the world in our hands - public health predictions 2022

The Future of Public Health, and Where You Might Fit In (2022 Guide)

Learn about the current state of public health in America, and what the future of public health holds.

Suddenly, in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the spotlight on public health. The way that the United States managed people affected by the disease—and further communicated information about the disease—will continue to be a major topic of reflection for years to come. Peeling back each layer of response is a complicated exercise, involving an investigation of the government, hospitals, universities, schools, institutions, manufacturers, media, the retail sector, and so many more. Each entity’s reaction and stance to the COVID-19 pandemic is hardly in a vacuum, as we all became painfully aware of how escalations in one area could disrupt another that previously seemed unrelated.

In the CDC Foundation’s words, public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. If public health is concerned with the protection of entire populations, a pandemic has everything to do with this. How has COVID-19 changed Americans’ understanding of public health? What does the future of public health look like, almost two years into this pandemic? Does the public health outlook seem any better for 2022? We think so and hope that you can see yourself as part of the resolution.

To understand how public health is deeply integrated into society’s frameworks, let’s review how community health assessments are made. Public health professionals seek to understand vulnerabilities, to prevent problems from happening in the first place. They prepare for (and hopefully succeed in preventing!) emergencies by creating partnerships, aligning strategies, making assessments, developing policies, training personnel, extending knowledge to communities, and intervening in times of need.

When their best efforts are flouted and a public health situation cannot be avoided, the response phase kicks into high gear, as we can characterize the current (and sustained) moment in the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the situation is under control, recovery can begin, partnered with re-evaluation and improvements. Public health workers are found in many environments, innovating at each phase. Let’s not forget that in addition to COVID-19, other public health battles are being fought, such as those against addiction, obesity, diabetes, and equity in healthcare access.

With a master’s degree in public health to match your enthusiasm for this subject, you can make an impact on your community, city, state, and country, by working in these public health areas in 2022 and beyond:


The need for qualified healthcare workers is growing quickly. Between 2020 and 2030, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth of 2.6 million new jobs in healthcare! It’s no surprise that many public health professionals find their niche in the healthcare sector, as community health nurses or in healthcare program administration. Professionals in this area of public health typically focus on making connections that strengthen communities, such as carrying out work similar to what the Robert Wood Johnson Foundations’ (RWJF) initiative describes as cross-sector alignment. RWJF believes that the integration of healthcare and social services results in sustainable progress for community members and leaders in the field of public health.


The pandemic uncovered many problems related to the equity of patient care treatments. Racial and ethnic factors influenced the quality of care given to Black, Asian, Hispanic, and White individuals treated for COVID-19. Recognition of the deadly consequences of inherent biases has been well-documented between 2020 and 2021. One can only hope that public health advocacy workers will carry this important research into 2022 and beyond. Advocacy work as a non-profit director, researcher of healthcare economics, community center manager, or community health program leader is an ideal way to bring public health into a more equitable era.


When there’s no map and no resource management, public health fails. Some might say that the United States’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was a failure, from changing guidelines on masking that gave citizens whiplash and whittled down their trust, to supply chain problems that could have been avoided with increased duplicity. People who write public health policy balance program priorities and keep initiatives on track. They also stress-test for multiple scenarios. Those with a public health background who work on policy, managing health budgets, and in health litigation, can make a major impact, particularly when nothing goes as planned. These impactful positions can be found in government settings, at the local, state, or federal level.


Data collections, computer modeling, and research on disease and injury patterns are the core of what epidemiologists do. These public health scientists typically work in a laboratory setting in industries as diverse as pharmaceutical companies to global N.G.O.’s. They exist at the crux of problem prevention. Hopefully, technological advancements in healthcare will assist epidemiologists with research that gets ahead of future pandemic curves.

With the legacy of 2022 yet to be built, we must remain positive about the future of public health. After all, the U.S. GDP stands out ahead of all other major global economies, and we know now more than ever before about what to expect from COVID-19’s future viral evolution. It’s a perfect time to get started on a career that integrates many interesting disciplines while making a contribution to humanity.

Consider Goodwin University’s MPH program to begin making a difference beyond 2022, and to play an integrated role in the future of public health.