3 Agencies Where Health Care Administrators Help Promote Public Health

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Health care administrators must make significant decisions during their careers. Some of those decisions lead to exciting developments. Medicine is one of modern society’s most dynamic professions and offers a vast supply of opportunities and challenges. Public health is a sub-domain of medicine. Public health administrators might work in one of many settings, which could include consulting agencies, home health agencies, hospitals, integrated delivery networks, long-term care facilities, or managed care organizations.

In the environmental health field, administrators work with the land and its influence on the population. These professionals work to reduce the harmful impacts produced by chemicals and other contaminants.

The following three organizations might provide future public health executives with insight into the positive work that health care administrators pursue in order to improve quality of life for the population.

The National Environmental Health Association

In 1937, a group of environmental health experts founded the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) in the state of California. [1] The group wanted to launch an association that would establish standards of excellence for what was then, a new profession. According to the NEHA, they currently serve “5,000 members to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all.”

Today, the association calls that standard the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/ Registered Sanitarian credential. The credential signifies that a health professional has become proficient in the group’s body of knowledge and has worked in public health for a sufficient period to gain recognition as an expert in their field. The original founders of the association believed that the NEHA was a necessity for fostering growth in the public health field and earning society’s respect for the profession.

A fourteen-member board of directors, various committees, and technical consultants guide the association in executing environmental health studies and initiatives. To this day, the association continues to issue the Registered Environmental Health Specialist/ Registered Sanitarian credential to health care administrators who have achieved established standards of excellence. The NEHA also provides ongoing training and continuing education credits.

The American Public Health Association

The American Public Health Association (APHA) works to ensure that minorities and low-income individuals have a voice in the process of developing the health policies that affect their surroundings. [2] The association collaborates with other entities, such as WE ACT for Environmental Justice, to ensure that the groups have access to healthy living conditions. The APHA also works to promote environmental equity.

The group climaxes environmental issues that affect wellness and quality of life for communities in the United States. Part of this work includes targeted public service messages that showcase the connection between healthy environments and healthy people.

The APHA conducts research and initiatives that benefit high-risk populations. The group advocates for the many American communities that lack nutritious, affordable food and other necessities such safe walkways and activity areas as well as for populations that reside near industrial centers that emit pollution. For instance, the group worked with populations during the Zika virus outbreak to prevent transmission of the disease, support affected families and contain the virus to already affected areas. In response to the contaminated water incident in Flint, Michigan, the APHA made efforts to educate the public on lead exposure, provided tools for preventing lead exposure in the home, and helped support the Drinking Water Safety and Infrastructure Act to set standards for drinking water and ensure that everyone has access to safe drinking water. After Hurricane Katrina impacted the United States Gulf Coast, many public health workers undertook emergency responder roles. These workers supported this community in many ways, including setting up and staffing medical shelters, identifying and mitigating hazards, and helping coordinate emergency response plans.

The National Center for Environmental Health

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) develops, guides, and coordinates a national initiative designed to improve the health of American citizens. [3] The center operates across the United States to protect citizens where they live, work, and play. Using environmental monitoring, the NCEH tracks factors that affect public health. The National Center for Environmental Health works toward promoting a healthy environment and preventing unnecessary deaths, disabilities, and sicknesses, and places special interest in protecting children, the elderly, and the disabled. [4]

The NCEH leads research, sets standards, and provides recommendations that aid public health administrators in making decisions that promote population wellness. The center uses the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to study exposure to heavy metals and toxic compounds while working to improve environmental analysis equipment. This work mitigates the presence of environmental hazards and their harmful effects. Hazards might include air pollution, lead poisoning, natural disasters, radiation, and secondhand smoke. The center also operates the Vessel Sanitation Program and leads work to demilitarize chemical weapons.

Budding health care administrators will lead others in promoting community health. Public health organizations employee these professionals to train, motivate, lead, and inspire others to pursue work for the better good. With severa; public agencies in the United States, future public servants are bound to find an agency that stokes their passion for service.

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[1] National Environmental Health Association
[2] American Public Health Association
[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Carbon Monoxide
[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – About NCEH