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Wanted: Public Health Change Agents

By on November 5, 2013

No really, we really do need you now.

We are at a crucial moment in American history for persons of color. By 2050, we are projected to outnumber white Americans. This has significant social, economic, and health implications.

This is a call for my fellow brothers (and sisters) to consider pursuing a career in the health professions and how this can benefit our communities. As a racial group, we are severely underrepresented as healthcare professionals, but this disturbing trend can be reversed. If not, then consider the impact of not having enough African American health scientists, physicians, nurses, or even CNA’s. Research suggests that when health professionals of the same race, there is a heightened level of comfort and trust because of cultural and racial similarities and values.

Traditionally, when most people think of health professionals the first image that comes to mind is a hospital or a doctor’s office. While clinicians such as doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and certified nursing assistants comprise a significant number of health professionals there are other health careers that you may not be thinking about.

A dietician counsels people on healthier eating habits. Are you really into physical fitness and believe a treadmill should be a guy’s best friend; personal training may be for you. Health educators help educate  the public on everything from HIV/AIDS, cholesterol to diabetes. If you are mathematically talented, consider becoming biostatician?  The possibilities are endless, as health professions draw all types of personalities and career interests.

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics healthcare jobs are continually being added each year with a steady increase each year. How can you beat that? Given the current economic state of America, stable employment and career versatility is highly sought after. As a black health professional you are in the position to empower our communities to have better health outcomes. Plus it makes you feel good to be an advocate for systemic changes such as health insurance reform.  Of course anything worth having is not easy, and some healthcare careers are more challenging than others; requiring more sacrifice. However, the work is rewarding and you can truly make an impact on the individual, family or even community level.

Visit explorehealthcareers.org/en/home to check out great health careers. I hope you think about it. Remember what I said earlier, we need you know more than ever!!


Brandon Brooks is a graduate student at Drexel University’s School of Public Health, concentrating in Health Management and Policy.

Sources for this article include the Health Professions Network and the U.S. Census Bureau.



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