An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

Photo by lululemon athletica

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting to the Applied Communication in Health & Wellness class on the topic of careers in public health. Public health is a rapidly changing field with growing opportunities. The field is so broad that there’s something for almost everyone.

If you are not familiar with the field of public health, here is a definition from What Is Public Health?, a project of the Association of Schools of Public Health:

Public Health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. Public health professionals analyze the effect on health of genetics, personal choice and the environment in order to develop programs that protect the health of your family and community.

While clinical health is focused on an individual’s health and disease diagnosis and treatment, public health is about the community as a whole.

If you are a current undergrad interested in learning more about or gaining experience in this field, here are some internship ideas:

  • Business and Communications: Finance, human resources, IT, marketing, public relations…these are all functions found in health services environments. Consider a PR internship with a hospital or a sales internship with a pharmaceutical company.
  • Social Sciences and Human Services: Behavioral Science and Health Education are big areas within the field of public health. This area includes coordinating health promotion/prevention programs, doing community outreach, and teaching. University Health & Counseling Services has hosted students in health education and outreach roles. Communications roles are common in this area as well, and students have interned with nonprofit organizations such as the American Heart Association.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM): Trends are indicating huge needs in public health as it relates to STEM fields. Critical shortages of researchers have been identified in chemistry, toxicology, occupational health, environmental epidemiology, and environmental engineering. The demand for biostatisticians is also high. Explore opportunities with federal agencies like the USDA or in private industry with a local company such as Standard Process.

You can find some public health related opportunities under our Nonprofit/Social/Human Services and International internship resource sections. Additionally, check out the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s resource on careers in public health for more ideas of the employers you could explore internship possibilities with.

And stay tuned! I have a fun collaboration coming up in a few weeks that will connect nicely with the topic of public health/health education…

Speaking of collaborations, check out my guest post on the CoBE Report about career fairs. Even though the Multicultural Career Fair has passed, you can use the strategies at future fairs both on campus and off.

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