Some of the best career opportunities for public health professionals are with government organizations. Many of these organizations are part of a healthcare reform movement that’s placing greater emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention as opposed to treatment. For government healthcare organizations, improving the health of populations is a means to reduce the cost of healthcare systems.
Government healthcare jobs provide many benefits and rewards. Government salaries are stable and there are many opportunities for advancement. Public health professionals can find challenging government jobs in many locations across the nation and around the world. Individuals who are interested in working with particular populations or who want to focus on disease prevention or specific health behaviors will find many opportunities among the thousands of government health jobs.
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the principal agency of the federal government responsible for protecting the nation’s health and well-being. The DHHS employs individuals with a wide range of academic backgrounds and experience for a variety of positions including nurses, doctors, medical researchers, biologists, epidemiologists, information technologists, economists and administrative specialists.
The DHHS manages more than 300 healthcare programs. Many agency employees work at the DHHS headquarters in the Hubert Humphrey Building in Washington, D.C. The agency also has employees working in 10 regional offices across the country and in international offices around the world. Examples of DHHS public health and healthcare policy jobs include program analysts who develop and evaluate hazardous emergency management programs; epidemiologists who work in teams to prevent illness, injury and death caused by infectious diseases; and health education specialists who assess and evaluate the quality of public health education.
Administration of the Medicare and Medicaid programs is one of the DHHS’s main responsibilities. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) employs health insurance specialists, information technology specialists, social science research analysts, management analysts, economists and actuaries. The CMS is located in Baltimore and has 10 regional offices in major cities around the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), located in Atlanta, is another major component of the DHSS. Responsibilities of the CDC include prevention of injury and disease, preparedness for new health threats, and promotion of good health. The CDC employs public health professionals with expertise in health statistics, epidemiology, public health informatics, environmental health, public policy and a variety of other specializations.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is another important DHSS agency. Located in Rockville, Maryland, the FDA assures the safety and effectiveness of food, medications, cosmetics and biological products. Examples of occupations with the FDA include attorney, chemist, consumer safety officer, information technologist, policy analyst and statistician. Other DHHS agencies that employ public health professionals include the Administration on Aging, Administration for Children and Families, Indian Health Services and the National Institutes of Health.
In addition to federal government jobs, public health professionals are employed by health departments and human service agencies at the city, county and state level. Some of the services provided by these health departments include mental health, public health, veteran services and care for citizens with developmental disabilities.
For more information on health careers within government organizations, visit these resources: