Communities all over the world are confronted with health risks, and we are not just talking about the current COVID-19 pandemic. Across the globe, communities are facing threats like air pollution, obesity, malnutrition, natural disasters, drug overdoses, and chronic disease outbreaks. This is just the start.
At the same time, however, there is great hope for global health. There are over 18 million healthcare workers in the United States alone, and technological advances have enabled us to conduct research faster and more efficient than ever before. Now, we just need passionate professionals to join the field — to protect and preserve the well-being of our communities through advocacy, research, and education.
This is where community health comes into play.
Community health is a branch of the public health field, focused on helping people and populations improve their state of health. Those who work in community health work on the frontlines of public health, so to speak, educating the people and providing them with the services or resources they need.
In order to work in the field of community health, it is recommended you have a public health or community health degree. Typically, these degrees can be found at the bachelor’s level. A community health degree will prepare you to become an advocate for public health through a blend of classroom and in-field learning. At Goodwin, for example, those in our bachelor’s program learn how to administer health interventions, collect and analyze data, and provide health support to various populations.
If you feel called to help communities in need, you now know where to start. The question remains, where do you want to go? What can you do with a community health degree, and where can you potentially work? Below, we outline the top three career outcomes in the community health field.
1. Community Health Worker
When people think of the community health field, they often think of Community Health Workers (CHWs). Community Health Workers are professionals who work within communities to bring people the health services they need. They may provide basic health information and care to people within communities, or coordinate with healthcare providers to bring services in. They may also help implement public health programs within their community, or discuss health concerns with the community members. Ultimately, Community Health Workers advocate for the greater health of their communities, and ensure the people have access to the resources they need. Due to the diverse nature of their role, training and education is an important step. Community Health Workers may also be called Community Health Advisors, Community Health Advocates, or Community Outreach Specialists.
2. Public Health Coordinator
As we’ve discussed previously, the goal of public health professionals is to keep communities healthy and safe. A Public Health Coordinator develops campaigns or programs to achieve just this. They create health and wellness programs that are designed to tackle public health issues like obesity, second-hand smoking, water pollution, and more. The goal of their programs is to improve the health outcomes for affected populations. Public Health Coordinators, sometimes called Community Health Coordinators, are often found working in schools, business places, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.
3. Health Educator
A Health Educator, also called a Health Education Specialist, has one of the most important roles within this broader field. Health Educators are responsible for teaching others how to maintain good health. They also teach other public health professionals how to promote good health within communities. Health Educators, therefore, can be found in a variety of workplace settings. They may work in healthcare facilities, teaching patients about their insurance and care options, or about how to manage a pre-existing condition. They may work in public health departments, training Community Health Workers on important topics like emergency preparedness, nutrition, and disease. Health Educators may also work in private businesses or larger populations, teaching individuals how to adopt healthy behaviors and creating programs to improve the greater organizational health. Within each of these various roles, a Health Educator will often develop the educational materials and campaigns needed to teach people about specific health topics.
Public health is one of the most meaningful and impactful fields you can get into today, with all of the potential concerns facing communities across the globe. If you desire to make a difference in the lives of others, and feel called to work within those communities in need, a community health career is undoubtedly the path for you. The bachelor’s degree in public health at Goodwin University will prepare you with a robust education in community health, covering important topics such as health behavior, chronic disease, human health in the environment, occupational health, global health, community health, and more.
Visit us online to request more information about the program today.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.