August 4, 2020
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How Do Public Health Grads Help Contain Infectious Diseases?

In the field of health care, public health is a broad and dynamic field, and there are several diverse careers available to graduates of public health, and some of those jobs may involve containing infectious diseases. With a Master of Science in Public Health or a Master of Public Health degree, graduates may get to work on the front lines of developing protocols and safety measures designed to protect human health during pandemics and disasters.

Graduates may work as researchers engaged in the prevention of infectious disease in local communities or in-field analysis during world health crises like the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Public health is an essential environmental science with jobs available in the public, private, and government sectors.

Related resource: Top 25 Online MPH Programs (Master’s in Public Health)

Methods Used for Controlling Infectious Diseases

At the core of many of the programs implemented for halting or preventing the spread of infectious disease are the methods developed by public health experts. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that minimizing the transmission of infectious diseases is a primary function of public health law.

In its publication on health systems, the WHO indicates that the creation of laws can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases by creating laws on screening, counseling, and education. One of the surprising ways that public health graduates may help in containing infectious diseases is in designing public health laws that balance restrictions on the public’s freedom alongside the need to contain infectious diseases.

Epidemiologists & Public Health

Education in public health traditionally covers five different core disciplines that include behavioral science, environmental health, health services administration, biostatistics, and epidemiology. Students in public health programs will often choose one of these five areas for a degree concentration. Within public health education, epidemiology is one of the most direct options for learning about the incidence, distribution, and control of disease.

The government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that most epidemiologists have a master’s degree, which means earning a Master of Public Health or a Master of Science in Public Health is required for work. Public health graduates with experience in epidemiology may manage public health programs in an effort to influence the best outcomes during times of widespread disease or pandemics.

Public Health Oversight of Infectious Disease

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) reveals that public health professionals are responsible for helping to create many disease control programs for the public. Those policies are influenced by science and research and are meant to prevent mortality and morbidity caused by infectious diseases. Public health professionals rely on historical data, scientific research, and evidence.

Public health issues related to infectious disease include antimicrobial resistance, the impact on at-risk populations during a pandemic, overall global health, and the strength of public health systems in their ability to withstand the stresses of increased health care needs during a pandemic. The ASTHO submits official comments each year on proposals for changes to federal policies and strategies that are associated with public health and state health agencies.

Helping to contain infectious diseases is just one facet of the job a graduate in public health may engage in during his or her career. Public health graduates and experts in epidemiology have been directly involved in creating rules and guidelines designed to help stop pandemics like influenza, HIV/AIDS, COVID-19. Public health graduates will continue to play an essential role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases.