Climate change and public health are intertwined, as the environment around us influences the health of our communities. By pursuing a degree that addresses the health impacts of climate change, you can be an advocate for the environment and public health while encouraging others to do the same.
How does climate change impact health?
Climate change is a significant factor in human health, impacting the population differently based on economic resources, age and location, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Understanding the general risk factors involved with climate change can support more informed decisions about environmental health and bring awareness to the problem at hand.
Some of the most common climate change influencers of public health include:
- Air pollution.
- Diseases carried by vectors.
- Environmental degradation.
- Food and waterborne diseases.
- Severe weather.
- Temperature extremes.
- Water and food supply impacts.
- Water quality impacts.
Of the climate change influencers listed above, some of the potential harms to public health include:
- Asthma and cardiovascular disease.
- Cardiovascular failure, leading to heart-related illness or premature death.
- Forced migration, leading to civil conflict or poor mental health.
- Injuries and fatalities.
- Respiratory allergies.
With a direct connection between public health and climate change, it’s critical to address these common health impacts to encourage a safer and well-informed future for generations to thrive.
Degrees that address our health and the climate
If you’re passionate about making a difference in our environment through the health of our communities, Arizona State University offers a variety of degrees online to consider.
Online Bachelor of Science in community health
As a student in the Bachelor of Science in community health program, you can build the knowledge and abilities needed to address health challenges at the source. This program can prepare you to create community-wide responses and advocate for diverse populations.
Potential career path: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), community health workers develop programs that are designed to help the public understand the conditions that can impact human well-being and behavior. The median salary for community health workers in May 2020 was $42,000.
Online Bachelor of Arts or Master of Science in global health
This Bachelor of Arts in global health is designed to support your efforts in identifying complex issues and creating effective solutions involving global health. The transdisciplinary degree program explores disciplines such as anthropology, epidemiology and evolutionary theory to provide a broad understanding of the various factors that impact well-being across different cultures.
Potential career path: Health education specialists educate people on specific strategies to improve overall health and wellness. These individuals can earn a median salary of $56,500, as reported by the BLS.
Similar to the bachelor’s degree, the Master of Science in global health is for students interested in exploring the social, cultural, political, ecological and economic implications of global health and awareness. This program can support you on your journey to prepare for more senior roles in a global health governmental agency, private sector company or research team.
Potential career path: An operations research analyst can make upward of $86,200 per year, per the BLS. These individuals use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to solve issues, such as those regarding global health.
Online Bachelor of Science in health education and health promotion
This Bachelor of Science in health education and health promotion is dedicated to better informing individuals about creating a healthier and safer environment. It provides support and foundation to plan, implement and evaluate environmental safety programs while advocating for health education.
Potential career path: Health education specialist and community health worker are two possible career paths. Health education specialists develop programs that promote well-being for individuals, families and communities. Community health workers often share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status and life experiences with the community members they serve. They may provide culturally appropriate health education and information, help people receive care, provide informal counseling and guidance on health behaviors and much more.
As of May 2020, the median annual wage for community health workers was $42,000 and $56,500 for health education specialists, according to the BLS.
Demand for these jobs will be high in the coming years. According to the BLS, employment in these fields is expected to grow 17% from 2020-2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Online Bachelor of International Public Health
Designed to meet the growing demand for global public health workers, this international public health program provides the foundation to better understand the aging population, infectious diseases and other health concerns.
Potential career path: An epidemiologist is responsible for investigating patterns and potential underlying causes of disease and related injury, as stated by the BLS. With this career, you can make a median salary of $74,560.
Graduate degree programs
Online Master of Healthcare Innovation
This leadership program focuses on exploring how innovation can help alleviate healthcare challenges. You can learn how to create and sustain cultures of innovation by studying decision-making evidence, system infrastructure remodeling, financing, communications, technology and policy making.
Potential career path: A healthcare administrator or manager is responsible for planning, directing and coordinating business operations in a care facility or hospital setting. With this career path, you can make a median salary of $104,280, according to the BLS.
Online Master of International Health Management
In the Master of International Health Management, you can evaluate global challenges faced by the health system and learn how to develop innovative solutions regarding health care finance and economics, patient safety and more. By understanding how public and private health care systems work around the world, you can be prepared to develop strategies for creating a healthier living environment.
Potential career path: A management analyst evaluates an organization’s efficiency and recommends or develops solutions to improve systems or organizational procedures. With this career path, you can make a median salary of $87,660, according to the BLS.
Start your path to creating addressing the effects of climate change
By creating better systems to address the health impacts of climate change, you can help make a difference in how communities live and prosper in the environment around them. ASU Online offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate health degrees, so you can find the best option that aligns with your professional goals and aspirations to positively impact our health and the environment.