ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2017) 50 EC1.5 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.50.EC1.5

A career in public health - Leaving the lab to influence individual, community and population health at local, national and international levels

Mike Brannan

Public Health England, London, UK.

Public health is “the science and art of promoting and protecting health and well-being, preventing ill-health and prolonging life through the organised efforts of society”. It encompasses a broad range of professionals across the sub-specialisms of health improvement, health services and health protection who meld scientific rigor with practical approaches to improve the health of the population and reduce inequalities across society. In many ways public health is amongst the oldest of health disciplines, with the understanding of how the environment and behaviours impact on individual and population health preceding modern medicine. As a science modern public health has its foundations in the mid-nineteenth century when Edwin Chadwick made the association between a lack of sanitation and disease and mortality. However despite its illustrious history and the huge population health gains through public health (e.g. vaccination, control of communicable disease, tobacco control) it is seldom a career that scientist aspire to or have even heard of. This presentation will explain the types or roles available within public health and how a biochemist found his way from the lab and a career as a public relations consultant to develop a ‘third’ career in public health. It will explain how public health offers scientists an opportunity to utilise their capability for scientific thinking working with professionals from across disciplines (e.g. politics, communications, healthcare, planning, etc.) in work that engages and builds local communities to improve individual, community and population health.

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