COVID-19: Getting Involved in Public Health
Who is public health?
Our public health workers have been at the forefront of our COVID-19 response for the past two years. They protected us from illness. They coordinated treatment access when we were sick. They made sure we had access to tests, vaccines, masks, and helped us They have propelled us towards beating this disease by ensuring we had the most up-to-date information and resources. Our public health heroes in Wisconsin, and across the nation, stepped up when we needed them the most. And their actions have saved lives.
Traditionally, the public health workforce comprises governmental public health employees working for state or local health departments. This workforce is broader than many people may think. But public health is more than just preventing diseases. Public health is also making sure we have healthy homes, healthy environments, clean air and drinking water, access to resources, education, and support services. And to accomplish this, public health works in our communities, with our elected officials and policymakers, in government, non-profits, and in the private sectors. At DHS, we collaborate, innovate, and strive to improve our services, and expand our reach. We do this day after day to ensure every Wisconsinite can live their best life.
Are you considering public health as a career? Check out what our staff have to say about their role and day- to- day responsibilities at DHS.
- Name: Langeston H.
- Position: Senior Equity Advisor, Division of Care and Treatment Services
- Previous experiences: I worked in tourism, food service supply manager, assistant manager at a golf course/ski lodge, working with individuals with mental, developmental and physical challenges and children.
- Main responsibilities: My main responsibility is to develop a strategic plan to guide the largest division in the Department of Health Services in the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion.
- What is most rewarding about your job? Most rewarding about my position is that I’m tasked to bring forth change and awareness of the many disparities that marginalized populations face every single day.
- Any advice? Remember that many of the skills that you have or will develop are transferable to positions here at DHS. Always believe in yourself. Be bold. Be brave. Be great.
- Name: Lucy P.
- Position: Data Communications Specialist, Office of the Secretary
- Main responsibilities: I make sure our data is easy to understand by managing our COVID-19 dashboards, writing press release, scripts, and designing graphics so that we can communicate to the public.
- Previous experiences: Prior to working at DHS, I worked in campaign finance, non-profit organizations, as a research assistant, and as a server.
- What is most rewarding about your job? It is rewarding to provide resources, education, and data so that Wisconsinites can have the information they need to stay safe and healthy.
- Any advice? Public health is such a broad field and it encompasses so many aspects of our daily life. There is truly room for everyone in public health, no matter where your interests lie!
- Name: Katherine C.
- Position: Health Equity Consultant, Division of Public Health
- Previous experiences: I studied sociology, worked a bit in the fitness industry, and then moved on to social issue advocacy and campaign work at the beginning of the pandemic.
- Main responsibilities: I am responsible for leading health equity efforts for my bureau, and developing public health education, policies, and system enhancements to ensure all people have access to our services without inequities.
- What is most rewarding about your job? I had first-hand exposure to the barriers marginalized communities faced in trying to access health and sought out my current position to be able to continue my advocacy in a place that had large levers of change.
- Any advice? Always be open to opportunities!
Career considerations and opportunities
- Bio-statistics and informatics such as data analysts, IT specialists, and web developers.
- Communications, such as strategists, speechwriters, and media relations.
- Community health such as outreach workers and educator, grant specialists, and program coordinators.
- Health care providers such as physicians, nurses, long-term care workers, dentists, etc.
- Public Health Officers, strategists, and program leaders.
- Public policy and administration such as public health researchers, policy analysts, policy and legislative advisors, etc.
In addition, people working in jobs other than "public health" may have public health responsibilities. Police officers, county board members, emergency responders, legislators, and others contribute greatly to public health as part of their ongoing work. Learn more about opportunities at DHS!
What you can do today
There are many ways to get involved in public health. Below are some ways you can increase your awareness and knowledge.
As you’ve seen for the past two years, COVID-19 is constantly in the news. Whether through DHS or other reliable health organizations, stay informed with accurate information and help educate those around you by confronting health misinformation.
Find an internshipIf you’re a student and are interested in getting your foot in the door, look for an internship at an organization that you find interest in. This will help you discover multiple aspects of public health and help you gain the skills you need to succeed in public health. Learn more about
NetworkOne of the best and simplest ways to get involved is to ask. There are many ways to connect with your local public health professionals and ask them about their careers.
VolunteerMany local non-profit organizations, genuinely need all the hands they can get. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about your community and help improve health disparities.