It’s common knowledge that education plays a vital part in improving individual and collective lives. It can uplift even the most vulnerable members of society and allow them to elevate their socioeconomic standing significantly. However, the role of education is also crucial in dealing with public health concerns and paving the way for a healthier society. Although the outbreak of the pandemic has led to a renewed interest in the health sector globally, it is public health that has seen the most significant attention.
While all health workers dedicate their services to ensure patients’ health, public health workers work across all forums to bring about lasting changes in terms of positive physical and mental health outcomes. Good community health requires dedicated efforts from both public health experts and the residents to take collective responsibility. Community health plays a significant role in directing any economy on the way to success. It further impacts the professional and personal lives of people and contributes to reducing health gaps.
If you’re interested in learning how public health experts contribute to uplifting community health, keep reading below to understand their roles and responsibilities.
1. Devise new policies
One of the most critical areas where public health workers bring about change is on the governmental level. Public health workers often act as the bridge between the local administration and the healthcare workers. They provide actionable insights to governmental organizations, which help outline ways to achieve their goals related to community health.
Advanced education programs such as masters in public health online or on-campus degrees equip them with the empirical, research-based knowledge to develop effective laws and regulations to control the spread of diseases or boost community wellness. A masters in public health teaches students not just healthcare processes but also allows them to conduct a detailed analysis of healthcare systems, health policies, and basic management systems. It enables them to assess how socioeconomic factors influence health and create new policies for significant changes in the healthcare system.
2. Pave the way for better research
Some of the best healthcare researches are conducted by public health professionals in the best institutes to improve health experts’ understanding of diseases and ways to tackle them. Often, detailed knowledge of any disease requires multi-school, transdisciplinary research to assess the issue from various perspectives. Multiple factors determine public health, and we need to analyze each element appropriately to bring about meaningful change. Understanding simple biology and human behavior aren’t enough – we need to understand the social, economic, and environmental contexts of disease.
Public health education can help improve the individual’s life by boosting their longevity and wellness. The research conducted by healthcare workers contributes to controlling the spread of diseases and the required behavioral changes to mitigate health issues.
3. Better communication
There exists an abundance of research on various diseases, analyzing how we can control the spread of diseases, promote faster healing, and what factors may predispose us to develop the disease. While these researchers may be common in medical circles, their content often doesn’t reach the broader public, who needs it most.
Public health workers can hold educational programs that are specifically designed to inform and educate the most vulnerable populations. Educating people about the importance of observing SOPs to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is one such example. Similarly, public health experts can communicate important information to people regarding other healthcare issues. Some of these are related to the importance of safe sex, the drawbacks of consuming an unhealthy diet, the consequences of smoking, etc., to promote healthier lifestyles.
4. Addressing healthcare disparities
Addressing healthcare disparities is essential if we want to ensure that each member of society can live a fulfilling, healthy life. If even one person is at risk of developing a disease, they can potentially endanger every other person they contact with. The current pandemic is one of the most realistic examples here, since vaccinating a handful of people or encouraging them to follow SOPs will not suffice to ensure community health. As long as even one person is at risk, it is impossible to put an end to the pandemic.
Public health experts study factors that can ease individual access to healthcare regardless of any disparities. Common healthcare disparities include ethnic and racial discrimination, gender disparities, rural and urban disparities, and socioeconomic differences. Public health workers look at each of these problems through a transdisciplinary lens and work towards developing viable solutions. Once they have analyzed the various factors in play, they can work towards developing holistic solutions.
The role of public health experts is vital as they assess healthcare challenges prevailing in various communities. These health experts contribute to developing healthy communities by creating and implementing effective healthcare policies, conducting health research to facilitate health experts, information sharing, and addressing health disparities to a greater extent. Countries that focus on developing healthy communities are likely to embrace success at both national and international levels.