The decision, according to McCaskill, is partly due to a sudden rise in awareness of the importance of public health as the virus spreads to the United States.
“I started seeing more happening in the field of public health through the news and the media, and that was all we were hearing,” McCaskill told CNN. “I think that made a decision.”
However, interest in public health programs has skyrocketed before the pandemic saw a decline in applications, which has long funded this area, not just for the virus, but for supporting its efforts. This is especially encouraging for some officials who say it is important to be understaffed and understaffed. , But other emergencies that plague the US community.
“Gun control is a public health intervention. Proper housing and education is a public health intervention,” Cheryl Healton, dean of the NYU Global School of Public Health, told CNN. “Anti-racist activity is a public health intervention.”
However, even if more applicants are fooled by public health, some experts may not be more likely to turn to jobs that are in desperate need of executives, including the US health sector. I’m worried that there isn’t.
“The work of the state and local health sector is hard. It’s a tough job. It’s a very rewarding job, but at the same time it doesn’t work very well and isn’t competitive with the private sector,” said National County and Municipal Health. Officials Association (NACCHO).
“So that’s good news and bad news,” Freeman said.
“The good news is that we can increase the number of people who are interested in public health,” she added. “The bad news in federal, state, local and government public health that we can’t attract them to the areas where they need them.”
What is public health?
The Covid-19 pandemic proved why preparation and prevention are important.
And that’s it for public health.
The responsibility of the local health officer is to ensure that people are vaccinated against the flu each year, to carry out restaurant tests, to educate the general public about substance abuse, healthy eating, or It includes everything from running a sexually transmitted disease prevention campaign.
Sandro Galea, Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, said: “They are characteristic of where we live, work, or play.”
And it helped push the field into the spotlight. During last year’s application cycle, public health program applications increased by 23%, the largest increase since March 2020, said Laura Magaña, Chairman and CEO of the Association for Public Health Programs (ASPPH). ..
In the 2021 cycle, applications have so far increased by about 39% from the same period last year.
“It’s a clear effect of the pandemic,” Magagna said. “Public health has really become visible and people understand its importance.”
How public health can help communities
The 24-year-old Allende experienced these disparities directly. Her parents, both from Peru, can speak only limited English. And when the family fought against the diagnosis of tuberculosis in the father and breast cancer in the mother, Allende said the language was “an unfortunate barrier to the health of this country.”
After graduating from the public health program, Allende said he would like to focus on the public health of vulnerable communities in the United States.
“It feels like everything in my life depends on preventing illness,” she said. “But because of the pandemic, I thought this was the perfect moment to apply.”
According to Freeman, local health officials will be the key to helping address health inequalities.
“Many jobs and the importance of public health in the field are looking at ways to create (healthy) conditions,” Freeman said. “Eliminate the fear of violence, kids can go out and play … because they have a living wage, you can afford to buy food for your family … and you grocery You can access. “
“It’s a real job of prevention in public health,” she added. “And that’s what we are aiming for.”
Especially important trends
As the number of applicants for public health programs increases, authorities report an increase in applications from colored students, including blacks, Hispanics, and Latin Americans.
“That’s just great for us,” Magagna said. “All of us want to have a workforce that represents the geographical and demographic representation of the community.”
And today, the public health workforce is terribly lacking in representation. According to NACCHO 2019 data, less than 10% of community health executives are of color.
“We have a big gap when it comes to the diversity of these positions,” Freeman said.
“That’s why it’s important that our leadership and health department really represents the community that works to stay safe and healthy,” says Freeman.
Allende, who works for cancer research and treatment institutions, was tasked with calling color community members to educate them about vaccines. As a Spanish-speaking employee, she says she often receives feedback from residents who are relieved to be able to receive the information over the phone, rather than from social media or other large retailers. ..
“Expression is important,” she said.
“Our country … had some unfortunate medical distrust due to historical events,” Allende added. “I feel that having representatives of diverse public health experts will definitely have an impact on creating a healthier country.”
Hope for a turning point
The surge in student interest is a particularly difficult time in the field of public health.
“State and local health authorities are trying to stop a major epidemic in their own politicized environment,” said Helton of New York University.
Many are burned out.
“We have to find a way to replace the exodus that has occurred,” Freeman said.
Health agencies (both public and private) continue to be the top employers of graduates of these programs, according to Magagna. However, demand from the private sector, including pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, health counseling companies, and large corporations, is growing rapidly, seeking more public health expertise to create new programs and applications. ..
Some experts say that newly discovered visibility could be a turning point in public health infrastructure that has long been ignored by the country’s lack of funding, making public health among the general public. I’m optimistic that it could lead to a broader understanding of what it is.
“What we can do at this turning point is to significantly enhance our system globally and reduce the chances of this happening,” said Helton. “This (pandemic) shouldn’t have happened. It may have been stopped.”
“The Covid moment shows that there have been many years of underinvestment in creating enough people for public health, if nothing else has been shown,” said Galea of Boston University. Said.
And that’s what professionals want to change now.
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