Public health management is a branch of the public health profession which involves the management of public health threats. People with degrees in this field can work as hospital administrators, heads of public health departments, public health consultants, and representatives of agencies which research and prevent disease. Many universities with schools of public health offer degrees in public health management to students who are interested in this field of study.
Public health is concerned with the health of populations as a whole, rather than specific care for individual patients, although many public health departments do provide individualized patient services. The goal of public health management is to identify and control threats to public health, and to create policy which supports public health and the development of healthy populations. Public health is an intersection of medicine, sociology, economics, and many other topics, and it can be challenging to balance public health needs with realities.
Some examples of topics in this field include: public education about health issues, preventative health care, health inspections, routine health screenings, diagnosis and treatment of disease, and rapid identification of emerging public health threats. People who work in public health management may be involved on the front lines of public health, and they can also be involved in public health research, studying topics of interest in public health ranging from access to sound nutrition to the emergence of new diseases.
Administrative skills are an important part of successfully working in the public health field. People with degrees in public health management have a high level of training in the science and the administration involved in public health. This broad set of skills allows them to work with the numerous parties concerned with public health, from doctors applying for funding from public health departments to researchers suggesting policy reforms to reduce the incidence of disease.
Careers in public health management are very diverse, varying from supervising rural clinics providing health care to underserved populations to advising world leaders about public health issues. Students who plan to work in any aspect of public health should plan on interning while they are in school, so that they can experience different aspects of the public health field and identify potential areas of interest. Such opportunities can also lay the groundwork for a thesis which will lead to a degree, and provide valuable work experience and sources for employment references which will increase employability after graduation.