The public health workforce is very robust, but most people don’t know what happens in public health.
Ana Colon is part of that workforce. She is the Eastern Region Epidemiologist for the Virginia Department of Health. She explains that epidemiology is an application of science to public health. It helps to identify outbreaks, the good health status of communities and also to figure out what is working and what isn’t working- in terms of keeping people healthy.
It’s really important that the Virginia Department of Health is able to inform the people in the communities of anything that may jeopardize their health. Awareness is important, because people can then make better informed decisions regarding their health.
Patient AND Community
The Virginia Department of Health focuses not only on the patient, but the community that the patient lives in. They also focus on barriers to care that may be present in communities, to better help the citizens have open access to medical care.
Environmental Health is another branch of public health. It focuses on the prevention of disease, and also the relationship between people and their environment. Locally in Hampton Roads, they prevent disease by focusing on diseases transmitted in food, water and the environment.
Another branch of public health is emergency preparedness. They do a lot of training and exercises to make sure that in the event of a real emergency, the staff knows exactly what to do in order to protect public health.
A Rewarding Career
For anyone looking to join the amazing team at the Virginia Department of Health: a background in environmental health sciences, epidemiology, microbiology, etc. have all proven to be helpful!
The employees really love that they go to work every day and feel like they are making a difference. It’s a calling to be in public health, and the employees at VDH are truly heroes!
For more information:
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