Being dental students, we all have come across Public Health Dentistry/ Community Dentistry subjects in our final year of BDS. We often tend to confuse Community Dentistry with Public Health courses. A master’s degree in public health will not focus on dental aspects of healthcare but includes all of healthcare as a whole.
A Master of Public Health (MPH) degree highlights the productive aspects of the health of the public. We have increased life expectancy, but we are still vulnerable to diseases and bad lifestyle choices. This is where Public Health specialists come in. Their main objective is to improve the overall health and wellness of the human population. It is a noble goal, for sure. But is it something you would like to do?
Often, we come across the question of whether a non-clinical field will be suitable for us or not?! An easy way to understand this can be through this example: While a doctor treats people who are sick, those working in public health try to prevent people from getting sick or injured in the first place. They promote wellness by encouraging healthy behaviors. From conducting scientific research to educating about health, people in the field of public health work to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy.
The program intends to prepare students for their role in raising community awareness about infectious diseases, preventive vaccinations, injury, violence prevention, and other health and safety issues. The public health sector extends far beyond the conventional view of healthcare. With the help of MPH, you learn more about the issues affecting communities globally and how you can undertake those challenges through educative programming, new public health policies, services, research, or community organizations. There are various paths you can pursue if you’re interested in establishing your public health career. The path of public health is a union of disciplines including medicine that crosses with statistics, management, pharmaceuticals, law, business, technology, environment, and research sciences, enabling you to connect to your passions and discover the right fit.
As MPH programs are degree programs, students get a chance to engage in work-related activities. The course curriculum includes the form of an internship or practical training experience where the student understands job roles in the public health field, while under supervision. Some programs may require students to engage in projects such as research papers or grant proposals that show their proficiency in the public health area.
Some colleges and universities providing Public Health programs require students to choose a specific track or concentration for the program's completion. The tracks of Public Health are Biostatistics, Healthcare Policy, Public Health Management, Epidemiology, Global Public Health, Community Health Sciences, Environmental Public Health Sciences, Nutrition Sciences, and Maternal, and Child Health.
Biostatistics concentration teaches you to apply statistical reasoning and methods to the analysis of public health, health care, and biomedical, clinical, and population-based data.
Epidemiology concentration trains students to become public health professionals that possess the skills to critically analyze and understand how individual, social, and structural factors shape population-level health and well-being. You’ll apply descriptive and inferential methodologies to answer research questions and harness the concepts of probability, random variation, and commonly used statistical probability distributions. You’ll learn to implement and interpret the appropriate analytic methods or methodological alternatives to calculate key measures of association in public health research studies.
Healthcare Policy and Public Health Management aim to develop leaders who will influence policy and manage organizations to improve and protect the public’s health. You will be prepared to develop, implement, and evaluate policies and management strategies in health care and public health.
Global Public Health concentration trains you to engage with local and international organizations to design and implement effective global health programs, applying strategic principles of ethical reasoning and professional practice to advance health equity and social justice around the world.
Community Health Sciences helps you apply a social-ecological framework to population-based intervention strategies, as well as the assessment of social, cultural, economic, environmental, and institutional factors that contribute to health among diverse populations.
Environmental Public Health Sciences helps you develop a deep understanding of current global policy and practice, and the ability to advance sustainable, equitable, scalable solutions to environmental challenges.
Public Health Nutrition concentration trains you to promote health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases and obesity through educational and environmental approaches to improved nutrition and physical activity.
Maternal and Child Health help you focus on approach and systems thinking in the analysis of public health problems affecting MCH populations, and the development of interventions.
In terms of the job opportunities that a Master of Public Health provides will be some of the following:
Government Initiatives like National Rural Health Mission
Public Health Education
Research Methods, Data Analysis, Data Management
Health Care Analytics, Big Data, and GIS
Public Health Labs with Epidemiological Studies and Clinical Trials
Hospitals and Clinics with Public Health Administration
Clinical Research Coordination, Monitoring, and Evaluation Coordination
Healthcare Consulting, Corporations, and Industries
Regulatory and Advocacy Affairs with Policy Advisory and Analysis
Pharmaceutical Firm with Pharmacovigilance and Drug Research
Health Insurance Advisory with Finance and Economics
Public Health + Dentistry Scope:
Because you are already trained in health, medicinal practice, and clinics, understanding public health comes easy. You can impact the community as you are a doctor who understands their beliefs and issues not from your curative understanding but with more sociological, anthropological, and community-based thinking. With degrees in dentistry as well as public health you can work in areas like:
Research - Stimulate research in dental public health with an emphasis on disease surveillance, health services research, program evaluation, causes of oral diseases, and systemic/oral health interactions.
Community Dentistry - Encourage the development and maintenance of community dentistry programs. Improve access to dental care for under-served populations and the quality of care for all people.
Policy - Develop new oral health policies that can improve dental health like tobacco cessation control.
Develop and provide programs and services that improve oral health issues. It could be free or reduced-cost dental clinics, educational programs, or any number of other things.