In New Hampshire, public health is a collaborative community effort. Most recently this has been exemplified by the state’s recognition and promotion of National Public Health Week. This initiative encourages healthy living habits with the ultimate goal of promoting health and well-being for all the state’s residents through targeted events that address specific public health issues. Private businesses, government agencies, and non-profits all play a role in such a campaign, offering incentives, encouragement, and most of all professional talent.
When it comes to salaries and job concentration, New Hampshire attracts qualified public health professionals and boasts some noteworthy statistics (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014):
- New Hampshire’s Substance Abuse Counselors, Mental Health Social Workers, Behavioral Disorder Counselors, and Substance Abuse Social Workers earn the fourth-highest average salary in the nation.
- Healthcare Social Workers in rural Western New Hampshire earn the fifth-highest average salary of all non-metro areas in the nation.
- Dieticians and Nutritionists in many of New Hampshire’s rural areas earn the third-highest average salary of all non-metropolitan areas in the nation.
- Medical and Health Services Managers have the second-highest employment concentration in non-metro Western New Hampshire of all other rural areas in the nation.
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New Hampshire enjoys a strong history of support for public health. In 2009, the state received $50.8 million in public health grants from the National Institutes of Health. More recently, in 2015, New Hampshire has received grants such as:
- $25.9 million for Dartmouth college to conduct scientific research into a variety of public health threats
- $1 million for ImmuNext, a company in Lebanon that develops immunotherapy treatments for cancer and auto-immune diseases
- $971,460 for a university in Durham to conduct public health scientific research
- $597,399 for Simbex, a bio-mechanical systems company in Lebanon that develops technology that can be paired with body function, such as advanced prosthesis
- $429,242 for Creare, a research and development company in Hanover that builds devices that relate to health care as well as nuclear energy
Typical Public Health Job Qualifications
While four-year degrees are often a requirement for many entry-level careers, more advanced graduate degrees can be critical for career mobility as well as more specialized occupations. These can provide public health professionals with higher-level skills that are used on a daily basis.
Public Health degree programs at the master’s-level are offered as generalist degrees as well as more specialized concentrations. General degrees will cover all of the following areas, while schools also offer the option to specialize in one particular subject:
- Behavioral and social sciences
- Health administration and health policy
- Environmental health
The following are recent examples of public health job descriptions from throughout New Hampshire, cataloged in April of 2015 and provided as illustrative examples of the range of professional options:
Site Safety Manager – The online retailer Amazon in Nashua was recently searching for this class of professional to ensure occupational safety standards and laws were met. Occupational safety is an important part of public health, as many preventable injuries and deaths occur on-the-job.
Candidates for this position were expected to have a master’s degree in Environmental Safety, Occupational Safety, Ergonomics, or a related field.
Toxicologist IV – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services was recently hiring for this class of professional to engage in bio-monitoring as a means to generate data regarding human exposure to chemical agents. This type of work is important in detecting environmental public health threats.
The minimum job qualifications were a master’s degree in the Heath Sciences, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physical Sciences, or a related field.
Environmental Program Manager – The state’s Department of Environmental Services was recently looking for this class of professional to develop and maintain implementation plans to meet goals relating to environmental air quality, specifically pertaining to particulate matter, ozone, and regional haze.
The minimum qualifications for this position were a master’s degree in Public Health Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Civil Engineering, or a related field.
The Professionals Behind Public Health Initiatives in New Hampshire
It takes the collaboration of public health professionals from both the private and public sectors to tackle New Hampshire’s most challenging issues. Examples of recent events in the state’s field of public health include:
Once again in 2015 New Hampshire has ranked first in the nation for having the highest percentage of mothers who breastfeed their infants. This is thanks to the collaborative efforts of the state’s hospitals, health care workers, participating private companies, members of the New Hampshire Breast Feeding Task Force, WIC programs, and the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. Public health statisticians, nutritionists, and epidemiologists have worked to determine that breastfeeding increases a baby’s immune system, health, and nutrition – factors that all have many additional advantages.
Every day the New Hampshire Immunization Program (NHIP) plays an important role in public safety as it relates to vaccinations and immunizations. Because of strong community involvement and effective strategies, New Hampshire has one of the highest rates of child immunization in the country. Program directors, epidemiologists, public health educators, and health care workers are the backbone of the NHIP.
Public health officials were recently involved in determining the extent of drinking water contamination for some residents in Portsmouth. The chemical contaminant PFOS was detected in the water system at the Pease Tradeport in May of last year, and now biologists, public health regulators, and environmental scientists want to conduct human tests to see if this contaminant is present in any person’s bloodstream.
Professional Public Health Resources
New Hampshire public health is both a private and public-sector challenge. The following agencies are just some of the public health resources available throughout the state:
- New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
- New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
- DHHS for Children, Youth, and Families
- DHHS Division of Public Health Services
- DHHS Division of Community Based Care Services
- DHHS Bureau of Behavioral Health
Governmental Affiliated Organizations
- New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Coalition
- New Hampshire Breast Cancer Coaltion
- New Hampshire Prostate Cancer Coalition
- New Hampshire Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative
- New Hampshire Community Behavioral Health Association
Private and Non-Profit Organizations
- Brattleboro Retreat Mental Health Services
- New Hampshire Mental Health Counselors’ Association
- New Hampshire Oral Health Coalition
- New Hampshire Public Health Association
- New Hampshire Nurses Association
- New Hampshire Environmental Educators