The importance of qualified public health professionals

Global advances in public health - such as reducing maternal and child mortality and preventing contagious diseases through immunization or better sanitation - are responsible for 25 of the 30 years that have been added to our lifetime in this century. However, facing today's public health challenges has not become easier - and requires an understanding of an increasingly complex system of organizations and populations.

Find out more: Why do a postgraduate course in Public Health

“In an increasingly globalized world, it is important that all countries have a good public health infrastructure and well-trained professionals working in the field. In this context, it is vital to support research aimed at improving the coverage of health services in different countries ”, says the American Harrison Spencer, president of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH).

ASPPH seeks to promote research and education to solve current problems in the field of Public Health in the United States. Its role is to safeguard and expand resources to support schools and programs focused on public health, in addition to facilitating collaboration between institutions and developing partnerships in the public, private and third sectors.

"Our hope is that these efforts will strengthen public health education and, consequently, global health systems, with qualified professionals to deal with the challenges of the sector," adds Harrison.

For him, the studies developed in postgraduate courses can provide public policy makers with the necessary evidence to enact laws focused on prevention and the population. “The close work between researchers and politicians is essential to guarantee the long-term improvement of research and education in public health”, he points out.

The Brazilian Felipe Fregni, associate professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurology at Harvard Medical School highlights that, in Brazil, one of the great challenges - in addition to investing in infrastructure and qualifying professionals - is to close the gaps between knowledge and action, increasing collaboration between researchers and political actors who can actually put academic production into practice. Here, only a few professional master's degrees have lines of research linked to the services of the Unified Health System (SUS).

“It is extremely important that government officials have in-depth knowledge about the impact of their decisions on public health - how to use budget funds in the best way, for example,” says Felipe. "Public health specialists who work outside the government sphere can also put pressure on policy makers to have defined goals and to be able to calculate the impact of their actions."

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