What is public health?


Public health is about helping people to stay healthy and protecting them from threats to their health.

Sometimes public health activities involve helping individuals, at other times they involve dealing with wider factors that have an impact on the health of many people (for example an age-group, an ethnic group, a locality, or a country).

Click here to find out more.


Who is the Public Health Workforce?

The public health workforce can be broadly split into two distinct workforce groups – those that are employed wholly in a public health role or capacity – the core public health workforce and 
the wider public health workforce  

For more information regarding careers in public health go to www.healthcareers.nhs.uk 

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Chance to learn about public health…in a minute

HEE’s Population Health and Prevention Team has just launched a series of short animations on the HEE YouTube channel titled ‘a Public Health domain in a minute’. This provides an overview of the four domains of public health: Health Improvement, Health Protection, Healthcare Public Health and Academic Public Health. The short animations were developed by the Wessex School of Public Health and is aimed at:

• Individuals wanting to learn more about public health as a career option.
• Institutes who are teaching related topics in schools, colleges and universities.
• Public Health teams and professionals wanting to promote the domain they work in.

For school teachers, college tutors & anyone helping those interested in a career in public health (also known as population health,) click here for a handy resource.


Wider Public Health Workforce

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The much larger wider or wider public health workforce includes occupations both within and outside of traditional healthcare roles and is estimated to potentially include around 15 million plus people in paid and unpaid job roles. Public health is not their sole role or occupation, they nonetheless have a significant public health role and contribution to make – sometimes well recognised by individuals / professions / occupational groups and sometimes not so well recognised. This presents a tremendous opportunity for us here in the North West and the NWPHPN is committed to supporting the development of this wider workforce in health and care settings.

The network is largely focused on the role of the wider workforce within health, social care and voluntary sector settings. 


Roles in public health

There are all sorts of career opportunities from entry-level roles right up to senior positions.

Whichever area of public health you choose to work in, you’ll be making a difference to people’s health and wellbeing in some way.


Why work in public health?

Find out about developing public health knowledge and skills, the rewards of a public health career, and the settings you could work here.


The Public Health Skills and Knowledge Framework


The Framework sets out the functional areas in which individuals, teams and organisations operate, to deliver on public health outcomes. 

  • Core public health roles currently require skills and knowledge at or above level 5 of the nine-level public health skills and knowledge framework (PHSKF). The PHSKF is a tool for people working in public health that describes the skills and knowledge necessary for their work, and helps them to identify their development needs.
  • Roles at levels 1-4 of the PHSKF may be considered as part of the wider public health workforce and as a potential step towards developing a career in a core public health role.



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Become a member

Becoming a member of the Population Health and Prevention Network gives you access to a wide variety of resources and opportunities to contribute and influence.