In recent memory, never has public health felt more relevant than in the past three years, when fears of the COVID-19 pandemic – and debates about the appropriate measures to contain it – held back the national attention. But, even as normalcy returns, public health concerns remain prominent in all facets of our lives.
At Case Western Reserve University, the Master of Public Health (MPH) program helps prepare students for careers that ensure the safety and well-being of society as a whole and to push for even better conditions for all.
Public health is everywhere.
“It’s a key consideration in everything we do: from hospital design to government policy, from catering practices to bus routes. It is about public safety, welfare, health and welfare. It’s about you and me, our families, our communities,” said Daniel Tisch, MPH program director.
National Public Health Week, which takes place the first week of April, recognizes the myriad ways public health professionals make a difference. To learn more about the field of public health, The Daily spoke with Tisch.
Read on to hear Tisch’s insights into the impact of public health on your life.
1. Advances in public health increase lifespan and well-being.
Most of the gains in life expectancy made in the 20th century are not due to advances in medicine, but to advances in public health. Between 1900 and 1999, the average lifespan in the United States increased by more than 30 years, with 25 years attributable to advances in public health. These public health achievements include reduced infectious diseases through vaccines, cleaner air and water, improved sanitation and food safety, safer environments, reduced smoking, family planning, motor vehicle safety, reduction of work accidents and improvement of maternal and child health.
Progress has continued into the 21st century with the elimination of malaria in 15 countries, new vaccine technologies and a renewed focus on health equity. Yet we still have work to do: nearly half of the current health burden in the United States is attributable to preventable risk factors. The field of public health addresses these factors to achieve health for all.
2. Public health is in everything.
Public health is an interdisciplinary field that protects the health of individuals and communities [in which] we live, learn, work and play. Public health is about air, water, science, justice, climate, hope, healing, public good, nutrition, fitness, preparedness, advocacy, surveillance, security , mutual empowerment, vaccination and more. The achievements, challenges and work of public health surround us in our daily lives.
While public health is in everything, it’s not the only thing. It aligns science and practice with multidisciplinary and community collaboration. Public health is a complex professional field that addresses major issues in our world today.
3. Public health issues.
When public health works, people don’t see it. The news cannot highlight epidemics that do not happen! As a result, the daily public health work that underpins this success may be missed.
It is a tragic irony that public health is most at risk from financial cuts, program closures and staff reductions at a time when it is having the greatest impact. Our society must move away from cycles of boom and bust: with COVID-19 slipping away from people’s minds, it is crucial that we rebuild and reinvest in our public health workforce to address inequities and prevent future emergencies of public health.
4. Public health connects us all.
It doesn’t matter what political party, religion, belief system or economic stratum we belong to. People need and expect excellent public health. This is especially true during a public health crisis. Our families, our communities, our country and ourselves depend on an effective public health response. This response depends on a strong public health infrastructure, education, trust in science and clear communication. Public health seeks to unite people and communities in the interest of improving health for all.
5. There has never been a greater need for public health leaders than in our time in history.
The number of converging public health crises can seem overwhelming, from pandemics to violence, to racism, to contaminated water, to maternal and child mortality, to climate change. There is a way forward: public health education provides professional skills for fulfilling careers that meet the needs of our communities and the world.
The demand for public health leaders is urgent: A recent national report estimated that state and local public health departments need an 80% increase in their workforce to deliver a minimum set of public health services.
Training leaders is what we do at CWRU. Across Cleveland, across the country, and around the world, our alumni fulfill the mission of CWRU’s Master of Public Health program: to lead health improvement, advance health equity, and create new knowledge. through the synthesis of innovative research, education and community partnerships. . We invite you to join us if public health calls you.
Want to contribute to the public health mission? The university’s Master of Public Health program offers full-time and part-time options, and faculty and staff can use the tuition waiver benefit to cover the costs. The program also welcomes dual degree opportunities with 10 professional degrees and affiliated graduates at the university and undergraduate students can pursue the graduate program through Integrated Graduate Studies. Learn more about the Masters in Public Health program.