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Public Health & Health Administration

The Business Side of Healthcare

Nature of the Work

Public health is the science and art of creating healthy communities through education, research, and promotion of healthy lifestyles. In public health, the focus is on health promotion and disease/injury prevention; this is in contrast to the medical model of care,which focuses more heavily upon diagnosing and treating illnesses and conditions after they occur. 

Because of their "big picture" perspective, public health experts play a key role in emergency preparedness and response.* This may be why public health has become such a growing field in recent years.

To pursue a career in public health, you must hold at least a master's degree from an accredited school of public health.  There are seven different types of advanced degrees in this field:

  • Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Master of Health Administration (MHA)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
  • Doctor of Science (ScD)

Health care is a business and, like every other business, it needs good management to keep it running smoothly. Medical and health services managers, also referred to as health care executives or health care administrators, plan, direct, coordinate, and supervise the delivery of health care. Medical and health services managers include specialists and generalists. Specialists are in charge of specific clinical departments or services, while generalists manage or help manage an entire facility or system.

The structure and financing of health care are changing rapidly. Future medical and health services managers must be prepared to deal with evolving integrated health care delivery systems, technological innovations, an increasingly complex regulatory environment, restructuring of work, and an increased focus on preventive care. They will be called on to improve efficiency in health care facilities and the quality of the health care provided. Increasingly, medical and health services managers will work in organizations in which they must optimize efficiency of a variety of related services—for example, those ranging from inpatient care to outpatient followup care.

For additional information about careers in Public Health or Health Administration, go directly to www.explorehealthcareers.org.