Masters Degree Programs for Public Health Careers in Kansas

As of fiscal year 2013-14, Kansas’s state public health budget was $36 million, with another $55 from CDC federal funding.

Some of the largest funded public health efforts in Kansas at this time included:

  • Immunization and respiratory diseases: $5 million
  • Chronic disease prevention and health promotion: $13 million
  • Public health preparedness and response: $7 million
  • Vaccines for children: $23 million
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The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Division of Public Health, as one of the largest employers of public health professionals in the state, accomplishes the mission of protecting and preserving the public health through three, distinct functions:

  • Assessment: The professionals of the Division of Public Health are responsible for assessing and analyzing information on the health of Kansas residents, which includes examining trends in health, disease, and injury.
  • Policy Development: The public health professionals of the Division of Public Health take information gleaned through the assessment process and develop policies that are designed to promote and protect the health of, and prevent disease and injury to, the citizens of Kansas.
  • Assurance: The public health professionals of the Division of Public Health provide services that are designed to achieve state health goals. This work often includes working with community-based organizations that are focused on the same public health efforts that serve the needs of the people of Kansas.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the public health workforce includes nurses, scientists, doctors, educators, and other experts who work together to help the residents of Kansas become and stay healthy. The public health workforce often works in partnership with:

  • Healthcare providers
  • Schools
  • Businesses
  • Civic organizations
  • Faith-based organizations

One of the major programs of Kansas’s public health sector is Healthy Kansas 2020, a collaborative, strategic planning effort that is aimed at identifying health priorities that improve the health of all Kansas citizens. Through the work of Kansas’s public health professionals, both within the Division of Public Health, as well as through nonprofit and private businesses and organizations, Kansas has a clear health promotion and disease prevention agenda and state-specific measures and initiatives in areas related to:

  • Access to health services
  • Chronic disease
  • Disability and health
  • Environmental health
  • Immunization and infectious disease
  • Injury prevention
  • Lifestyle behaviors
  • Maternal, infant, and child health
  • Mental health
  • Oral health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Violence prevention

Public Health Jobs in Kansas

The public health workforce of Kansas provides a wide breadth of services to its citizens, including:

  • Health screening
  • Laboratory services
  • Immunizations
  • WIC
  • Disease investigation
  • Pre- and post-natal services
  • Health education
  • Dental services
  • Car seats
  • Foot care
  • Emergency preparedness
  • School health services

The heroes of public health are numerous, given the sheer size of the public health sector in Kansas. Just a few of the professionals who ensure the successful creation and implementation of public health programs in Kansas include:

  • Public Health Educator: Provides technical assistance to local coalitions receiving state grants and assists communities in strategic planning and research funding opportunities
  • Advanced Epidemiologist: Provides epidemiologic support for the Bureau of Health Promotion, which includes conducting literature reviews, identifying and analyzing existing data sources, and planning and implementing new data collection strategies
  • Fiscal Analyst: Provides technical assistance and monitoring for local programs and makes recommendations to management for revisions to state laws, rules, and polices in order to remain compliant with federal legislation
  • Nurse Epidemiologist: Collects and analyzes surveillance data, identifies trends, and observes ongoing conditions as a way to assess their contribution to the spread or control of infection

Just a few of the public health programs that have been implemented in recent years include:

  • Early Detection Works: A partnership between the Division of Public Health and more than 300 Kansas providers to offer free breast and cervical cancer screening services to women who qualify
  • Get Active Kansas!: Recruited more than 110 champions in 62 Kansas counties to serve as local advocates to increase physical activity in Kansas
  • Kansas Tobacco Quitline: Provides phone- and web-based counseling for tobacco cessation
  • Safe Kids Kansas Buckle Up: Provides free safety seat checks to Kansas residents
  • Healthy Homes Program: Targets older homes where families with young children reside as part of a larger effort to eliminate lead poisoning in Kansas

Degree Programs for Public Health Professionals in Kansas

In recent years, the preferred educational requirement for many public health jobs has been decidedly focused on the Master of Public Health (MPH).

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The MPH is often recognized as the gold standard of professional credentials because of its ability to prepare students to become leading public health professionals who are capable of addressing current public health problems at the local, state, national, and even global level through multidisciplinary approaches.

It’s no wonder then, that a large number of public health jobs through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment now either require or prefer an MPH:

  • Public Health Educator: Requires a bachelor’s degree in public health, health education, social services, or a related degree program, although a master’s degree in public health or a related field is preferred
  • Advanced Epidemiologist: Requires a minimum of a master’s degree in MPH/MS in epidemiology
  • Environmental Scientist: Requires a bachelor’s degree in environmental, agricultural, or natural sciences/resources, although graduate-level coursework and research experience in freshwater ecology or a closely related field is preferred
  • Fiscal Analyst: Requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, finance, public administration, or a related field
  • Public Service Administrator: Requires a bachelor’s degree in child development, child care, education, social work, or a related field

Jobs in public health outside of state agencies also often demand advanced degrees, such as the MPH:

  • Behavioral Health Sales Rep (Research Medical Center, Kansas City): Requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in business, healthcare administration, public health administration, or a related field
  • Nurse Epidemiologist (Saint Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City): Minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a current RN license
  • Director of Counseling and Advocacy Center (Kansas City Community College): Requires a master’s degree in counseling, social welfare, or a related degree

Resources for Kansas Public Health Careers

From health promotion and communication specialists to mental health professionals and emergency management experts, public health in Kansas is diverse and careers are plentiful. The largest pool of public health professionals is likely found through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Division of Public Health.

There are 100 local health departments in Kansas, all of which are governed by local boards of health or county commissions (Kansas is just one of 27 states that has a decentralized public health governance structure, which means that local health departments are locally controlled).

Just a few of these county health departments in Kansas include:

Public health jobs in Kansas, however, can also be found outside of the Department of Public Health. A few examples include:

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