In Texas, the public health sector consists of skilled research scientists, public-facing medical professionals, health policy officials and many others representing state and municipal departments of health, non-governmental organizations, hospitals, and even private sector corporations. From its medically underserved rural territories, to its many densely populated cities, public health initiatives in Texas rely on the collaborative efforts of professionals from the public, private and non-profit sectors alike.
The immense level of coordination required to facilitate public health programs and initiatives statewide is best understood when looking at some of the key players in individual cities:
- Austin – Health and Human Services Department, North Austin Medical Center, Northwest Hills Surgical Hospital, Texas Star Recovery, Austin Lakes Hospital
- Dallas – Dallas Health Services Department, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas Medical Center, Doctors Hospital, Green Oaks Hospital
- El Paso – El Paso Department of Public Health, Las Palmas Medical Center, Providence Memorial Hospital, University Medical Center of El Paso
- Houston – Houston County Public Health, Behavioral Hospital of Bellaire, Cambridge Hospital LLC, The Methodist Hospital, Park Plaza Hospital
- San Antonio – San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, Baptist Medical Center, Laurel Ridge Treatment Center, Nix Healthcare System, Southwest General Hospital
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Within each of these organizations are professionals dedicated to improving the health and wellness of Texans statewide. Among these workers are health inspectors, program specialists, biostatisticians, health educators, social workers, nurses, and epidemiologists, just to name a few. Together these men and women ensure that no matter where people may reside in the state, all Texans can rely on a dedicated community of public health professionals to serve the unique needs of their community.
A Look at Texas’ Public Health Professionals at Work
The large number of organizations employing public health professionals in Texas demands a diverse workforce. Every public health initiative in the state, whether carried out by government, nonprofit, or private organizations, requires the expertise of public health workers from a variety of fields.
Given the sheer number of careers in Texas’ public health sector, it can be difficult to pinpoint a few that exemplify the diverse daily work of the state’s professionals. Job descriptions from recent postings; however, give a glimpse into the work performed by professionals in a number of key public health roles (2015):
- Public Health and Prevention Specialist – Job duties include overseeing EMS training and certification programs, developing and implementing plans for inspections, and assisting in disaster response
- Health Science Officer – Job duties include overseeing a large and diverse research program, particularly the administrative and operational aspects of that program; entails working with the Associate Chief of Staff (ACOS) for Research and Development
- Health and Human Services Program Manager – Job duties include providing support to the Planning Council membership, creating timelines for Planning Council activities, and representing the department in meetings with City Council, city departments, school districts, college and universities, citizens and other stakeholders
- Community Outreach Coordinator – Job duties include recruiting community members to enroll in the Molina Healthcare programs through events and presentations, attending meetings and conferences as a representative of the company, and preparing the budget for area events
Master of Public Health (MPH) Programs in Texas
Given the specificity of jobs in Texas’ public health sphere, many aspiring professionals enroll in bachelor’s programs related to their desired field of work. However, many choose the interdisciplinary Master of Public Health (MPH) for their graduate studies, as it provides a deep understanding of all vital core disciplines related to working in public health. In fact, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) requires that all MPH programs cover the five core public health disciplines:
- Environmental Health
- Health Policy and Health Administration
- Social and behavioral sciences
Specialized MPH programs are also available that offer specific concentrations in one or more of these five disciplines.
Schools of public health and universities that offer MPH programs recognize four-year undergraduate degrees in virtually any major as meeting enrollment requirements for an MPH program. This makes a master’s in public health the ideal choice for those who may be making a career change to pursue a job in public health.
With the interdisciplinary education a master’s in public health provides, graduates are qualified to work in a number of fields. The following job postings demonstrate the value of an MPH, as well as the value of other degrees when pursuing a career in public health (2015):
- Program Manager, MDANderson Cancer Center – A bachelor’s degree is required while a master’s degree in public health, health education or health promotion, education or a related area is preferred
- Healthcare Transformation Provider Operations Supply Chain Manager – Preference given to those with a master’s degree with major in public health, business administration, or health administration
- Senior Policy Advisor (SPA) – Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree in public health, public policy, social work, or a related field
- Health Program Specialist – Education requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with preferable coursework in counseling, health education, education, psychology, social work, sociology, or a related field
- Assistant Administrator of Patient Care Services – The applicant must be a graduate of an accredited school of nursing, with a BSN required and an MSN Preferred; applicant must have a current Texas RN license
- Nutritionist Consultant – Requires a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition or Dietetics; and the successful completion of an internship that meets the approval of the A.D.A.
- Community Health Analyst – Associate’s degree in business administration, finance, information technology or a related area is required (may substitute 5 years of experience in lieu of a degree)
Public Health Resources for Texans
With an array of diverse jobs stemming from equally diverse organizations and companies, the career possibilities in Texas’s public health sector are nearly endless. What follows are just some of the state, nonprofit, and private employers that make up the public health community in Texas:
- Public Health Department
- Texas Health and Human Services System
- Beaumont Public Health Department
- Waco-McLennan Health District
- Public Health – City of El Paso
- Northeast Texas Public Health District
- Public Health-Comal County, Texas
- Beaumont Public Health Department
- Parkland Health & Hospital System
- Denton Regional Medical Center
- University Medical Center of El Paso
- The University of Texas Medical Branch
- Texas Public Health Association
- Texas Public Health Coalition
- Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas
- East Texas Medical Center
- Luke’s Woodlands Hospital
- Seton Southwest Hospital
- Riverside General Hospital
- Texas Medical Center | Memorial Hermann
- Baylor Scott & White Health
- Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals
- Texas Children’ s Hospital
- Scott & White Memorial Hospital
- Texoma Medical Center: Denison Hospital
- David’s South Austin Medical Center
- Medical City Hospital
- Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
- WellMed Medical Group
- University Behavioral Health of Denton
- Brownwood Regional Medical Center