The Rhode Island Department of Health works in collaboration with other state government agencies to implement over 100 public programs and services. As detailed in the Department of Health’s Strategic Priorities report published in April 2015, addressing the state’s social and environmental determinants of health will require the Department of Health to collaborate with the following state agencies:
- Executive Office of Health and Human Services
- Department of Children Youth and Families
- Department of Correction
- Department of Environmental Management
- Department of Transportation
- Department of Education Elderly Affairs
- Emergency Management Agency
- Department of Behavioral Healthcare and Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals
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The teamwork between state agencies requires the expertise of a diverse blend of professionals. Public health workers in Rhode Island stem from all educational and professional backgrounds, but are united by the desire to serve Rhode Island’s public. Just some of the many professional classifications within Rhode Island’s public health sector that have been given priority status for finding appointments include:
- Community, Family Health & Equity: Current job titles include, but are not limited to, nurse, occupational hazard consultant, program coordinator, epidemiologist, behavioral specialist, and social worker.
- Environmental & Health Services Regulation: Examples of jobs that have been advertised include toxicologist, biologist, entomologist, veterinarian, environmental planner, and natural resources specialist.
- Health Data & Analysis: Jobs include medical record administrators, technicians, and clerks.
In addition to jobs with the state, public health professionals in Rhode Island work through 13 nonprofit hospitals operating within the state. It was not until 2013 that the state saw its first for-profit hospital, exemplifying the state’s commitment to community health.
The Professionals that Put Public Health Initiates in Rhode Island to Work
Thanks to Rhode Island’s many diverse public health initiatives, specialists in nearly all areas of health are able to utilize their specific expertise for the greater good of the state. One common factor among many public health jobs, however, is the ability to collaborate with other governmental departments and non-governmental organizations. Several recent job postings demonstrate both the skill specificity and teamwork required in many of Rhode Island’s public health careers.
- Clinical Quality Improvement Specialist – Several responsibilities of this professional include the facilitation of quality assessment/performance improvement activities for Lifespan Medical Staff Peer Review; analyzing past projects and offering ideas for improving them; and working to ensure the hospital meets the standards of The Joint Commission (TJC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Department of Health (DOH), and other regulatory and accrediting agencies.
- Family Service Coordinator – Job duties include working with families to provide Health Needs Care Coordination, working directly with the assigned family counselor, and empowering families to coordinate their own services.
- Chief Clinical Laboratory Scientist – Job duties include, but are not limited to, acting as a resource on enforcement of state laws and regulations pertaining to the licensing and discipline of Registered Nurses, Practical Nurses, Registered Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Anesthetists and Midwives; working directly with Chief Health Professions Regulations.
Launching a Career in Rhode Island with a Master of Public Health
Given the level of collaboration that is necessary between state agencies and nonprofit organizations to put public health initiatives intro effect, many aspiring professionals pursue the multidisciplinary Master of Public Health (MPH) to prepare for a career in Rhode Island’s public health sector. All MPH programs, as required by the Council on Education for Public Health, prepare students with an understanding of the following core components:
- Environmental Health
- Health Policy and Health Administration
- Social and behavioral sciences
Understanding public health as a whole, rather than only specializing in one area, gives MPH holders an edge in applying for many careers within the field. In fact, some jobs even require an MPH for consideration. The following job listings demonstrate the value of an MPH in Rhode Island:
- Health Economics Specialist – Education requirements include a master’s degree in public health with extensive graduate level coursework in economics, or a master’s degree in economics with a concentration of coursework in health economics.
- Health Center Director – Education requirements include a BA or BS in health care management, with an MBA or master’s in public health and Advanced Practice Nursing licensure strongly preferred.
- Disease Intervention Specialist – Education requirements for job candidates stipulate graduation from a college of recognized standing, with specialization in a public health discipline.
The education requirements for the following recent job listings within the state show the value of an undergraduate education related to public health.
- State Director of Nursing Registration and Nursing Education – Education requirements include a bachelor’s degree in nursing and/or master’s degree in nursing or other health-related field.
- Health Mentor Specialist – Applicants are required to possess a bachelor’s degree in health science, social work, rehabilitation, psychology, education or a related field, along with a personal trainer certification.
- Infection Preventionist – Education requirements are a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, nursing or a related field, with evidence of graduate level courses in microbiology or epidemiology preferred.
Rhode Island’s Public Health Resources
Nearly all public health jobs in Rhode Island are found through state agencies or nonprofit organizations. Fortunately, there are a large number of nonprofit organizations, particularly hospitals, within the state, all of which employ a wide variety of public health professionals:
- Department of Health
- Executive Office of Health & Human Services
- Division of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology
- Rhode Island Public Health Associates
- Rhode Island Public Health Association
- Rhode Island Public Health Institute
- HealthSource RI
- Bradley Hospital
- Butler Hospital
- Rhode Island Hospital
- Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island
- Roger Williams Medical Center
- Newport Hospital
- Kent Hospital
- Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island