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Since the beginning of the pandemic, student interest in this area has skyrocketed.Experts want this to be a turning point

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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.”

The medical school is looking at historic high applications.Whether it is & # 39; Fauci effect & # 39; it is highly necessary

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.”

In this May 2020 file photo, workers are performing coronavirus contact tracing from the Florida Health Department office in Miami-Dade County.

What is public health?

The Covid-19 pandemic proved why preparation and prevention are important.

And that’s it for public health.

Racism is a public health issue and

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.”

However, most of us had little or no interaction with public health professionals before the pandemic. Since then, epidemiologists and infectious disease experts- Dr. Anthony Fauci -Standing on the central stage, Appeared daily in the news With insight and advice.

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). ..

Fauci about gun violence: & # 39; How can you say it's not a public health issue?  & # 39;

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.”

According to Magagna, the pandemic is in combination with a younger generation who are passionate about issues such as: Social justice And Climate change Both have been at the forefront of global conversation over the past year, but may have led to a surge in applicants.

How public health can help communities

Catherine Agende, recently accepted by the Department of Public Health for a Master of Epidemiology at Harvard University, said it was a health inequalities that existed in the United States-and See how they got worse with a pandemic -It made her apply.
Catherine Allende
Racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States Most hit by the virus, Reported that Covid-19 had a higher hospitalization rate than Caucasians and was seeking emergency medical care. Recent research Indicated. The findings highlighted “the need to address our country’s health inequality,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Warrensky last month.

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.

Covid Color: Our New Stay-at-Home Order Racial Justice Paradox

“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.

Covid-19 exposed US & # 39; need to invest in public health

“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.

The impact can be catastrophic.For example, the country Immunize as many Americans as possible against Covid-19Its lack of diversity often meant that there was no reliable messenger to help reach different communities, build vaccine confidence and deal with hesitation.
Ohio public health officials apologize for asking minorities to avoid the

“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.

Local and state health authorities When a pandemic occurs, it is often attacked, Is intended for mask orders or restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of the virus. Some people are exhausted or otherwise afraid of their lives, Leave their post. The others were fired.

“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.

Local health authorities were doing their job.In a pandemic, it was accompanied by murder threats and harassment

“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.”

In March, George C. Benjamin, Secretary-General of the American Society of Public Health applause Passing American Rescue Planning Act, Which has poured billions into the maintenance and expansion of the public health workforce, calling this move a “temporary sigh of relief.”

“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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