Show Me The Money!

In many academic programs, Public Health is divided into five (5) distinct fields of interest. We have health promotion and behavior science, epidemiology, environmental science, biostatistics and management, policy and community health practice.

Health promotion and behavior science is all about the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the prevention of disease. Many students in this field have a behavioral science background or are clinicians. Many become health educators, nutritionists, counselors and communicators. As a communication specialist, you could start off in the high 50’s with a masters degree.

Epidemiologists are the main investigators of the public health field. They investigate the reason certain diseases occur. They also look at disease condition in specific populations. Students who have a clinical background often find themselves in this field. You can work in several areas and you have a high earning potential. As a veterinary epidemiologist with a masters degree, you start off in the very high 60’s .

Those in environmental science look at different factors in the environment that can influence human health. Many become advocates. Many also have a background in the sciences.. As an environmental consultant with a masters degree you start off around mid 60’s.

Bio statistics is a field of interest for those who love maths. They develop and apply statistical science to human health. As a public health informatics specialist with a MPH, you will start off in the high 70’s.

Management, Policy and community health is concerned with health organizations, health care reform, cost of health care for individuals. Those in these program have different backgrounds. Many are being trained to solve problems in management, get involved in policy formulation or become analyst or work in an area of community health. Many who have management positions within healthcare earn in in the high 90’s to 6 figures.

Do Not Sleep On This:
Okay,you are reading all this but you really aren’t ready to commit financially or emotionally into this program then why not start off first as a community health worker. Community health workers are trusted individuals within the community that act in the role of a resource to people within the community. They often work within the area of health promotion or health outreach. Now, to become a community health worker, you do not need a masters degree, even those with a high school diploma can get into this field. But, to get within certain positions or to work in certain places, you will need a bachelors degree at least. They earn between 35,000 – 60,000. As a side note, many clinicians (particularly nurses) in developing countries in certain villages, sometimes work in this capacity. In Texas, this is a recognized field and you have to get certified to work as one.

I hope I’ve shown you the money…..LOOOOL!

But,as in all things in life, your degree is what you make of it. I say focus on your area of interest, find what lights up your fire and go for it. You can create your own career and remember, with the right connection, resources, you can maintain your independence and be a consultant.

Till Next Time.

I, Welcome You All To The Field Of Public Health.


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The Move

As I mentioned, I recently moved physically to Texas to pursue my Masters. About two years ago, I realized that it was time to pursue a field that I had an interest in but at that time, I had to complete certain things in New York before I could leave. But, once it was time, it was time. After I resigned from a company that I had worked with for several years, I spent time with my family in a different state, enjoyed getting to know my baby nephew better and also learnt that you have to keep active babies like him entertained at all times. I also spent that time, working on a different project while getting certain items together for my eventual move to Texas.

If you are on the same journey, for whatever reason and you find yourself in a new state/new country etc. These are the steps that you should take:

• Project A : work on getting a job – you don’t want to keep on dipping into your money, you want some money going in. Have your negotiable and non negotiable, that will determine, what you are willing to do, who you are willing to work with and where you are willing to work? Also, live like a minimalist. I’ve always lived like one and so it is very easy for me to live that way but for many others – this might prove a little difficult. But, you can do it. Key to minimalist living: Don’t get too attached to things. Keep the end in mind. E.g: Don’t purchase a car because everyone has one and you have to keep up but get one because you a) you live in an area that does not have a convenient way to commute b)you live in an area with extreme weather changes c)Well, you really, really love that car. Make big purchases with reasons in mind.

• Project B: Get involved in the meat of your study by looking for problems that need a team to solve. Volunteer if possible. Getting paid is best. Learn a new skill. Currently, everything I am involved with is tied to what I am studying. My team project is one that deals with an area of public health while working with a team of clinical professionals and that is voluntarily. I am currently in a CHW training course which is giving me a deeper understanding of what takes place on the floor/lowest level of community health practice which is the area of study for my graduate program (at least for now 😉 :P)). I am also working with someone else on a different project that involves tying my psychology background + public health and human resources. Basically, I am busy but they are all in my field. In a couple of months, I hope all these will give me a clearer idea of what direction I want to move in Public Health. I am directly involved in my field of study which was what I didn’t have direct access to when I lived in New York.

• Get involved with your community: You can join your local religious community. I currently attend an Episcopal church and I love it. We are all individuals coming from different walks of life seeking to know God more. No judgment – just love, and all are welcome. Volunteer in your community or in other communities that need that niche skill set that you have. There are people who believe that they are skill less for whatever reason but we all have something that can be of use in other communities or even our community.

• Stick to the purpose of your movement. If you moved to go to school – make sure you remain in school. If you moved to have a change in your life – make sure that you take steps that walk in ways of the change you want. If you moved for a career change – then plan and make those moves that go with your career change.

• Be prepared for the emotions: There are times that you will feel over whelmed. Know that is okay. You are in a new place, and on a new adventure and those feelings are normal. Also, have a go to person to speak with. My go to person is a male friend of mine IN an African country.

But in all steps you choose to make, make sure you remain aware and in control of the decision making process of your life. Don’t just go with the flow. You traveled too far to give the reins of your life to anyone.

Public Health Vs Medical (clinicians): Give Public Health Practitioners A Big Hug.

I am currently working on a project with an interdisciplinary team made up of social workers,PTs, OTs, SLPs, dental hygienists and Pharmacists. We are all graduate students. It is always funny to watch people’s expressions when I introduce my field in our project. They can understand all other clinical branches but that one.

I think it is quite sad that Public Health does not get as much respect and recognition as other fields do, particularly since many of the things we do in terms of promotion of health, safety and prevention of diseases in our day to day lives are as a result of public health initiatives.

Let’s start with the first question: what is Public Health? Public Health is the science and art of preventing diseases, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts of society (UK Department of Health, 1987). Very nice right?

The question becomes why don’t we get the same kind of respect? *tear drops* I believe the answer is because our strength lies in prevention and promotion, and because deaths and illnesses do not happen as a result of our initiatives, no one really sees our triumphs. For example, a specific field of public health can find out that certain things in the environment can create a health condition and might come up with ways to prevent that from getting into the environment and getting into our bodies to make us sick. They will also come up with recommendations of changes that might need to be made. Because of this work done by public health practitioners, the community is informed and they make appropriate changes which saves lives and prevents people from getting sick. It is silent. Now, let’s say someone does not get that information and does not make appropriate changes, this person will get sick, go to the clinic or to the hospital, and be seen by a clinician who will come up with a treatment plan that will be followed by the individual. This individual will get better and the applause will go to the clinician who did the healing and not the Public Health Practitioners who had already set up guidelines to prevent the illness from occurring . We are the silent do-gooders.

Just in case you meet someone who introduces himself or herself as a potential public health practitioner, just know that this person works within the community or a particular demographic. He/she uses assessments or policy development as a tool. She/he is very interested in the system, I.e, how it works and how it can be improved and her/his end result is that the community as a whole will be a healthier place. Clinicians are very individual client minded while we are very community/demographic/population minded.

I will give another example to clarify. An interdisciplinary team is called in because geriatric individuals from a particular town within the last two months have suddenly lost their ability to communicate, can’t walk, can’t have a normal life, loosing their teeth, they need drugs and resources. This is how this situation might play out. Obviously,individuals from this demographic have been seen by doctors who have documented, run tests and written out a prescription. But the question is what is going on and why is this happening?

How will this all work out? The SLP will work on communicative disorders, PT will work on getting these patients to walk, the OT will see what adjustments might need to be made in terms of tools to accommodate these individuals going back to their work place or having their normal lives back, the dental hygienist or dentist might work on their teeth , the pharmacist will give them the drugs as written on the prescription by the doctor and the social worker will put together the resources/information necessary for his/her clients to live a more comfortable life. But,the people who solve the question of what is going on, why this is going on and how can this be prevented in the future are the public health practitioners. They will also put together a policy after all that is done which will protect the community. What does this mean? If the policy is implemented, future geriatric population will be protected. We are the investigators, the problem solvers, the documenters and sometimes, the implementors. We work with the team of health care professionals but we are the silent workers. Do you now see why we need hugs all day? *tear drops*

Interestingly, in terms of career movement, many clinicians are in Public Health and vice versa. I have mentioned several times that we have some doctors in my class. We also have other clinicians as well. Some of them have worked in their field and they want to get the tools necessary to have an alternate view point about diseases and healing. We, also have people who move from public health to the clinical field for whatever reason. Personally, I believe money and adjusting to a new environment quickly might be the incentive. Ignore me! I am just being a cynic.

Will you make a ton of money? Will you be able to swim in a swimming pool of money? Will someone show you the money in Public Health? No. In fact, there are some specialties in Public Health that will make you wish that you never got into Public Health because the earning potential is so low but if your focus isn’t on the money but rather on ensuring that you leave a healthier community behind, that you create change by advocating for the community and vulnerable populations. Then you will love this field.

Hopefully, I’ve cleared the air about us. Next time you meet someone who introduces himself or herself as a public health practitioner, give that person a hug because the clean air you breath is because of the work her/his predecessors did.

Much Love



PS: This blog post isn’t implying that Public Health Practitioners are the rockstars of the health profession because we aren’t. Rather, we work with other health care professionals to ensure that the population is healthy, so while clinicians heal, we prevent, promote and often, implement.

Siting markets in ‘food deserts’ no quick cure for obesity, study says,0,7270818.story#ixzz2sZtEiFOE

By Melissa Healy

February 3, 2014, 3:04 p.m.


The logic seems simple enough: the consumption of healthy foods is low, and obesity is high, in neighborhoods where supermarkets are notably absent; so, opening supermarkets in those neighborhoods should boost consumption of healthier foods and drive down obesity. Right?

Not so fast, says the first American study gauging the success of a popular initiative aimed at combatting obesity: improving access to fresh produce and healthy food in the nation’s “food deserts.”

Six months after the grand opening of a new supermarket in Philadelphia, the study found, residents of the surrounding low-income neighborhood were not eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, nor were they less likely to be obese than were low-income Philadelphians across town whose neighborhood continued to be a food desert.

But compared with those trapped in food deserts, the residents of the newly served neighborhood did perceive their access to fruits and vegetables to be greater, and the cost of that produce to have declined, the study said. And among the roughly half of residents who said they were shopping at the new store, the trends in fruit-and-vegetable consumption were positive.

And that, said authors, is a start.,0,7270818.story#ixzz2sZt5Wr4t

A Merry Dance Between The Media And Public Health

We touched on so many controversial topics in my policy class but it definitely got hotter when we started talking about autism, vaccination and Jenny McCarthy. A quick synopsis of the whole debate was based on Jenny McCarthy who found that her son became autistic as soon as he was vaccinated. She was able to get him back to normal by using lifestyle changes. She went ahead to write a book. Unfortunately, her writings might have used information from a study that was completely fabricated. The person, who did that study lost his medical license, cannot practice and his journal article was retracted. One of the questions that was asked was why do people listen to Ms. Jenny McCarthy and follow her advice. Some of the answers were a) her story gives people hope. b) It gives people something to latch on to. c) her story seems plausible since many are going through or have gone through similar experiences and some have noticed similar changes when they follow her method d) people do not take the time to do the research e) the journal that the article was in, is a respected journal and articles are almost never retracted from that journal, so some believe that for that article to get in there, then it must have some merit f) the media.

This isn’t the first time that I have heard the media blamed for things. In fact, earlier in class, one of the reasons given for the lack of respect and recognition that Public health gets is poor use of media. Even though, this isn’t to blame the media but it points to the use of media and how media can influence perception. But, that’s the reason that those who do media properly ensure that there is some form of balance.

The question for today is this: is the media responsible for the acceptance of Jenny McCarthy’s ideas? The answer is No. The media’s role is mainly two parts which is to educate and inform. A lesser role is to entertain even though in America, entertainment seems to be the order of the day. Jenny McCarthy’s ideas are an alternate idea, which the world needs to know. The media played its role, they invited her, she informed everyone and she tried to educate people about her thoughts on vaccination and the supposed effect that it had on her son. Now, to ensure that there is some form of balance, medical doctors or those who are in the profession and have alternate information should have also been invited to speak. This ensures that the listening or watching public is fully informed of the options and they have all the information necessary to take a decision.

My whole spiel is this: do not blame the media for showing you what is in your world, or showcasing those who have an alternate viewpoint or reality than what you assume should be normative. Rather, with each new viewpoint you get, this should push us to further investigate and to see if there is any truth to the information. As someone said in class, we still have not really pinned down what causes autism, we just have gotten better with the range of diagnoses and I will say that maybe, just maybe there is a need for another study on vaccinations. To the questions that you want me to answer on vaccinations: should your child be vaccinated? Yes, if your child will be amongst other children. Is Jenny McCarthy a dodo head? Well, I really don’t know. All I know is that her child is now cured, but I don’t know if he ever got the diagnoses for autism to begin with or if he was ever evaluated after the cure to confirm his healing. Should more research be done on vaccinations? Most definitely. Do the media blow things out of proportion for ratings? Sometimes. Information can be presented differently, highlighting what will get people talking for ratings. That is the reason that we need more people who are critical thinkers, so that they can skin the information down to what it really is. Is that ethical? Well…..But, I will like to say that I am a fan of stories, news report that highlight issues, of course I love them more if all elements are highlighted but the likelihood that I will go after someone with a pitchfork because the person didn’t spill everything is nominal. But, then that’s me. I will end by stating that at the end of last class, one of the many things I learnt are that we should not accept everything as is but we should be willing to go further and investigate if it is on an issue of Public Health. Also, we should be willing to see the wood for the trees or something like that.

A rite of passage that pushes girls into sex

Chiradzulu district, Malawi (CNN) — When Grace learned she’d be going to a camp with her friends, she was thrilled. Every girl around her age in her southern Malawi village would attend the rite of passage, known as an initiation camp. They counted down to what seemed like summer camp.

“We were happy, because we didn’t know what was there,” she said.

When she got there, the messages she heard stunned her.

“You should sleep with a man and get rid of child ‘dust.’ If you don’t do it, your body will get diseased.”

A demonstration involved one girl lying down, with one of the older women on top.

“You should be dancing and have a man on top of you, making him happy,” she was told.

At age 10, Grace was being taught how to have sex.

“Fueling child marriage”

Like the other girls in the village, Grace had been sent to camp with her family’s blessings. Neither trafficked nor forced to work in the sex trade, she was attending a time-honored ritual passed through generations.


To Read More Click Link:    Child Marriages, IVF, AIDS,HIV, STD

And CVS Takes A Stand

The decision by CVS to stop selling cigarettes could help to cut smoking rates substantially, especially because the move comes at a time of increased pressure on the tobacco industry from a number of fronts, health experts say.

“It is a big deal — one of those death knell events the tobacco industry has feared for some time,” says Thomas Glynn, director of cancer science and trends at the American Cancer Society.

Research shows that making cigarettes even slightly less accessible has a measurable effect on smoking, especially for kids, who have fewer ways to get tobacco, says Otis Brawley, the Cancer Society’s chief medical officer.

“It’s an act of corporate courage,” says Brawley, who says the Cancer Society has pressured pharmacies to ban cigarettes for several years.

Studies show that being forced to travel just two extra blocks can deter someone from buying cigarettes, Brawley says. Brawley notes that retailers have known for decades about the importance of positioning products near cash registers, to increase “impulse” buys.

Read More, Click Link: CVS