For students interested in pursuing a career focused on issues involving environmental and health matters then a Bachelors in Public Health undergraduate degree is an ideal place to start. Eventually a rewarding lifetime career can be had in the private, public or non-profit sectors of the field, or even in all sectors at different stages of a career. The field is a very large and complex one and therefore includes specific areas such as, for example, bio statistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health administration, health policy and planning and even nutrition, it is helpful to first understand in broad terms what constitutes public health as a defined discipline of study. Then it would be helpful to consider in general terms the type of topics and areas covered in some typical degree courses.
As long ago as 1920 the academic C.E.A. Winslow offered a succinct definition of the term Public Health as follows: the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals. This definition, though succinct, encompasses much. With respect to health much focus is given to existing and potential threats to the health of populations. Ideally, any medical, administrative and political interventions are undertaken with a view to enhancing the health and life quality of the public at large. This inevitably requires sophisticated alliances comprising of a wide array of professional workers. For instance this includes the following: bio statisticians, community workers, communication teams, dental hygiene specialists, dieticians, environmental health officers, epidemiologists, health inspectors, health nurses, health engineers, health lawyers, microbiologists, nutritionists, physicians, sociologists and veterinarians. Arguably, this list is just the tip of iceberg, so to speak, of the range of professionals intimately related to, and involved in, the public health field.
To embark on a Bachelors Degree in Public Health, therefore, is to enter into a truly fascinating and much need area of study. A typically modern approach, at undergraduate level, would address directly all the important factors, including social ones, that play a part in influencing the health and general well being of populations. Top priority would be given to equipping students with the necessary skills and, of course knowledge, to find employment and thus contribute to a regularly changing, dynamic field of work. This will cater for students interested in pursuing careers at the local public services level and also for those with an eye on becoming involved at national, regional and even global levels.
In summary, therefore, it is clear that obtaining a Public Health Bachelors degree is an ideal first step to a promising and rewarding career. To return to the Winslow definition it is noticeable that he refers to both the science and the art involved and, indeed, it is possible for a student to pursue a mainly arts centered degree, a BA, or, instead, a more scientifically focused one, that is a B.Sc. Nowadays most universities and colleges, starting with the very best of them, offer interesting and fulfilling degrees in the subject so the eager and committed student is, in many ways, spoilt for choice in that respect.