A Public Health Worker is the friendly face people see when they have a health-related question. These skilled individuals typically are a trusted member of and have a close understanding of the community they serve.
This trusting relationship enables public health workers to serve as a link between health and social services and the members of the community. Public health workers increase health knowledge and self-sufficiency within communities through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy (American Public Health Association, 2009). They often assist in health system navigation; address barriers to care; and provide care coordination through referrals for needs such as food, housing, education, and mental health services.
Public Health Workers should have or want to develop the following skills
- Analytical – Collect and assist in data analysis to evaluate programs and determine the needs of the community.
- Instructional – Participate in public speaking to lead programs, teach classes, and facilitate discussions with clients, families, and healthcare teams.
- Interpersonal – Build relationships and interact with many people from a variety of backgrounds. Be a good listener and culturally sensitive to respond to individual needs.
- Problem-Solving – Think creatively about how to improve the health of the community through health education programs and services. Solving problems that arise in planning educational programs, such as budgeting or community resistance to services, is an example of this skill.
- Writing – Develop written materials to convey health-related information and assist in proposal development to secure program funding.