Public health is a team effort in Arizona that includes players from government agencies as well as the private sector. For example, just recently public health planners, nutritionists, public information officers, local businesses, and community activists recently came together to help Maricopa County observe National Nutrition Month with local activities, ad campaigns, and other community engagement activities. When public health professionals from all sectors come together the results can be inspiring. In this case the lives of young Arizonans who adopt healthy nutritional habits from an early age will be changed forever.
Not only do Arizona’s residents and professionals support public health – so does the Governor. The state’s 2016 fiscal year budget includes the following requests from the Governor’s Office:
- An increase of $1.3 million for the General Fund of the state’s Department of Health
- A renewal of $16.39 million for the Department of Health’s crisis services
- A renewal of $250,000 for the Department of Health’s Mental Health First Aid program
- A decrease in healthcare provider compensation that will result in $9.1 million more for the Department of Health
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According to figures released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014, Arizona is an attractive place to work for many professionals involved in public health. Arizona ranks among the top-10 in the nation in terms of total employment numbers or employment concentration for the following professionals:
- Medical and Health Service Managers
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Social Workers
- Community Health Workers
- Social and Human Service Assistants
- Healthcare Social Workers
- Behavioral Disorder and Substance Abuse Counselors
- Health Educators
The Face of Public Health in Arizona
Arizona’s public health professionals work in all sectors of society – private, non-profit, and government. They come from an equally wide range of specialized backgrounds that include public health, environmental science, epidemiology, and public relations to name just a few.
Public health jobs in all sectors – private, non-profit, and public – are located throughout Arizona, from rural areas to metro Phoenix. Examples of public health positions available in Arizona as of April 2015 include:
Case Manager with the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS in Phoenix – this position involves providing services that link clients with medical and mental health care providers as well as other community resources.
Senior Public Health Planner with the Coconino County Public Health Services – this position involves developing, implementing, and managing events and campaigns that are related to public health education, disease prevention, and health promotion.
Public Health Community Relations Manager with the Coconino County Public Health Services – this position involves developing and managing the dissemination of information to media, emergency responders, and health professionals.
Dietician with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health – this position involves providing women, infants, and children with nutrition assessment and diet counseling services.
Environmental Health Specialist with Maricopa County – this position involves field compliance inspections and enforcement of public health and environmental laws.
Having a wide range of skills allows public health professionals to come together and accomplish tasks as a whole that would otherwise be insurmountable. Recent public health efforts in Arizona include:
- The Maricopa County Department of Public Health runs one of the few clinics in the nation for people who suffer from leprosy, which has been present within members of the county’s population. Each month the county holds a clinic to monitor and treat patients.
- Each year the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS in Phoenix is involved in the AIDS Walk Arizona which raises money and awareness to combat this virus that affects or infects more than 15,000 Arizonans.
- The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology’s Arizona Chapter holds several meetings each year to strategize its approaches to promoting the prevention of infectious diseases in healthcare facilities.
- Professionals from diverse fields work with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to sponsor the annual childhood lead poisoning prevention program.
Making a Difference through a Career in Public Health
While a bachelor’s degree is often a requirement for entry-level professional positions, this often gives way to a master’s degree for more advanced career opportunities, especially in competitive marketplaces. Earning a master’s degree will raise the professional ceiling and can allow for further career development.
A Master of Public Health can be a sign of expertise with a foundational basis that is applicable to a broad field of professionals who range from Health Teachers to Program Coordinators. However the variety of professionals working in the public health field means future specialists will come from an equally varied educational background.
The following are examples of professional classifications and their associated qualifications required by employers from throughout Arizona:
Case Manager with the non-profit organization Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS – this position state’s that the most qualified candidates will have a master’s or undergraduate degree in Public Health, Health Services, Social Work, or a related field, plus at least one year of related work experience.
Senior Public Health Planner with the Coconino County Public Health Services – candidates for this position must have a master’s degree in Public Health, Health Administration, Planning, or a related field plus two years of related work experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
Public Health Community Relations Manager with the Coconino County Public Health Services – this position requires at least a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Journalism, Marketing, or a related field, plus three years of relevant work experience in public relations; or an equivalent combination of experience and education.
Dietician with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health – candidates for this position need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition, Dietetics, or a closely related field. Preferred education and experience includes at least one year of experience in public health, community dietetics, or outpatient dietetics.
Environmental Health Specialist with Maricopa County – candidates for this position must have at least a bachelor’s degree in Food Science, Environmental Health, Entomology, or a closely related field.
Arizona’s Public Health Resources
Public health organizations from all sectors of society want to recruit qualified professionals to improve the health and well-being of all Arizonans. The following are just some of the organizations operating in the state offering informational resources and potential job opportunities to aspiring public health professionals.
- Arizona Department of Health Services
- Maricopa County Department of Public Health serving Phoenix, Mesa, Peoria, Chandler, Tempe, Scottsdale, and other localities within the county
- Pima County Health Department serving Tucson
- Yavapai County Community Health Services serving Prescott and surrounding areas
- Yuma County Public Health Services
- Coconino County Public Health Services serving Flagstaff and other surrounding areas
- Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
- Mental Health American of Arizona (MHA-AZ)
- Arizona Women’s Education and Employment
- Arizona Public Health Association
- Arizona Rural Health Association
- Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS
- Arizona Senior Center Association
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology – Grand Canyon Chapter
- Environment Arizona
- Arizona Emergency Nurses Association