Remember the simpler days when opportunities post MBBS remained in restrictive categories? Apparently, the diaspora education has evolved to such an extent that life after MBBS is enriching, as various verticals of health and welfare expand to create newer avenues. Amongst the most plum of health-related avenues is that of public health. There are specialised courses that empower and guide students for this role, the most important being Master of Public Health (MPH).
What is Master of Public Health
The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree entails on nuances of public health practices, on both grass root and government levels. Here, students are encouraged to develop strong competencies over a set of integrated interdisciplinary domains such as Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Health Policy and Systems, Public Health Leadership and Management, Evidence Based Policy and Health Care, Health Communication, Diversity and Culture, Program Management and Planning, Public Health Biology, Systems Thinking and Environmental Health Sciences. This degree often supplements the skill sets achieved by an MBBS course.
Why is it important
With the evolution of the public health comes the enormity of diseases that manage to withstand the test of advancement. Public health professionals address broad issues that can affect the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities, societies, and countries —taking proactive measures to proceed towards a better future. A few achievements that public health officers have made a reality include increase in life expectancies, reduction in infant and child mortality, at a global scale and eradication/reduction of deadly communicable diseases.
Physicians– MPH covers preventive care and patient education- two of the most crucial aspects that every physician needs to master over.
Nurses– The programme has newly inculcated the branch of Occupational Health Nursing, catering to this segment. Now, degree holders can oversee various community outreach programs at their facilities, while gaining a chance to work with educational institutions and nonprofit organisations in the field of public health.
Occupational and Environmental Health Specialists– MPH programme changes the focus from individual specific issues to population-based problems. This makes it easier for individuals to understand the impact of the environment on the health of the community, grooming enthusiast into being the catalyst of change.
Epidemiologists and Biostatisticians– It helps them harness an understanding of diverse social, economic, cultural and religious factors that impact community health, bringing in a broader perspective into the table.
Policy analysts– Public health forms an integral aspect of public policy and programmes. Analysts with a Masters in Public Health tend to have an in-depth understanding of health issues affecting the community, noting their impact on the political mark up.
(The author is president, IIHMR University, Jaipur)