance of compatibility among various packages. Given that collaboration seems to be the way to get things done these days, it is probably more important that everyone working on a particular project agree on using the same package to reduce any potential misunderstandings. (Betty)

  • (8/2013) I am a new program evaluator for a public health program at the state office and I wanted to know if anyone had any resources to help me to become effective in my new role. [S.G., GA via LinkedIn American Evaluation Association Group]

    Definitely check the funding source of the program you will be evaluating. An evaluation plan should have been developed when the program was developed, and this should guide what you need to do. Federal agencies funding state-based programs usually require an evalution plan be in place and any evaluation activities be reported on a regular basis in program progress reports. You can also check my Evaluation page for resources.

  • (8/2013) Infographics. I think infographics have great potential for conveying key information and statistics. Here's an example that might be a bit lurid for evaluation,, but you get the idea. Are others using these? [J.B., Canada via LinkedIn Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Group)

    Yes, I have seen infographics being used with more frequency these days in many venues. I view it as making data reporting more palatable to general audiences. Infographics are very appealing to people who are visually oriented, which seems to be almost everyone. Just look at all the electronic devices being used today- all visual. Because I see this as the future for presenting data, I have included a section about infographics on my Charting and Graphing Data webpage

    Thanks, John! I have added your suggested link to the Graphing webpage ( ). I like your reference to John Snow. Considering he didn't have sophisticated hardware or software, he still managed to stop the cholera epidemic by using keen observation and simple mapping of identified cases. Now that's elegant epidemiology at work!

  • (9/2011) What issues does a public health professional need to be aware of when designing a relational database? [USA]

    When it comes to designing a relational database, for any field, not just Public Health, one must consider the importance of compatibility across databases. Is the database going to be sharing data with other databases? If so, then the databases should share a compatible design to make data sharing possible.

    Another issue would be who will be using the database? Will there be different people involved with the data, i.e., data entry, data management, report generation? If many people will be involved, then a standardized approach should be taken, and everyone should be trained on all aspects of the database. Having a training manual is critical to ensure uniformity with all these aspects.

    One of the big mistakes I have seen is to hire outside consultants to develop a database. In most cases these consultants are paid to develop a database, which they do, and then if any problems come up, it would cost more money to bring them back to fix the problem. Many times, such funding is not available, so you are left a state-of-the-art database that is totally useless.

    Finally, given constant technological change with software companies disappearing all the time, probably the most important issue may be the ability to convert data sets into other formats, as needed. So, keeping things simple is the best way to go. (Betty)


  • (5/2015) Thank you so much I appreciate you taking the time to help me. I have been trying to find scholarships that would help me pay for school but have not been very successful. Do you know of any scholarships or grants I could apply for? Or any other foundations or groups I could reach out to? Again thank you so much for taking time to help me. (N.L-K. AZ)

    Scholarships and grants for Graduate programs are more difficult to obtain than in undergrad. The first place to start should be the University you are looking to attend. Sometimes Public Health programs offer grants for specific start dates or experience already in the the field (which it sounds like you have). Honestly, the next thing to do is just keep doing internet searches. Think creatively about where you can find the grants. For example, while in undergrad, I volunteered at a hospital, and was able to apply for the grant the hospital gives to their employees for school. Look for funding within any organization you are apart of or work for; this could include churches, bank, job, etc. Lastly, I know that you have your heart set on specific schools. What about their program interested you? Because perhaps you can look for a school that specifically offers funding if yours does not. (Ebony Jackson)

    Higher education is definitely an expensive proposition these days. Scholarships are hard to get, but if you look hard enough you may be able to find something. I agree with Ebony that scholarships at he graduate level are hard to come by. You may want to explore what the school you will be attending has to offer in way of financial support. There might be graduate and teaching assistantships you can apply for, or campus jobs.

    Here are 3 online resources you may want to explore in terms of scholarships for those interested in Public Health:

    Hope this helps. E-mail if you have more questions (Betty C. Jung)

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    Published on the Web: July 18, 2008
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