Health Protection Officer
Health Protection Officers (HPOs) plan and implement activities that protect health and wellbeing in communities. They investigate public health concerns, provide advice and information to community leaders and the public as part of a public health enforcement team and carry out a regulatory role on behalf of the Director-General of Health.
Areas of focus are environmental health and communicable diseases.
In environmental health HPOs identify threats, quantify these and along with others, minimise them. Areas include bio-security and quarantine, drinking water quality, hazardous substances, resource management issues, amongst many others.
In communicable diseases, HPOs undertake surveillance and investigation. They work to prevent diseases spreading in food and water and enforce effective waste disposal.
To become a Health Protection Officer you will need to have a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree (majoring in Health Protection). The Degree takes three years of full time study to complete and is offered at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and Massey University.
Alternatively you can hold a Graduate Diploma in Environmental Health in addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field. Useful subjects to study at school are English, Maths, Chemistry and Biology.
Public Health Promoter
Health Promotion is about supporting people to increase control over the things that influence their health and wellbeing, often by inspiring them to make healthy choices.
Most Health Promoters work on one or two key issues (such as nutrition, tobacco control, violence prevention, etc.) or they may work in settings such as schools or marae with a focus on a group, such as children. They need a wide range of skills and usually continue to train in specific areas as dictated by the needs of their particular role.
Most Health Promotion roles require either a specific health promotion qualification or a tertiary qualification in a related area such as social sciences.
Public Health Programme Co-ordinator
Programme Co-ordinators work on a huge range of public health issues and are based in many different settings. While much of the detail of their work is different, they have a common set of tasks including researching, planning, and implementing and evaluating programmes.
Programme co-ordination is not a beginning role in public health but experience in project management, communication and other general work experience will usually set up a person nicely for this role.
You will need to have a well-rounded education. Useful school subjects are English, Maths and Information Technology. Other useful skills include the ability to communicate well, gather information and analysis data and manage different people and organisations through a project to its completion.
Public Health Doctor
Dr Neil De Wet
Dr Michael Baker
Public Health Physicians (doctors) have chosen to specialise in the health of groups or whole communities rather than working on individual healthcare. Most are involved in planning, funding and management of health services, the delivery of public health projects, communicable disease control as well as in academic areas such as research and teaching.
To become a Public Health Doctor you would need to first become a qualified Doctor by undertaking the Bachelor of Medicine Degree. You would then need to do specialist training for four years with the Public Health Medicine Training Programme which involves work experience and completing a Masters in Public Health.
Public Health, Community Health Worker
Iwi Te Whau Jnr
Community Health Workers in public health use specific cultural or community knowledge, and strong networks within their own communities to promote health.
There are no specific qualifications to enter the career as a Community Health Worker as training is carried out on the job.
It is increasingly expected that Community Health Workers have at least a Certificate in Community Skills or a Certificate in Health Promotion to support them in their role. The Certificate usually takes one year to complete.
Public Health Nurse
Public Health Nurses (PHNs) are registered nurses. They use their nursing expertise alongside their wider knowledge of communities, to promote health and wellbeing. PHNs play a key co-ordination role between families/whanau, communities and the health and wellbeing sector. They are also one of the first people to gauge any major social trends in the community as they see these trends impacting on their clients.
To become a Public Health Nurse you will need to have a Bachelor of Nursing Degree which takes three years to complete. You will also need to be registered with the Nursing Council of New Zealand and have a current Annual Practising Certificate.
Public Health Nurses take part in regular training courses, workshops and seminars to maintain their knowledge.