Why choose Public Health Medicine?
Public Health medicine is about improving and protecting the health of populations, such as a rural community, an entire city, or an age group. Public health consultants come from a wide range of professional backgrounds – from information analysis and economics to epidemiology, nursing or clinical medicine. They look at ‘the bigger picture’ and then take action to promote healthy lifestyles, prevent disease, protect and improve general health, and improve healthcare services.
Public health requires a passion for improving health and reducing inequalities in health. You will be interested in why people become ill, how this can be prevented, as well as how they can be treated. You will also be interested in how organisations and society can be changed to bring about better health. Are you passionate? Do you possess the drive and vision to make all our lives better by improving how and where we live? Are you a leader, facilitator and skilled communicator? A strategic and critical thinker whose field of vision always encompasses the ‘bigger picture’? Do you enjoy statistics and finding evidence-based solutions to complex problems? And do you believe that we all have the right to better health? If so, then Public health is for you!
Job prospects are excellent and most trainees find jobs close to where they trained and secure substantive posts in the last 6 months of their training. Public health offers a very wide range of career opportunities – from major management posts to specialised roles with substantial clinical content. Many public health consultants change jobs several times in the course of their career, taking on different challenges in a way that clinical specialties seldom offer. They are employed in a variety of environments and organisations, usually working at a strategic or senior management level, leading multidisciplinary public health teams. There is also great scope to practice abroad. The nature of practice has changed, just as the nature of the major health problems changes, but the principles remain the same. There will be a need for public health specialists for as long as there are avoidable health problems and health inequalities to be tackled.
As a trainee what can I expect from my training programme?
The typical training programme for specialising in public health is five years full time including one year spent doing an MSc. The masters course provides the knowledge base to take the faculty of public health part A examination. Trainees rotate through various placements in different settings and public health areas including local authorities, communicable disease control and academic public health. This allows them the opportunity to develop the skills to meet their chosen career aims. All trainees have their own educational supervisor and academic tutor as well as on the job training from a range of disciplines. Public health training programmes are based on regions so placements are only in the North East (Northumberland, Durham, Tyne and Wear, and Teesside): Cumbria comes under the North West training programme.
What our trainees say:
The North East has higher rates of deprivation than many other parts of the UK which meant I
knew I was going to gain some good insight into Public Health in practice. There have also been a number of key Public Health leaders that have trained in the North East in the past. The programme is geographically one of the smallest in the UK which means it is possible to live in the same place whilst rotating throughout the region.
The programme is very supportive of registrars. Our trainees come from a range of different professional backgrounds and we have an active trainee group which meets regularly to share experiences, consider any training issues and provide an opportunity to socialise with colleagues!
I most enjoy the variety of work and the opportunity to engage with people across a range of settings. Training in Public Health is different from other medical specialties and it is often difficult to gain insight from clinical settings.
Current vacancy information (links to HEE website recruitment page)
To find out more about our region and Trusts please visit the Find Your Place website.