Infectious Disease Public Health Advisor

The demand for public health advisors continues to grow as potential pandemics, such as HIV and AIDS, and other infectious diseases continue to be a threat.  If you have interest in being on the front lines of disease prevention read on; a career as a public health advisor may be for you.

What Is An Infectious Disease Public Health Advisor

Infectious Disease Public Health Advisors work for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) investigating diseases and epidemics throughout the country.  The public health advisor will travel throughout the country talking with public health departments, patients, family members, and other health care facilities.  The public health advisor will ask questions to determine if there are similarities between people infected with a certain disease.  They will gather information about how many people in a given area are affected by a certain disease process.  The public health advisor reports their findings back to the CDC.  This information is helped to guide policy making and research to prevent spread of infection.

Public health advisors may be involved in patient education or community education in an effort to prevent spread of disease.  The public health advisor may be involved in creating new public health initiatives to further improve the health of the population.

Some of the duties of the public health advisor include:

  •   Interviewing patients
  •   Gathering demographic data on afflicted individuals
  •   Providing patient and community education
  •   Preparing reports of findings
  •   Collaborating on policy initiatives
  •   Managing public health programs
  •   Evaluating public health programs
  •   Providing assistance to local and state governments in relation to disease investigation and control

The effective public health advisor will have some of the following characteristics:

  •   Reliability
  •   Ability to work well with others
  •   Ability to work independently
  •   Attentive to details

Nature Of The Work

The nature of the day to day work of an infectious disease public health advisor can vary from day to day and location to location.  The public health advisor may travel frequently.  They may stay in the same location for a short period of time, or sometimes for several months depending on the situation.  The public health advisor is involved in interviewing health care providers and patients.  Active listening is an important skill for the public health advisor.  The public health advisor will keep detailed records of their investigation to help guide research and policy.

The public health advisor may create and deliver educational sessions to patients and providers.  They may be called upon to inform communities about the risks of certain illnesses and how to prevent exposure.  The may be involved in training health care workers in the diagnosis and treatment of certain illnesses.

Public Health Advisors may advance to the role of senior advisor.  In this capacity the senior advisor may oversee other advisors.  The senior advisor will be involved in policy initiatives and program development aimed at the control of disease.

The public health advisor may work in a diverse number of facilities throughout the community.  Public health advisors can be found in hospitals, clinics, community centers, educational settings, research facilities and teaching labs.

Education And Training

Most entry level infectious disease public health advisors have a bachelor’s degree in any field.  Typically a science or health related field of study lends itself to the role of public health advisor.  Upward mobility will often require a master’s degree in public health or a related field.

The salary for an infectious disease public health advisor can vary greatly dependent on education, experience, and specific job responsibilities.  The U.S. Department of Labor cites a salary range of $27,000 to $81,000 per year.


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