The concentration of health promotion, education and behavior within the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, focuses on individuals at the community level. That is, what behaviors are individuals engaging in that will lead to optimal health? Health promotion jobs, focus on diet, exercise habits, medication adherence and other factors that contribute to an individualâ€™s health.
The program content for this concentration focuses heavily on four major areas that are essential to health education and promotion. They include concepts in health promotion, community health assessment, program planning and health communication.
- Concepts in health promotion takes a look at human behavior and behavior change â€“ that is, what motivates people to change lifestyle habits and how do public health professionals assist in engaging change? Students will learn a wide variety of theories that can be used when planning public health programs.
- Community health assessment evaluates the social and physical environments of a community and how they impact an individualâ€™s health. Access to healthy foods, safe environments for housing and exercise, and access to healthcare are all taken into consideration.
- Health program planning uses community health assessment as a framework for developing an appropriate health education program or health communications campaign. Students learn how to plan, implement and evaluate programs or campaigns for effectiveness of getting a public health message across.
- Health communication campaigns use mass media to disseminate health information to the public. The annual flu season campaign is an excellent example of this.
Typical titles for health promotion jobs include health educator, wellness specialist, health programs manager, health consultant and manager of education and training, to name a few. You will find these types of positions in health related non-profit organizations, consulting firms, local and state health departments and insurance companies.
MPH programs for working professionals
Some universities offer online public health programs, designed for individuals currently in the field, who are interested in pursuing an advanced degree in public health, while maintaining a full-time career. Programs generally require a practicum seminar and/or fieldwork following the end of coursework.
Learn about the University of South Carolina’s online MPH program.
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