Public Health

Here's the Cliff's Notes version of the well-worn, oversimplified physician vs. public health worker fish analogy:

"A doctor and a public health worker stand on the bank of a river, watching a lot of sick fish go by. The physician says, "I'm going to jump into the river to treat as many sick fish as I can." The public health person says, "I'm going to walk upstream to see what's making all those fish sick."

In other words, the doctor is interested in the health of individuals, public health workers focus on populations. However, the distinction isn't that clear and neat. Plenty of doctors do work at the population level and plenty of public health people are interested in or motivated by the influence of their work on individuals.

What can you with a degree in Public Health?

The spectrum of public health careers is wide, but some of the most common jobs are health educators, medical scientists (epidemiologists), social workers and statisticians. Public health professionals focus on

  • Confronting global health issues
  • Improving access to health care
  • Controlling infectious disease
  • Reducing environmental hazards, violence, substance abuse, and injury
  • Implementing educational programs
  • Developing health policies
  • Conducting research

Source: Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health

Public HEalth Education

Possible Degrees:

Years of Study: ~1 year for an MPH, MHA, and MS

Public Health at Dartmouth

Dartmouth offers an 11-month, full-time accelerated MPH program through the Geisel School of Medicine that provides a uniquely comprehensive introduction to the U.S. healthcare systems and its impact on population health. Students gain an understanding of the medical care and public health systems and shape their interests through electives in health policy, quality improvement, and health services research. They also have the opportunity to pursue an independent internship or an independent research project.

More information

To learn more about Public Health, related degrees, educational programs, and the application process, please see the websites below.