A degree in public health prepares professionals to care for populations in urban and rural areas with various risks and diseases. Public health efforts can include safe-water projects, substance abuse mitigation, vaccination efforts, wellness programs and more.
The state of Washington has unique public and population health needs, creating a high demand for public health professionals. The online Master of Public Health (MPH) program at Eastern Washington University (EWU) reinforces this need: “According to Burning Glass Technologies, there is more than 13 percent projected growth for Emergency Management Directors, 10 percent growth for Epidemiologists, and more than 18 percent for Health Educators in the next ten years in the Washington region.”
If these demands are not met, there will not be enough public health professionals in Washington to effectively examine pressing health conditions. As a result, life expectancy will suffer.
Current Health Status of Washington
As the population continues to grow and many adults age over time, there will be a need for more support in the public health and healthcare fields. Data reveals that one in five Washingtonians will be 65 or older by 2030, and the leading causes of death in the state include cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the 2018 Washington State Health Assessment, “in addition to chronic conditions, other preventable leading causes like unintentional injury and suicide are associated with high years of potential life lost.”
The biggest concern for the well-being of Washingtonians is social and economic factors. These social determinants of health are known to severely impact communities that are not able to seek out healthcare — due to poverty or other financial reasons. Healthcare can be costly, leading many to be unable to get the help they need. Often, they suffer in silence.
Luckily, there has been some decline in heart disease deaths, HIV incidence, infant mortality and binge drinking. This indicates that more individuals are taking care of themselves and following the preventive measures put in place by public health professionals.
Despite this, many rural communities still experience an uptick in health conditions and high rates of unhealthy behavior. Many argue that lack of funding in these areas means that public health professionals prioritize wealthy communities over disadvantaged ones.
The Need for Public Health Professionals
To thoroughly understand and advocate for underserved communities, there needs to be a greater proportion of public health professionals in each county. Spreading out job locations for public health workers ensures that disenfranchised groups can receive the same level of healthcare as those living in wealthier areas.
Washington State Public Health states that “the current priority is to focus on public health financing, quality improvement processes, health disparities, workforce competency and community health assessment.”
Over the years, public health professionals have started researching diversity and health disparities to target the specific causes of certain diseases and environmental trends. This has helped communities prevent violence and injury among their members. Without the help of these professionals, many individuals might engage in harmful activities.
Preserve the Public Health of Washington With an MPH Degree
One way to preserve public health within Washington is to further your career and earn your Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. Those who enroll in the online MPH program at Eastern Washington University will make a difference in a meaningful way — by educating patients, slowing the spread of disease and increasing life expectancy.
Students will examine the sociological perspective of healthcare inequities and develop ways to improve them. In fact, they will achieve this accomplishment in as few as 14 months.
This intensive program allows students to gain practical experience in both rural and global health communities — giving individuals an expansive view of public health. For example, the Health Equity and Advocacy course covers the basics of healthcare and the social determinants that impact patients in certain communities. In the Environmental and Occupational Health course, students focus on the human-environment interactions that can cause health problems in different communities.
Graduates of EWU’s MPH online program will obtain the knowledge required to enter influential roles such as public health educator, contact tracer, community health advisor or biostatistician for Washington State.
Learn more about Eastern Washington University’s online MPH program.