While the citizens of California face a number of public health challenges, the state has been highly proactive and frequently leads the nation in public health initiatives such as smoking prevention campaigns. California’s public health officials work in concert to address public health issues through a combination of research, public health program implementation and public policy – and are well compensated for their efforts.
The state of California aggressively funds its public health initiatives and had the sixth highest per capita spending in the nation as of fiscal year 2013-14, according to the Trust for America’s Health. That year, California spent a total of more than $2.48 billion on improving the health of its residents. This level of spending provides ample funding for the salaries of public health officials who work to improve the health of California’s residents.
The California Department of Public Health employs many of the state’s public health officials and acts in many different ways to protect the public. Its Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB) takes a threefold approach to this. It monitors pollutants and their related diseases, researches their impact, and informs both the public and public health officials of their findings. For instance, many local public health officials are not trained to evaluate the health threats of smoke from wildfires, and the EHIB educates them on this process.
California’s Department of Public Health also acts aggressively to prevent and reduce diseases caused by occupational factors. The Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control works closely with community members and stakeholders.
The combination of California’s high level of spending on public health, highly educated public health officials, top-notch academic research institutions and think tanks – not to mention a legislature that is willing to pass ground-breaking public health bills – all contribute to a positive climate for public health officials to work in the public interest.
Public Health Salaries in California’s Major Counties
The California Employment Development Department provides salary data for a number of public health professional classifications in Los Angeles and San Francisco Counties for 2014. While the salary for a given position can vary widely, professionals with degrees such as the Master of Public Health are likely to earn on the higher end of the salary scale:
Los Angeles County
San Francisco County
A Statewide Salary Analysis of Public Health Professionals in California
For comparison, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed analysis of the hourly and annual salaries of California’s public health officials for 2014.