Public health directors are on the lookout for new diseases in their community.
They are in charge of the health of their city, county or region. That
means they keep track of illnesses such as meningitis. They make sure drinking
water is safe. They monitor coliform (a type of bacteria) counts at the beach.
And they give assistance during disasters.
"We deal with patient safety, water quality, disaster relief, immunization,
outbreaks of disease and research," says Stephen Gleason. He is a public health
director in Iowa.
Their job isn't to actually give vaccinations or test the water. They oversee
the operations, organize committees, direct health programs and evaluate current
health and social services projects in the city.
Public health directors work in offices. They are hired by the municipal
government. In the U.S., public health directors generally work under the
direction of the mayor.
The average workweek for a public health director can be long. "We work
60 hours a week," says Gleason.
Public health directors generally work in an office. But some travel may
be required. According to Gleason, a physically challenged person would be
able to do this work.