No society can thrive unless all its members are cared for and provided for. And public health officials play an essential role in community wellness, but this is not easy. There are too many people to educate, rebuild infrastructure, and achieve healthcare outcomes. As a public health official, this is why you play an essential role in accomplishing all these goals.
Whether it is creating awareness, advocating for the community, or establishing community health centers, without your help, a community cannot get better. However, the question arises, how do you do this? Public health professionals are the cornerstone of a functioning society and here’s why:
What Is A Public Health Professional?
Public health professionals are experts who are deeply involved in community wellness. This is why before you lend your expertise to your clients, you must have the qualifications that make you a specialist. Your job involves researching the population, studying common diseases, and tracking epidemics. Furthermore, you also need to know how lifestyle, socio-economic factors, and accessibility play a significant role in governing communities.
Whether collecting data, creating graphs, or working with healthcare providers, you need skills and experience to make your case. You might pursue a Master’s or Ph.D. in Public Health to hone your skills. Additionally, you may take continuing education courses and participate in training focusing on public health aspects. Programs such as online MPH are also helpful in keeping you up-to-date on the latest research and best practices in your field. The coursework will cover disease prevention, biostatistics and research methods, health care management, and public policy.
What Can You Do For The Community?
A community consists of individuals and families that can use your expertise to embrace wellness. This multilayered process needs your skills, knowledge, and understanding of the population. Hence, educate your clients, work with them and create outreach programs to promote their health. Here’s how:
Educating your clients is an elaborate process. You need to identify the source of the problem, discuss it at length and present a statistical analysis to back up your claims. At the same time, you need to prepare to address any questions your clients may have and deal with skepticism that may come your way. For instance, if you’re educating your clients about vaccines, you need to define what a vaccine is, its types, and how it impacts immunity and answer questions posed by those who don’t believe in vaccines.
The awareness you spread is integral in guiding clients to the information they need, connecting them to the institutes that can help them and ensure they understand the potential risks of what they’re up against. You can work in various settings, including maternity homes, clinics, schools, and offices.
The community you may be working with may deal with numerous issues, such as domestic violence, mental health issues, and substance abuse. Each of these problems needs to get tackled appropriately, and you will need to collaborate with the social workers and rehab centers to support your clients.
Counseling involves removing your patients from harm’s way and allowing them to express themselves and deal with their trauma. You can counsel your patients on an individual level or in the form of a group; in any case, you need to help your clients tackle their mental burdens. If your patient needs to get medicated or needs a proper diagnosis, make sure you guide them to a psychiatrist.
Regarding domestic violence and substance abuse cases, you must ask social workers to protect the family. Once your clients are far from harm, make sure you counsel them, take them to the hospital if needed and collect data on the prevalence of domestic abuse within this community.
Finally, actively working with the police to crack down on the substance abuse issue, match clients with rehab centers, and make sure a social worker continues checking up on them. When it comes to your client’s mental health issues, you can help them deal with their ailments, such as depression, anxiety, and panic disorders, since you have the license and authority to extend your expertise.
Set Up Pop Up Clinics
Healthcare is not always accessible. Patients cannot reach hospitals on time or don’t have the resources to pay for treatment. Not every American has insurance, and the lack of healthcare insurance leads to more out-of-pocket payments. However, you can provide preventative care services by setting up pop-up clinics in grocery stores and retail shops. While these may not be enough to diagnose an illness, they can help patients learn about their health, get screening and blood tests, and get the necessary vaccines.
These clinics also treat common infectious diseases, sinus infections, burns, and flu. Pop-ups also take care of fractures and injuries, which saves the patient from going to hospitals. This keeps the healthcare sector from burdening more cases and allows them to focus on more critical patients. Setting up a pop-up clinic is also a type of patient advocacy that encourages the healthcare sector to invest more in diversifying its outreach.
Public health is the heart of community wellness. Your role is integral in researching, investigating, and learning about what impacts the population and suggesting ways to solve it. This involves educating your clients and counseling them if needed. Lastly, you can also set up clinics and pop-up community check-up centers to make it easier for patients to find help, especially if they can’t access regular healthcare facilities.