While the world has made incredible strides in public health, the globe and its people continue to grow and change. With that growth comes new issues that need to be solved. This has led to a serious need for healthcare professionals. Those with a Master of Public Health (MPH) can help resolve some of these problems. Below, we’ve outlined some of the biggest issues facing public health in 2018. With hard work and commitment, MPH students can help ensure these problems become a thing of the past.
Prescription Drug Abuse
Across the nation, prescription drug abuse and overdoses have skyrocketed. In fact, with more than 72,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017 alone, overdoses are the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has named prescription drug abuse one of their key focuses, and is currently working with individual states and healthcare providers to weigh the risks and benefits of prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Along with Addiction Counselors, Master of Public Health professionals will play a key role in the fight against drug abuse.
While the Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947, it didn’t become a household name until it appeared in South America in 2016. This virus—which still has no known vaccine—is usually transmitted through mosquitos, and causes muscle pain, fever, rashes, and birth defects in the children of infected women. Although news on the virus has slowed since then, it is still considered a top public health priority. In fact, the World Health Organization stated that the “Zika virus infection and associated consequences represent a highly significant long-term problem.” Zika and other communicable disease are some of the challenges faced by Master of Public Health professionals.
Climate change has been a hot topic for decades. Last year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) named 2017 “the year of climate change and health.” They recently released a report that details success stories from states responding to the initiatives. The APHA states that climate change is a public health issue. It has the potential to harm the water supply, cause extreme weather, and increase vector-borne disease. The CDC echoes these findings, adding that it could also cause wildfires, air pollution, stress disorders, and food security concerns—all of which suggest that it must be managed by public health officials in the coming years.
While there have been great strides in cancer treatment and prevention, the disease remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports. Cancer will unfortunately continue to be a major public health issue in the coming years, as the NCI predicts that through 2030, the number of cancer deaths will rise by 60 percent, reaching a staggering 13 million.
Protection against global issues
As the world continues to get smaller, the U.S. is growing increasingly concerned about the health issues that could arrive on its shores from other countries. In order to protect itself, the U.S. has become more focused on identifying and preventing international diseases before they have a chance to harm Americans. In the words of the CDC, “keeping America safe means stopping—or better still, preventing—health threats everywhere.”
Earn an Online Master of Public Health with featured coursework in Public and Addiction, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Environmental Health will prepare you to respond to and help prevent these issues.