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What is Public Health?


Faculty: Health, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Allied Health and Social Care
Course: BSc (Hons) Public Health
Category: Health

17 January 2022

The global pandemic changed everyone’s understanding of what public health is. It became much easier to explain what Public Health is by giving examples from COVID-19. However, I am always saying that it covers much more than pandemics.

Public Health covers all different types of diseases, regulates health systems, monitors data, and implements various interventions to prevent disease and improve population health.

I want to give you an example of a story I heard last year:

One sunny summer day, a doctor and public health specialist were walking by a river. Everything was okay, and they were enjoying their break.

Suddenly, they saw a body in the river. They were scared and went to help the person straight away. After a few minutes, two more bodies appeared. The doctor was shocked and didn’t know what was happening.

More and more dead bodies began to float over. The health professionals could not take them all out of the river, as it was filling with bodies.

The public health specialist stood up and started running upriver. Her colleague started to shout, 'what are you doing? Help me!'

The public health specialist said, ‘I need to find out why those people are coming and stop that cause!’

This short story gives a clear idea of public health and how it is different from medicine. Public health concentrates on health of populations and preventing the cause of the disease rather than treat a single person’s illness. Nowadays, many countries in the world understand how public health is important, and why it needs to be prioritised.

A public health degree could help you open doors in various organisations, for example, the World Health Organization. As a public health practitioner, you can also work in hospitals, the Ministry of Health, different health institutions, and charities. You can always run your own project and create something special.

A research journey is also possible. Some public health graduates continue their studies with an MSc and PhD and work with world-leading researchers.

Studying public health at ARU, you will learn about determinants of health, data, different diseases, epidemiology, health economics, health systems, people’s behaviour, policies, and much more.

During your studies, you will have a chance to understand what you would like to do after. Career advisors will work with you throughout all your studies and help you find the right journey for yourself and achieve your goals.

I think a public health career will perfectly suit you if you want to take decisions that could potentially help thousands or sometimes millions of people at the same time. If you are passionate about working collaboratively, having different discussions, analysing data, and generating unique ideas on improving specific health problems, this course is for you.

Deividas is studying Public Health at ARU in Chelmsford. To find out more about our degree courses and student life at ARU, book your place at an Open Day.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.