Protecting, preserving, and promoting the health and safety of the citizens of Michigan, with a focus on the needs of the vulnerable and under-served populations, is the mission of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). As such, the MDCH oversees the health policy and management of Michigan’s health, mental health, and substance use care systems.
The MDCH was created in 1996 to consolidate the Department of Public Health, the Department of Mental Health, the Medical Services Administration, the Office of Drug Control Policy, and the Office of Services to the Aging.
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About two million Michigan residents received services through the MDCH in 2014 alone.
The breadth of the services and programs provided by the MDCH make it one of the largest executive branch departments. The MDCH is organized as follows:
- Public Health Administration (PHA): The PHA, which contracts with 45 local public health departments, is responsible for a variety of aspects of public health policy, including:
- Communicable disease surveillance
- Outbreak surveillance
- Control and prevention of chronic diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and injuries)
- Health statistics compilation and dissemination
- HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease prevention and care
- Tobacco cessation
- Lead abatement
- Newborn screenings
- Office of Public Health Preparedness (OPHP): The OPHP serves as the frontline response to bioterrorism activity, coordinating the state’s bioterrorism response and all hazards emergency planning with the Michigan State Police and the State Emergency Operations Center.
- Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration: The Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration provides services to people who have a mental illness, developmental disability, or substance abuse problem
- Medical Services Administration (MSA): The MSA oversees Michigan’s Medicaid program, which provides medical assistance for low-income residents who meet certain eligibility criteria.
- Policy and Planning Administration: The Policy and Planning Administration is responsible for many components of DCH’s health policy and regulatory responsibilities and oversees primary care and access to care initiatives.
- Developmental Disabilities Council: The Developmental Disabilities Council works to ensure that people with developmental disabilities have the opportunities and support to achieve their full potential.
- Office of Services to the Aging (OSA): The OSA promotes and enhances the dignity and independence of older persons in Michigan.
- Office of Recipient Rights (ORR): The ORR provides direct rights protection and advocacy services to individuals admitted to state psychiatric hospitals and centers for developmental disabilities.
Public Health Careers in Michigan
The MDCH had total funding of about $15 billion and more than 3,100 employees in 2013. Public health careers in Michigan are plentiful, both through the MDCH and through its many partner agencies. Public health efforts are implemented through coordinated efforts of the MDCH and a number of nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and private businesses.
A large number of public health professionals are needed to implement the vast number of public health services and programs in Michigan, from epidemiologists and social workers to community program managers and environmental health specialists.
Just a few of the public health professionals in Michigan who make this possible include:
- Community Health Services Manager: Supervises the work of direct and indirect health care professionals and support staff in multiple disciplines and in a variety of services and programs, such as nursing services, clinical social work, and psychological services
- Rehabilitation Services Coordinator: Oversees a variety of professional assignments to assist and provide services such as treatment, outreach development, casework, and referrals to disabled persons by arranging, authorizing, scheduling, and monitoring accommodation services
- Environmental Manager: Directs the work of subordinate professional employees in a specialized area of environmental activities; work includes knowledge of the policies, procedures, and regulations of environmental health laws
Just a few of the programs in place to support the health and safety of Michigan’s residents include:
- Building Healthy Communities (BHC) Program is a strategic plan designed to reduce obesity and other chronic diseases at the local level.
- PATH: The Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program in Michigan is an evidence-based program designed to teach people useful techniques and strategies for active, day-to-day management of chronic or long-term health conditions, such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and emphysema.
- Breastfeeding in Best for Baby is a breastfeeding campaign that educates women on the importance and benefits of breastfeeding.
- The Suicide Prevention Plan for Michigan is a program designed to increase awareness across the state, to develop and implement best clinical and prevention practices, and to advance and disseminate knowledge about suicide and effective methods for prevention.
- The Michigan Health and Wellness 4×4 Plan are strategies for reducing obesity and improving health and wellness.
Public Health Degree Programs in Michigan
From the recovery and assistance efforts resulting from such disasters as Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terrorist attacks to such massive achievements as vaccinations, family planning, and tobacco cessation, public health has significantly changed the health and safety of our country. Public health, given its sheer breadth, demands professionals who possess advanced knowledge so as to effectively address public health issues at the local, state, national, and even global level.
Therefore, the Master of Public Health (MPH) has become a widely accepted educational route to senior-level public health careers. The MPH, which provides students with community-based education and research grounded in social justice, has become a desirable credential for public health professionals in local, state, federal, nonprofit, academic, and private settings, as is evident from current job listings for public health jobs in Michigan’s MDCH:
- Rehabilitation Services Coordinator: Requires a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, special education, social work, psychology, guidance and counseling, or occupational therapy
- Community Health Services Manager: Requires a master’s degree in psychology, clinical social work, or nursing with a clinical nurse specialty in psychiatry
- Environmental Manager: Requires a bachelor’s degree in the physical sciences, biological sciences, resource management, sanitary science, environmental health, engineering, geology, or in geological engineering
- Epidemiologist: Requires a master’s degree in epidemiology or public health with at least 12 graduate-level hours in epidemiology and biostatistics courses
- Public Health Consultant: Requires a master’s degree in public health or a public health-related field such as nursing, epidemiology, health education, genetics, public administration, social work, or counseling
- Senior Policy Analyst: Requires a master’s degree in public health , social work, public policy, public administration, or a closely related field of study
Likewise, many public health jobs in Michigan outside of the MDCH also require advanced degrees like the MPH:
- Research Associate, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: Requires a bachelor’s degree in a health related field, such as social work, nursing, or public health
- Planning and Implementation Analyst, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit: Requires a master’s degree in business administration, healthcare policy, public health, or a closely related field
- Public Health Informatics Analyst, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: Requires a bachelor’s degree, although a master’s degree in health informatics or an MPH with an informatics certification is preferred
Resources for Public Health Professionals in Michigan
Within the MDCH, public health professionals likely work out of one of the state’s 45 local public health departments, such as:
- Oakland County Health Department, Pontiac
- Jackson County Health Department, Jackson
- Mid-Michigan District Health Department, Stanton
- Clair County Health Department, Port Huron
However, careers in public health can be found through a wide array of Michigan employers, such as:
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- Henry Ford Health System, Detroit
- MPRO, Farmington Hills
- Neighborhood Service Organization, Detroit