The multidisciplinary public health sector in Nevada is led by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which works to promote the health and well being of Nevada’s residents through a variety of public services. With a federal and state budget of more than $7.4 billion in fiscal year 2014 and 2015, the DHHS alone employs over 5,200 public health workers, many of which collaborate with employees of nonprofit organizations to fight specific health issues.
The DHHS is divided into five divisions, each of which carries out its own public health initiatives. Through the work of a variety of professionals including nurses, social workers, rehabilitation counselors, family services specialists, biostatisticians, and health program representatives, the DHHS is aggressively fighting Nevada’s most pressing health issues.
The five divisions of the DHHS are:
- Aging and Disability Services
- Child and Family Services
- Health Care Financing and Policy (Medicaid)
- Public and Behavioral Health
- Welfare and Supportive Services
The state’s Differential Response (DR) program is just one example of a DHHS-headed project that collaborates with nonprofit organizations. A joint effort between the DHHS, Nevada Child Protective Service Agencies (CPS), and Family Resource Centers (FRC), the program responds to screened-in Priority 3 child abuse/neglect cases and provides families with the resources they need to ensure their child’s health and well being. The state’s DR program enlists the services of a number of nonprofit organizations throughout Nevada including:
- The Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada
- Washoe County School District Family Resource Center Coalition
- Ron Woods Family Resource Center
- FRIENDS Family Resource Center
In addition to state and nonprofit public health organizations, Nevada is home to a number of private and for-profit businesses, each providing their own public health services. Due to the quantity and diversity of public health companies within Nevada, there are a multitude of careers within the sphere of public health.
The Professionals that Make Nevada’s Public Health Initiatives Possible
Careers within the sphere of public health in Nevada range from frontline professionals like nurses and social workers, to behind the scenes professionals like biostatisticians and research scientists, to health policy professionals like program directors that ultimately design and implement public health initiatives.
For example, the Palm Research Center in Las Vegas employs a multifarious work staff to perform clinical trials with volunteer patients to support the work of pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Just some of the jobs Palm Research Center supports include:
- Principal Investigator
- Clinical Research Coordinator
- Clinical Research Assistant
- Laboratory Technician
- Physician’s Assistant
Job postings for 2015 are shown as examples to demonstrate the diversity of skills put to use in day-to-day public health work in Nevada. A few examples of the different professions and their diverse duties include:
Health Research Analyst Lead: Job duties include, but are not limited to, using SAS statistical analysis software to analyze healthcare databases; conducting ad hoc analyses of data; formatting data and preparing research presentations; and providing expertise in multidisciplinary projects.
Health and Wellness Director at the YMCA of Southern Nevada: Among the daily job requirements are managing and developing wellness programs, conducting wellness courses for YMCA employees, and overseeing the annual department budget.
Family Services Specialist: Working for the DHHS, the specialist helps families determine their eligibility for a number of Nevada’s public health programs, along with other duties.
Industrial Hygienist: Working in Facilities Management Service for the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, the industrial hygienist will, along with other duties, develop, implement, and oversee an industrial hygiene program; serve as an environmental engineer; and conduct workplace inspections to determine compliance with Federal and DVA health and safety standards and regulations.
Earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Nevada
The multidisciplinary nature of Nevada’s public health sector demands an equally multidisciplinary education. This makes the Master of Public Health (MPH) ideal for many jobs, as these programs are specifically designed to prepare students in all aspects of public health.
In fact, the Council on Education for Public Health requires all MPH programs to help students develop core competencies in:
- Environmental Health Sciences
- Health Service Administration
- Social and Behavioral Sciences
Recent postings for employment opportunities demonstrate the value of an MPH for many public health careers in Nevada:
Sr. Public Health Preparedness Planner: Requires employees to have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in public health, epidemiology, nursing, education, emergency preparedness, or a related field. A master’s in public health or a related field is preferred.
Emergency Medical Services & Trauma Systems Manager: Requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in health, community services, medicine or a related field. Preference is given to those with a master’s degree in public health, health administration, or public administration from an accredited college or university.
Other examples of educational requirements for the wide variety of public health careers in Nevada:
Psychologist: Requires a master’s degree in psychology, counseling, education, social work, or a closely related field.
Elder Right’s Specialist: Requires a bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology, sociology or a related social science or human services field.
Research Assistant: A bachelor’s degree in business administration, healthcare administration, or another related field is required. Preference is given to those with a master’s degree, Juris Doctorate, or other advanced degree.
Nevada’s Public Health Employers
The state of Nevada supports more than 5,200 public health jobs through a variety of departments. Just some of the components of Nevada’s vast public health infrastructure include:
- Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health
- Nevada Department of Health and Human Services
- Southern Nevada Health District
- Carson City Health and Human Services
Additionally, Nevada is home to a number of nonprofits that employ public health professionals. In addition to carrying out the organizations’ unique initiatives, many of these employees work directly with the state to implement health programs.
- Nevada Public Health Foundation
- Nevada Public Health Association
- Nevada State Medical Association
- Rose Dominican Hospital
- Boulder City Hospital
Rounding out Nevada’s public health sector is the large number of private businesses that work with the public to address various health-related issues. Examples of these companies include:
- Fresenius Medical Care
- Palm Research Center
- Valley Hospital Medical Center
- Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
- Willow Springs Center