Research Shows Underserved Communities Need More Public Health Professionals

With today’s advances in medicine, health care and the field’s related technologies, would you be surprised to know many Americans don’t have convenient access to care providers and essential resources?

Study after study over the past 20 years, whether conducted by the government or independent research firms, show disparities in different populations’ abilities to find health-related care and information. (Health inequities were first documented more than 100 years ago in our country.) The fact disparities continue is prompting health care professionals from a range of areas — insurance companies, healthcare and independent providers, hospital systems, elected officials and public health — to work together on a solution.

Approaches, opinions and priorities vary within the larger health care field. What they all seem to agree on is that every citizen in our country needs and deserves locally available health care and health representation.

Does Anyone Grow Up Wanting To Be a Public Health Professional?

Think back to when you were a kid. Did you want to be a nurse or doctor someday? Some children do, but it’s doubtful a young mind could comprehend other critical roles, such as growing up to be a public health professional.

Career opportunities in public health are broad and not as easily identifiable as a nurse or doctor. People with education and experience in this field go by a variety of titles. Environmental health specialist, community health worker, health educator, data analyst, public health policy-maker — and there are more titles.

Public Health Professionals Play Key Roles

You’re likely reading this article because you’re considering a public health-focused program or a bachelor’s in public health specifically. Or maybe want to know if a career in public health is right for you.

First, it’s good to understand the role of public health work at a high level: They help promote access to health, understand community needs and want people to have unfettered access health-related information and care.

A public health pro’s big-picture perspective gives them a unique view point, where they look for broad solutions needed in the health care systems versus focusing on an individual’s symptoms.

If public health’s far-reaching emphasis sounds appealing to you and you’d rather think “macro” versus “micro,” you’re in the right place to learn more.

Partners in the Public Health Space

When you work in public health, you’ll find yourself involved in interdisciplinary collaboration. Interacting with people across the health care landscape could be broad or quite narrow, depending on your job.

Your public health partner could be sitting in an environmental agency or a federal or municipal government office. Or your counterpart could be in a corporation or nonprofit where your education and expertise is seen as a benefit in those settings.

Partners in public health extend to the community, where you work side-by-side on the front lines, interacting directly with people or officials in the area. Or your partners could be nurse practitioners, counselors or physicians in a clinical setting.

In underserved communities where there’s a need for more public health workers, you could serve as an intermediary bridging the gaps between the community you serve and the larger health- and social-service systems.

Other local partners could be people who work in places where residents gather — schools, churches or in community recreation centers.

Recognized Online Public Health Degree

For people who are serious about the public health field, either with or without a focus on remedying health inequities, there’s an educational path they can take to grow their expertise in public health: a bachelor’s in public health degree.

University of Cincinnati (UC) is equipping tomorrow’s public health experts today with a nationally accredited Bachelor of Science in Public Health program. It’s available to students in Ohio and across the country and contains relevant material coursework to those living abroad.

The curriculum in the bachelor of public health online degree includes courses where you explore topics that relate to marginalized and ignored communities and strategies and tactics that can make a difference, including:

  • Introduction to Public/Community Health – In this course, you study the U.S. public health system, how data is collected and the roles and responsibilities of public health departments. You explore principles of population health, evidence-based public health practice and current issues and trends. You also study society and culture and how they impact various health approaches.
  • Community Health and Minorities: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – Here, you’re introduced to the theoretical foundations, methods and skills essential to your work in professional community health education practice with minority populations. Through field observations, you see how health providers, community leaders and residents view health problems in underserved communities and compare these views with data to develop health-intervention strategies.
  • Health Issues of Vulnerable and Marginalized Populations – This course features a competency-based conceptual framework to provide you the opportunity to examine the interplay between vulnerability, health status and health care access and quality. You examine physical, psychological, demographic, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural issues influencing the health status of vulnerable populations and health care delivery. You focus on the essential skills needed to work effectively as members of interprofessional teams and explore ways to improve the quality of health care delivery and health outcomes for underserved and marginalized groups.
Studies show more public health experts are needed to make a difference in public health, working in underserved communities.

Advantages of Getting Your Degree Online

Depending on where you are at this point of your life, either fresh out of a community college with a two-year associate degree or college credit hours you earned years ago, this could be your first experience studying online.

UC’s programs are designed to meet your needs, using modern approaches and current technologies that best support you in earning a degree online.

What you can look forward to as a UC Online student is that you:

  • Set the pace for getting your bachelor’s in public health. You can study part- or full-time, which gives you the flexibility to balance work and family obligations while completing your degree.
  • Never have to travel to/from campus. Some universities require online students to complete a portion of their studies in person, but UC’s program is 100% online.
  • Get support from UC instructors and staff. From day one, you’ll see there’s a small-but-mighty team of people who want to see you succeed here. You interact with course instructors and our support staff, including an advisor who collaborates with you to create an academic plan based on your goals. Another advocate is a student success coordinator. Their role is to provide you with any administrative or other support you need to make your UC experience enjoyable and personally and professionally rewarding.
  • Can earn the CHES® credential. Once you graduate, you’re eligible to sit for the certified health education exam. Listing the CHES designation on your resume and LinkedIn profile shows future employers you took the initiative to pursue additional, national certification.

Three Things to Know About University of Cincinnati

As you consider UC for your public health education, here are three things to keep in mind about our university:

  • It’s ranked in the 15 Best Online Bachelor’s in Public Health programs by Best Health Degrees.
  • Our UC Online programs consistently rank among the nation’s very best by U.S. News and World Report.
  •  UC’s public health grads leave with the knowledge and skills in demand today. The Bureau of Labor projects 4.6 million new healthcare positions by 2028, including 3.4 million jobs in healthcare and social assistance.

Ready To Get Your Bachelor’s in Public Health Online?

When you choose a public health career, you get the opportunity to do meaningful work, helping to improve systems and access to health care in whatever community you choose to serve, working to equalize the social determinants of health — economic stability, education access and quality, health care access and quality, neighborhood environment and social and community context.

If you’re ready to learn more about UC Online’s Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree, call our program specialists at (833) 347-5495 or contact them online.

Our UC Online team is here to help you get more from your career as a public health professional!

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