Public Health Officer

Finding the perfect job isn’t easy. There are numerous factors that have an influence on whether or not a career is the right one for you, and as such it’s important to spend some time learning more about the different options that are out there. The health care industry has always been one with strong personal and professional rewards, and as such it’s one that many people consider. But entering it doesn’t have to mean that you will be providing one on one care to patients. Becoming a public health information officer, for instance, is a perfect way to enter the medical field and enjoy its benefits without having to provide patient care.

This profession has a lot of different benefits to offer those in the field, and as such it could be the perfect career path for you. If you’re unsure as to whether or not it’s the right call for your future, keep reading to learn more about what it has to offer.

What Is a Public Health Information Officer?

A public health information officer is the public face of a government agency, large public institution, hospital, university, or municipal department. They’re generally the person who is seen delivering information to the media or the public during times of health crisis, but will often work on various issues throughout the year.

Specific job duties related to the daily routine of a public health information officer include:

  • Examining any public health situation and determining the amount of information to release and what information should be shared with the public.
  • Planning and holding a press conference to provide essential information to the public during a crisis or health related discovery.
  • Coordination with staff, superiors, and other agencies related to the information and its impact on the public in general.
  • Preparation of materials such as brochures, fact sheets, and press releases that are used to spread information related to a specific health issue.
  • Development of different guidelines that are used during the sharing of information to the public or the media.
  • Utilization of social media to spread information as needed.
  • Maintain strong relationships with the public, the media, and others who have a direct relationship to any situation.

Characteristics

There are several different personal characteristics that will translate into strong performance in the field of public information. Strong education and proper training will have a tremendous impact on the success one has in the field, but the following strengths will help as well.

  • Strong Communication Skills – This is the single most important characteristic of a public health information officer. Conducting press conferences and interviews is a key part of the job, as is disseminating information to colleagues. It’s a must to have a good communication skill.
  • Good Organizational Skills – Those in this position will end up spending time planning and implementing health related campaigns, initiatives, and programs. As such, they’ll need good organizational skills.
  • Ability to Work Well Under Stress – The fact is that many of the biggest responsibilities of a public health information officer come into the light during times of crisis. They should be able to work under stress.

Nature of the Work

During any given day the tasks a public health information officer will be in charge of will vary greatly. They will spend a considerable amount of time developing and implementing programs and educational campaigns ranging from special events to informative brochure distribution.

They also handle relationships between media and health departments or health institutions, promoting services and delivering data to the various news outlets. During times of crisis they will often be in charge of handling press releases and press conferences, explaining current situations to the public at large.

Education and Training

A bachelor’s degree is required for entry into the field, and at least four years of experience in the field of public information will likely be required as well. Those in the field will focus their studies on a combination of health care and public relations, so the process of entering the field can involve very broad, diverse education.

Average salaries in this field are much harder to pin down than in other fields due to the varying nature of the job. Those who enter the field will find their salaries impacted by where they work, their training and experience levels, and much more.

References


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