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Public Health vs. Medicine: What to Know

Public Health vs. Medicine: What to KnowThere can be a bit of confusion when it comes to the term “public health.”

Some individuals may lump public health professions together with medical field-related jobs. But there is much more nuance to it than that. In very general terms, the field of public health focuses on health care. It deals with whole populations, more applied research, and disease prevention. Social policy and advocacy play a part as well.

Are you interested in joining the field of public health? Look into this list of the best online master of public health degree programs.

Public Health vs Medicine Careers

The field of medicine is more localized. It is concerned with individual treatment, diagnosis, and care.

Here are a few more differences between public health vs. healthcare. 

These professionals work to improve the quality of life for communities and populations. They don’t treat individuals and groups with direct medical care. Instead, they conduct research. They disseminate information to the public. This work can extend life expectancy and combat infant mortality. It can also reduce the incidence of communicable diseases.

MPH professionals are also often administrators. They are advocates for policies that will further those points. Some of the common job titles for people in this field include:

  • Epidemiologist
  • Health or medical center director
  • Biostatistician
  • Health communications specialist
  • Disease ecologist
  • Biological sciences technician
  • Health studies professional
  • Disease prevention
  • Environmental health emergency response expert
  • Human behavior analyst
  • Disaster preparedness researcher
  • Reproductive health specialist.

The common thread through these careers is the focus on broader care and prevention. You will work on solving a substantive health problem or environmental factors. That is rather than individual patients. There is a public service ethic and goal here when it comes to forming health policy. Along with solving health issues! That’s as opposed to the individualized care and treatment. This is predominate in direct medical intervention and other related quantitative disciplines.

You might work with a large patient group. Your interventions aimed at solving health issues in the public health field might deal with a very young or aging population. You will create health policy. This policy might be related to major threats, family planning, and other health issues. There is a natural alliance here, of course, with the medical field and related personal healthcare issues.

Medical professionals also want to improve life quality and combat disease. But they focus on the individual and treatment.

The hallmarks of this professions? Seeing patients to treat a specific ailment or repair a breach of the human body due to an accident. Medical professionals also care for individuals by providing a diagnosis or prescribing medical care or medications.

Specific jobs in this field include:

  • Nurses
  • Physicians assistants
  • Surgeons
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Home health aides

The major takeaway is that these are the professionals who provide the direct service that patients need.

Importance of Public Health in Medicine

Importance of Public Health in MedicineWhen considering medicine vs. public health, know that the latter is an important component of medicine. It focuses on the health of populations, rather than on individual patients.

Public health programs aim to prevent disease. They also promote health through education and community outreach.

Medical education often includes public health training. That way, future doctors are aware of the importance of population health. In addition, population health professionals work to develop health care policy and advocate for community health measures.

This field works to improve the health of entire populations. It plays a vital role in medicine.

Similarities Between Public Health and Medicine

Public health and medicine are two fields that are often seen as being very different. However, there are a number of similarities between the two.

Perhaps the most obvious similarity is that both health care professions share the same ultimate goal. That is to improve the health of individuals and populations. In order to achieve this goal, both fields make use of a number of strategies. These include health promotion and medical education. And of course, the development and implementation of health programs.

Another similarity between the two health care fields is that both fields are often evolving in response to new challenges. For example, the field of public health has placed an increased emphasis on addressing the social determinants of health. For example, housing and food insecurity. The field of medicine has shifted its focus in recent years to include more preventative care and lifestyle counseling.

Is public health a subdivision of medicine? Not exactly, but the two share a common goal. They utilize many of the same strategies. However, each field also has its own unique perspective and focus.

Public Health Medicine Salary

Public Health vs. Medicine: What to KnowPublic health professionals play an important role in society. They improve the health of communities and populations. They use their skills and knowledge to identify health risks. They implement interventions to address them.

Public medical care professionals can have a significant impact on public health education. They can also impact public health outcomes. In addition, medical education professionals often work within the community or medical education system. They ensure that everyone has access to quality care.

Public health professionals play an important role in society. It is no surprise that they are well-compensated for their work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for these workers is $43,000 per year. Salaries can vary depending on a variety of factors. Examples include:

  • public health education level
  • experience
  • geographic location

And what about medical education or care workers with a master’s degree or higher? They can earn much more than those with only a bachelor’s degree.

Public health workers with years of experience tend to earn more. That’s compared to those who are just starting out in their careers.

Public health workers in major metropolitan areas often earn more than those who work in smaller towns or rural areas. All public health workers play a vital role. They protect the health of communities across the country.

Medical professionals who work in this field often earn salaries that are higher than the national average. In addition, these professionals often receive benefits. These can include health insurance and retirement plans. Public health professionals are vital members of the community. They are essential to improving the overall health of society.

Medical Professional Salary

The cost of medical school is soaring. There is an increasing complexity of the healthcare industry. Many people wonder if a career in medicine is still a good investment. It depends on your individual circumstances. There are some important factors to consider when making your decision.

First and foremost is your expected salary. Medical professionals are among the highest-paid workers in the country. Some physicians can earn upwards of $250,000 per year.

It is important to remember that medical school is a significant financial investment. You will often have a large amount of debt when you graduate. In addition, your salary will vary. This might depend on your specialty and where you practice. Are you considering a career in medicine? Do your research. Explore all of your options to make sure it is the right decision for you.

Education Required to Work in Public Health

You might be wondering, “what will I learn in a public global health or population health program?”

A career in public health is a demanding but rewarding proposition. Those who work in public health have the opportunity to make a real difference. The field is global in scope. To be successful in public health, however, one must have a firm foundation in the medical sciences. A regional medical school can provide this foundation. There is also specialized training in public health topics. Examples include epidemiology and biostatistics.

Public health educators must be able to communicate their findings to policy-makers and the general public. A career in public health requires a dedication to lifelong learning. It also needs a passion for making the world a better place.

Education for Working in Medicine

The medical school curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become competent medical practitioners.

Medical schools vary in their medical curriculum offerings. Not all medical schools offer the same education for working in medicine. Some medical schools offer more medical curricula than others. Medical schools that are located in different regions may offer different medical school curricula.

As a result, it is important for students to choose a medical school that offers the specific education that they need for working in medicine.

What is in a Medical School Curriculum?

What is in a Medical School Curriculum?A typical medical school curriculum includes coursework in public health practice and medicine. There are also opportunities to learn about health outcomes.

The public health portion of the curriculum covers topics such as epidemiology, biostatistics, and environmental health.

Students also learn about the social determinants of health. These can include poverty, racism, and other forms of discrimination. The medical portion of the curriculum covers core topics such as:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • pharmacology

Students have the opportunity to take elective courses such as:

  • cardiology
  • neurology
  • oncology

By the end of medical school, students should have a firm understanding of both public health practice and medicine. They can then use this knowledge to improve the health of individuals and communities.

Final Thoughts

Medical and public health professionals. The difference between medicine and public health is that an MPH professional cannot treat patients. They cannot “practice medicine.” Only doctors can prescribe medicine. Only they can provide that level of care.

Both are noble fields with diverse professionals capable of helping people lead healthier, happier lives. Both work to make the world a better place.

There you have it! The differences between public health vs health care. Which one is right for you?

Are you still torn? Consider your goals. Do you want to work with illnesses on an individual level by providing care to patients? Or do you want to take down the disease altogether? Do you want to provide information and education to the public on how to improve the quality of their lives? Or do you want to improve the well-being of a handful of people on a daily basis?

It doesn’t matter which profession you choose. Whether it’s public health vs. medical care. You are sure to make a difference.

FAQ: Public Health vs Medicine

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Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor