Working Upstream: The Various Careers in Public Health - View the video

Barbara Duerst

Barbara Duerst
Associate Program Director
UW School of Medicine and Public Health

735 WARF Building, 610 N. Walnut Street
Madison, WI 53726

Career Clusters / Help Topics:

  • Business Management and Administration
  • Education and Training
  • Health Science
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Barbara received a baccalaureate degree in nursing from Edgewood College and a Master's Degree in community health nursing and administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She began her career in Green County where she served as a public health nurse and eventually the Health Officer in the local health department. She spent 11 years working at the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health, part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Medicine and Public Health, on a variety of programs that promoted access to quality, affordable healthcare for Wisconsin's rural residents. While at the WORH she worked with several of the state’s health professions schools and training programs to prepare students to work in interdisciplinary teams in rural areas. She served as a Family Living Educator in University Extension where she focused her programming on nutrition and families in stress and transition. She taught a court-ordered divorced parenting class for several years. Barbara joined the MPH Program team in 2006 with over 20 years of experience in the field of public health through her work providing direct services, outreach, teaching, community assessment, curriculum development, field placement development, preceptor training, evaluation, and program management.

Public health careers offer something for everyone. Interested in mathematics and modeling? Epidemiology and biostatistics may be for you. Do you love everything science-based? Environmental health is an important area of study you may wish to explore. Want to make the health care system better and more efficient? Health administration incorporates business and management skills. Health education involves skills required to develop community-wide prevention programs. Health policy includes an understanding of law-making processes. Most experts agree that major advances in improvement of health over the next decades will not come from new medical findings or cures, but from more population-based prevention (or upstream) programs. Participate in this session and learn how a career in public health may just be the right one for you. (Running Time 21:10)