S Goel, H Verma
S Goel, H Verma. Scope Of Dentists In Public Health. The Internet Journal of Health. 2008 Volume 9 Number 1.
Dentists are doing a great job today. Right from fulfilling the basic needs of restoration and prosthesis of common man, they are designing smiles of models, actors and others who want to enhance their confidence. They are doing well both in the public and the private sector. But with time their number is increasing and so is the competition amongst them. Moreover, there a very few number of seats for further specialization. There is now a dire need of these professionals to explore new areas and widen their scope of employment. One of the upcoming branches for them is Public Health!
Public health is the science of preventing disease and promoting health through organized community efforts. In a simple language public health lay more emphasis on prevention than cure. Public health is different from community dentistry in the sense that it is more generalized i.e. covers the overall health of the community rather than only the dental part. In this way the work area of a dentist gets widen if they enter in the field of public health.
Today there is very high demand of public health specialists in country as there is very large gap between there supply and demand. To enter in the field of public health, one has either to qualify postgraduate entrance exam (MD) or diplomat national board (DNB) after medical graduation (MBBS). Now there is another option for persons who don’t pocesses MBBS degree and still qualifies to enter in field of public health. It is Masters in Public Health (MPH)! There are very few prestigious institutes in the country including PGIMER, Chandigarh which are conducting this two year degree course. For this course, there is an entrance test (usually aptitude test) followed by interview of the selected candidates to check their writing, speaking and analytical skills. In the first year of their course students are given basic knowledge on the subjects of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Health Management, Health Economics, Environmental Health, Health Promotion, Research Methodology and Social Sciences to enhance their knowledge and skills in public health administration, prevention and control of diseases, designing a study and financing of health care. They are also given exposure of various public health programmes of the country. In the second year students do their dissertations followed by internship (usually in some public health organization) to gain practical knowledge about the field.
After completing the course, they can be absorbed in national health programmes and health projects as public health specialists, epidemiologists, health managers, environmental health specialists, occupational health specialists, health economists, health educators, health promotion specialists and many more. There may also fulfill the needs of international and non-governmental organizations. Thus, they may enter a wide field of public health which is more paying, challenging and interesting.