Environmental Health Advocate

Environmental health advocates are specialists who identify public health problems, organize public health campaigns, teach classes about good health, and empower the public to take responsibility for their health.

Environmental health advocates collaborate with other healthcare specialists to develop healthcare solutions which are promoted through local, state, and federal public awareness campaigns.

Environmental health advocates increase public awareness about the dangers of tobacco use, drug and alcohol abuse, poor diets, trans fats, and other harmful activities. When new health hazards are identified, these specialists provide the public with information, so it can make informed decisions about health and decrease health risks.

Job Duties and Responsibilities

The main responsibility of environmental health advocates is to increase public awareness about health problems. They identify risky behaviors, health epidemics, and future problems, and teach the public how to decrease the risk of being diagnosed with debilitating health problems.

They educate pregnant women about pre-natal nutrition and care, distribute nets to people in areas infested with malaria-carrying mosquitos, and administer immunizations to young children, adolescents, and adults.

Environmental health advocates often specialize in epidemiology, blood-borne diseases, communicable diseases, nutrition, and metabolic disorders. Some specialize in specific diseases that can spread rapidly through a population, such as West Nile Virus, water-borne diseases, bird flu, and MRSA. Some also specialize in diseases that have been linked to environmental problems but not scientifically proven.

Most environmental health advocates work 40 hours per week, but some are required to work occasional weekend and overtime hours, especially when major public health threats are identified.

Most environment health advocates spend their days in offices analyzing information and developing healthcare solutions. They occasionally travel to seminars, public meetings, and medical facilities.

Environmental health advocates work for government agencies at all levels, non-profit organizations, and consulting firms. They often specialize, analyze research, organize public health campaigns, and manage data.

Environmental health advocates assist various types of people, prepare reports, and collaborate with various health specialists, so they must possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. Additionally, environmental health specialists must be detail-oriented, work well under pressure and tight deadlines, and have the ability to delegate responsibility when organizing public health campaigns.

Education and Training

  • During high school, enroll in English, physical science, biological science, and math classes.
  • Volunteer for organizations that sponsor public health improvement programs
  • During college, major in environmental engineering, chemistry, biology, or other medical or scientific related majors.
  • Apply for summer internships where you’ll get experience providing education, participating in public health campaigns, and assisting impoverished people.
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field and take some communications classes
  • Some states offer environmental health advocate certificate programs. To obtain a certificate, you must acquire some work experience and pass a test.
  • Earning a master’s degree in a field such as environmental health science will enhance your job opportunities and earning potential.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that job growth for environmental health advocates will be stable over the next decade.

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