How Global Public Health Careers Help Make a Difference

“Global health is about improving the health of communities worldwide.”

Dr. Kelsey Gleason

Working in global public health offers the opportunity to help vulnerable populations and improve the health of communities around the world.  

Dr. Kelsey Gleason

Global public health careers can range from assisting a region devastated by an environmental catastrophe to researching for a government agency, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

“When we think about global health, we’re thinking about COVID-19 in India, improving access at the village level, or improving water and sanitation at the community level,” says Assistant Professor Kelsey Gleason, ScD, who teaches in the UVM Public Health Programs. “Global health is about improving the health of communities worldwide.”

Global Health Careers 

According to the CDC, global health jobs range from an epidemiologist, policy analyst, and consultant to educator, physician, nurse, and program manager. Applicants can find positions at universities, research think tanks, the military, non-governmental organizations, and the U.S. government. 

At the CDC, for example, most global health jobs fall into one of four positions. 

Epidemiologist

Epidemiologists search for the root cause of disease, identify people at risk, and determine how to control the spread or prevent it from reoccurring. Epidemiologists typically work in labs or offices at the state and local levels or hospitals, colleges, and universities.

Public Health Advisor

A public health advisor oversees activities involving a broad range of public health programs. The job includes analyzing collected data and findings and interpreting complex guidance to develop and implement plans. Advisors typically work for public, nonprofit, and private agencies and at the local or state government level.

Health Scientist

A health scientist works directly in the medical or research field. Their work involves analyzing data, investigating disease, or working on statistical studies and projects. Research facilities, hospitals, government agencies, and other organizations typically hire health scientists of various disciplines, including biomedical engineering and clinical epidemiology. 

Physician

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the greatest need in global health systems worldwide is the broad application of effective primary health care. Global health physicians are focused on preventive and population-based health care and can diagnose and manage health problems in an evidence-based manner. 

How to Study for a Career in Public Health

One advantage of the UVM Master of Public Health program is its generalist approach. MPH students graduate with an understanding of the five core disciplines of public health: 

  • behavioral science/health education
  • biostatistics
  • environmental health
  • epidemiology, and 
  • health services administration.

Within the program, students are able to concentrate on a particular discipline by taking elective courses within their preferred area of study. The culminating project experience offers students the opportunity to apply their newly acquired public health knowledge within a context that is of particular interest. 

To learn more about career paths in public health, browse our Spotlights on expert faculty, students, alumni, and collaborators who are dedicated to improving public health worldwide. 

Learn about UVM’s Public Health Programs

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