2nd Edition

Working in Public Health Choosing the Right Career

Edited By Fiona Sim, Jenny Wright Copyright 2024
    254 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    254 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Public health has always been central to the population’s health and wellbeing, and people working in public health come from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds. This practical and accessible book maps out comprehensively the range of exciting and varied options open to those considering a career in public health. Uniquely, it provides helpful information on how to become either a fully-fledged specialist or to work in an operational practitioner role.

    This second edition provides an update on the variety of public health roles and the settings from which the workforce operates, with the inclusion of new material on climate change and sustainability. Written from a UK perspective, it nevertheless includes a chapter on working in international and global health. Each chapter is illustrated by career case studies and vignettes from people currently working in public health, illustrating their impact on improving or protecting the health of communities, as well as reducing inequalities.

    In an era when the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the spotlight on just how important public health roles are, this book should be essential reading for anyone aspiring to put public health at the heart of their own working life.

    Foreword by Christopher Whitty

    1. Introduction to the book and to public health

    Fiona Sim and Jenny Wright

    2. Health Improvement and Promotion

    Future challenges and opportunities – a vision for public health improvement

    Kevin Fenton, Regional Director London, Office of Health Improvement and Disparities

    Overview of the health improvement function

    Dona Milne, Director of Public Health, NHS Lothian and Cathy Steer, Head of Health Improvement, NHS Highland, Scotland

    Career Stories

    a) Ashley Gould, Public Health Consultant, NHS Wales

    b) Yeyenta Osasu, National Pharmacy Integration Lead, NHS England

    3. Health Intelligence: The Centrality of Information

    Future challenges and opportunities – a vision for health intelligence

    Myer Glickman, Head of Epidemiology, Climate and Global Health, Office for National Statistics

    Overview of the health intelligence function

    John Battersby, Consultant in Public Health, Public Health Analysis Unit, Office for Health Improvement

    Career Stories

    a) Matt Hennessey, Chief Intelligence and Analytics Officer for NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care

    b) Natalie Adams, Public Health Intelligence Practitioner and Specialty Registrar in Public Health

    4. Healthcare Public Health

    Future challenges and opportunities – enhancing the role of healthcare public health

    Mahendra G. Patel – Professor and Pharmacy and Inclusion and Diversity Lead,

    Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

    Overview of the healthcare public health function

    Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director for Public Health, NHS England

    Overview of the healthcare function in providers

    Anita Parkin, Director of Population Health, Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust

    Career Story

    Laura Bridle, Public Health Consultant Midwife

    5. Health Protection

    Future challenges and opportunities – vision for the health protection function

    Tracy Daszkiewicz, Executive Director of Public Health, Aneurin Bevan University Hospital Board, Gwent, Wales

    Overview of the health protection function

    Andrew Jones, Deputy National Director of Health Protection and Screening Services, Public Health Wales and Giri Shankar, Director of Health Protection, Public Health Wales

    Career Stories

    a) David Roberts, Consultant in Health Protection, UK Health Security Agency

    b) Oluwakemi Olufon, Principal Health Protection Practitioner, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)

    6. Academic Public Health

    Challenges and opportunities – vision for academic public health

    Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    Overview of the academic public health function

    John Ford, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Health Equity, Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University, London

    Career Story

    Clare Bambra, Professor of Public Health, Newcastle University

    7. International and Global Health

    Challenges and opportunities – vision for international and global public health

    David Heymann, Professor of Infectious Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Head of the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House

    Overview of international and global public health

    Mala Rao, Director, Ethnicity and Health Unit, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College, London and

    Leena Inamdar, Global Health Lead, Head of Programme, New Variant Assessment Platform, Science Group, UK Health Security Agency

    Career Story

    Manuelle Hurwitz, Director of Global Programmes, International Planned Parenthood Federation

    8. Sustainability and Climate Change

    Challenges and opportunities – vision for public health’s contribution to this major issue

    Jenny Griffiths, Public Health and Climate Change Activist

    Overview of public health’s contribution to climate change and sustainability

    David Pencheon, Honorary Professor, Health and Sustainable Development, Exeter University

    Career Story

    Isobel Braithwaite, National Institute of Health and Care Research Academic Clinical Fellow in Public Health, University College of London

    9. Public Health Functions Useful Resources

    10. Local Government

    Challenges and opportunities – vision for public health in local government

    Sarah Price, Chief for Population Health and Inequalities and Deputy Chief Executive, NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care

    Overview of local government as a public health setting

    Greg Fell, Director of Public Health, Sheffield City Council

    Career Story

    Shakiba Habibula, Consultant in Public Health, Oxfordshire County Council

    11. Health Policy and System Leadership

    Challenges and opportunities – vision for system leadership and system leadership

    Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive, The Health Foundation

    Championing public health policy and system leadership – two perspectives from The King’s Fund

    David Buck, Senior Fellow in Public Health and Health Inequalities

    Durka Dougall, Public Health Consultant and Population Health Specialist

    Career Story

    Anne Johnson, Professor of Epidemiology and Director of Centre of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, University College, London and President of the Academy of Medical Sciences

    12. UK Voluntary and Community Sector

    Challenges and opportunities – vision for the voluntary and community sector’s contribution to public health

    Shirley Cramer, former Chief Executive, the Royal Society for Public Health

    Overview of the voluntary and community sector as a public health setting

    Andrew Evans, Chief Executive of the charity METRO

    Career Story

    Joanne Bosanquet, Chief Executive Officer, Foundation of Nursing Studies

    13. Settings for Public Health Practice Useful Reading

    14. Undergraduate and postgraduate education

    a) Degree level courses

    Susie Sykes, Professor of Public Health and Health Promotion, London South Bank University

    b) Postgraduate Education

    Jennifer Gosling, Assistant Professor in Management, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and

    Dalya Marks, Associate Professor of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

    15. UK higher specialist training scheme

    The UK training programme and personal perspectives

    Amy Potter, Consultant in Public Health, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Katie Ferguson, Consultant in Public Health, London Borough of Islington

    16. Personal and professional development for practitioners and specialists

    Fiona Sim and Jenny Wright with specific help from

    Jan Yates, Consultant in Public Health (focus on specialists) and Em Rahman Head of Public Health Workforce Development Programmes, School of Public Health, Health Education England, Wessex (focus on practitioners)

    17. Getting Into Public Health Useful Web-Based Resources

    18. How to Proceed from Here

    Fiona Sim and Jenny Wright


    Fiona Sim trained in both general practice and public health and has held senior roles in public health, NHS management, education and the civil service. She has had a longstanding focus on building capacity and capability to improve health and reduce inequalities, including leading the establishment of voluntary regulation of public health specialists while at the English Department of Health. She is a former Chair of the Royal Society for Public Health, and was joint Editor-in-Chief of Public Health for 20 years until 2020. She was awarded an OBE for services to public health in 2015.

    Jenny Wright’s career spanned social work, research, NHS planning and management before she entered public health. She qualified as a specialist in public health in the early 2000s as soon as this was made possible for those from backgrounds other than medicine and ran a highly successful public health consultancy within the NHS. The latter part of her career was devoted to public health workforce development, focusing on developing the first UK-wide competence framework applicable to the whole public health workforce. She also led the work to develop and run the first UK public health careers website.

    "Whether working in national government, local government, academia, the NHS, internationally or the wider health system, public health is a great career. It is possible to move between different parts of the system far more easily than many other areas of health, allowing for intellectual and practical variety. If you are thinking of moving into public health this book allows you to see some of the breadth, excitement and impact on improving the health of society that can follow."

    Professor Christopher Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England (from the Foreword to the new edition)