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Areas of Public Health Responsibility

FTEs put into the areas of public health responsibility correspond with the activities discussed in performance measures and the funding expended.

Assure an Adequate Local Public Health Infrastructure: This area of public health responsibility describes aspects of the public health infrastructure that are essential to a well-functioning public health system—including assessment, planning, and policy development. This includes those components of the infrastructure that are required by law for community health boards. It also includes activities that assure the diversity of public health services and prevents the deterioration of the public health system. [top]

Promote Healthy Communities and Healthy Behaviors: This area of public health responsibility addresses the promotion of positive health behaviors and the prevention of adverse health behaviors—in all populations across the lifespan. It also includes activities that enhance the overall health of communities. [top]

Prevent the Spread of Infectious Disease: This area of responsibility focuses on infectious diseases that are spread person to person, not diseases that are initially transmitted through the environment, such as food, water, vectors and/or animals. It also includes the public health department activities to detect acute and communicable diseases, assure the reporting of communicable diseases, prevent the transmission of disease (including immunizations), and implement control measures during communicable disease outbreaks. [top]

Protect Against Environmental Health Hazards: This area of responsibility addresses aspects of the environment that pose risks to human health (broadly defined as any risk emerging from the environment), but does not include injuries. This area also summarizes activities that identify and mitigate environmental risks, including foodborne and waterborne diseases and public health nuisances. [top]

Prepare For and Respond To Disasters, and Assist Communities in Recovery: This area of responsibility addresses activities that prepare public health to respond to disasters and assist communities in responding to and recovering from disasters. This does not include emergency medical services. [top]

Assure the Quality and Accessibility of Health Services: This area of responsibility assesses health care capacity and access to health care. It also addresses identification and reduction of barriers to health services. It describes public health activities to fill health care gaps, reduce barriers and link people to needed services. This includes direct care services such as emergency medical services, correctional health, health care services, and hospice care/hospice services. [top]


Job Classifications

This glossary includes brief definitions and decision guidelines for the titles in the expanded Bureau of Health Professions listing developed by Columbia University School of Nursing Center for Health Policy. These definitions have been slightly modified to fit with Minnesota’s public health workforce; modifications have been noted. For the complete report, visit: The Public Health Workforce: Enumeration 2000 (PDF: 1.64MB / 299 pages).

Health Administrator: This single category encompasses all positions identified as leading a public health agency, program or major sub-unit. This includes occupations in which employees set broad policies, exercise overall responsibility for execution of these policies, of direct individual departments or special phases of the agency’s operations, or provide specialized consultation on a regional, district or area basis. Examples of occupations include department heads, bureau chiefs, division chiefs, directors, deputy directors, CHS administrator, public health nursing director, and environmental health director. This does NOT include managers, supervisors, or team leaders. [top]

Administrative/Business Professional: Performs work in business, finance, auditing, management and accounting. Individuals trained at a professional level in their field of expertise prior to entry into public health. Examples of occupations include office manager and accountants. [top]

Administrative Support (Including Clerical and Sales): Occupations in which workers are responsible for internal and external communication, recording and retrieval of data and/or information and other paperwork required in an office. Examples of occupations includes bookkeepers, messengers, clerk-typists, stenographers, court transcribers, hearing reporters, statistical clerks, dispatchers, license distributors, payroll clerks, office machine and computer operators, telephone operators, legal assistants, secretaries, clerical support, WIC clerks, and receptionist. [top]

Environmental Scientist and Specialist: Applies biological, chemical, and public health principles to control, eliminate, ameliorate, and/or prevent environmental health hazards. Examples of occupations include environmental researcher, environmental health specialist, food scientist, soil and plant scientist, air pollution specialist, hazardous materials specialist, toxicologist, water/waste water/solid waste specialist, sanitarian, and entomologist. [top]

Epidemiologist: Investigates, describes and analyzes the distribution and determinants of disease, disability, and other health outcomes, and develops the means for their prevention and control; investigates, describes and analyzes the efficacy of programs and interventions. Includes individuals specifically trained as epidemiologists, and those trained in another discipline (e.g., medicine, nursing, environmental health) working as epidemiologists under job titles such as nurse epidemiologist. [top]

Health Planner/Researcher/Analyst: Analyzes needs and plans for the development of public health and other health programs, facilities and resources, and/or analyzes and evaluates the implications of alternative policies relating to public health and health care. Includes a number of job titles without reference to the specific training that the individual might have (e.g. health analyst, community planner, research scientist). [top]

Interpreter: Individuals who translate information in one language to another language for public health purposes. (This is not an official EEO-4/CHP/BHPr+ definition.) [top]

Licensure/Inspection/Regulatory Specialist: Audits, inspects and surveys programs, institutions, equipment, products and personnel, using approved standards for design or performance. Includes those who perform regular inspections of a specified class of sites or facilities, such as restaurants, nursing homes, and hospitals where personnel and materials present constant and predictable threats to the public, without specification of educational preparation. This classification probably includes a number of individuals with preparation in environmental health, nursing and other health fields. [top]

Medical and Public Health Social Worker: Identifies, plans, develops, implements and evaluates social work interventions on the basis of social and interpersonal needs of total populations or populations-at-risk in order to improve the health of a community and promote and protect the health of individuals and families. This job classification includes titles specifically referring to social worker. (This category has been modified from the original occupational title and includes “Mental Health/Substance Abuse Social Worker.”) [top]

Mental Health Counselor: Emphasizes prevention and works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health. This occupation may help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; suicidal tendencies; stress management; problems with self-esteem; and issues associated with aging, and mental and emotional health. It can also provide services for persons having mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems and may provide such services as individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and social rehabilitation. May also arrange for supportive services to ease patients, return to the community. It includes such titles as community health worker and crisis team worker. This category excludes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and substance abuse counselors. [top]

Occupation Safety and Health Specialist: Reviews, evaluates, and analyzes workplace environments and exposures and designs programs and procedures to control, eliminate, ameliorate, and/or prevent disease and injury caused by chemical, physical, biological, and ergonomic risks to workers. Occupations include industrial hygienist, occupational therapist, occupational medicine specialist, and safety specialist. It also includes a physician or nurse specifically identified as an occupational health specialist. [top]

Other Nurse: Helps plan, develop, implement and evaluate nursing and public health interventions for individuals, families and populations at risk of illness or disability. Other nurses include nurses with the following titles: RN, NP, and LPN. A nurse that has a baccalaureate or higher degree with a major in nursing and meets the requirements stated in Minnesota Rules Chapter 6316 should be classified as a “Public Health Nurse.” (This is not an official EEO-4/CHP/BHPr+ definition.) [top]

Other Public Health Professional: This includes positions in a public health setting occupied by professionals (preparation at the baccalaureate level or above) that do not fall under the specific professional categories. (This category has been slightly modified from the original occupational title.). Examples of occupations include physician assistant, laboratory professional, EMS professional, intern, speech therapist, and public relations/media specialist. [top]

Paraprofessionals: Occupations in which workers perform some of the duties of a professional or technician in a supportive role, which usually require less formal training and/or experience normally required for professional or technical status. This includes research assistants, medical aides, child support workers, home health aides, library assistants and clerks, ambulance drivers and attendants, home maker, case aide, community outreach/field worker, and advocate. [top]

Public Health Dental Worker: Plans, develops, implements and evaluates dental health programs to promote and maintain optimum oral health of the public; public health dentists may provide comprehensive dental care; the dental hygienist may provide limited dental services under professional supervision. This category is specific in its inclusion of only employees trained in dentistry or dental health, but abnormally broad in that it neglects the professional/technician distinction and includes the entire range of qualifications, from dental surgeon to dental hygienist. [top]

Public Health Educator: Designs, organizes, implements, communicates, provides advice on and evaluates the effect of educational programs and strategies designed to support and modify health-related behaviors of individuals, families, organizations, and communities. This title includes all job titles that include health educator, unless specified to another specific category, such as dental health educator or occupational health educator. [top]

Public Health Informatician: Provides informatics expertise to establish policies, practices, and procedures for public health informatics within a program or across the agency to ensure effective use of information and information technology. Also known as public health informatics analyst, public health informatics specialist, health scientist (Informatics). [top]

Public Health Nurse: Plans, develops, implements and evaluates nursing and public health interventions for individuals, families and populations at risk of illness or disability. This title only includes public health nurses who meet the requirements stated in Minnesota Rules Chapter 6316. Public health nurses must have a baccalaureate or higher degree with a major in nursing. (This category has been modified from the original occupational title.) [top]

Public Health Nutritionist: Plans, develops, implements and evaluates programs or scientific studies to promote and maintain optimum health through improved nutrition; collaborates with programs that have nutrition components; may involve clinical practice as a dietitian. Examples include community nutritionist, community dietitian, nutrition scientist, and registered dietician. [top]

Public Health Physical Therapist: Assesses, plans, organizes, and participates in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and decrease or prevent deformity of individuals, populations and groups suffering from disease or injury. [top]

Public Health Physician: Identifies persons or groups at risk of illness or disability, and develops, implements and evaluates programs or interventions designed to prevent, treat or ameliorate such risks; may provide direct medical services within the context of such programs. Examples include MD and DO generalists and specialists, some of whom have training in public health or preventive medicine. This job classification does not include physicians working in administrative positions (health administrator or official) and some in specialty areas (epidemiology, occupational health). [top]

Public Health Program Specialist: Plans, develops, implements and evaluates programs or interventions designed to identify persons at risk of specified health problems, and to prevent, treat or ameliorate such problems. This job classification includes public health workers reported as public health program specialist without specification of the program, as well as some reported as specialists working on a specific program (e.g. AIDS Awareness Program Specialist, immunization program specialist.) Includes individuals with a wide range of educational preparation, and may include individuals who have preparation in a specific profession (e.g., dental health, environmental health, medicine, and nursing). [top]

Service-Maintenance: Occupations in which workers perform duties which result in or contribute to the comfort, convenience, hygiene or safety of the general public or which contribute to the upkeep and care of buildings, facilities or grounds of public property. Workers in this group may operate machinery. This includes chauffeurs, laundry and dry cleaning operatives, truck drivers, bus drivers, garage laborers, custodial employees, grounds keepers, drivers, transportation, and housekeeper. [top]

Technicians: This classification includes occupations which require a combination of basic scientific or technical knowledge and manual skill which can be obtained through specialized post-secondary school education or through equivalent on-the-job training. Examples include computer programmers, drafters, survey and mapping technicians, photographers, technical illustrators, technicians (medical, dental, electronic, physical sciences), inspectors, environmental health technician, nutritional technician, detox technician, EMS technician, hearing and vision technician, laboratory technician, and computer specialist. [top]


Other Definitions

FTEs working in Emergency Medical Services (EMS): FTEs supporting or providing emergency medical services including EMT, EMT-I, EMT-P, first responder, or ambulance attendant. This includes transportation and treatment. Please consult Minn. Stat. § 144E.001 for more information. These FTEs are primarily placed in Assure the Accessibility and Quality of Health Services. [top]

FTEs working in Correctional Health: FTEs supporting or providing direct cares services provided to the correctional population in county facilities. This is often a service provided through a contract between the county and the local health department. The correctional population may include inmates, detainees, juveniles, night residents, and other persons. These FTEs are primarily placed in Assure the Accessibility and Quality of Health Services. [top]

FTEs working in Home Health programs: FTEs supporting or providing home health care services (State licensed services delivered in a place of residence to a person whose illness, disability, or physical condition create a need for the services as according to Minn. Stat. § 144A.43.) This can include nurses, physical therapists, scheduling, and billing staff. This does not include case management. These FTEs are primarily placed in Assure the Accessibility and Quality of Health Services. [top]

FTEs working in Hospice Services, Hospice Care: FTEs supporting or providing hospice services or hospice care as part of a state licensed palliative and supportive care and other services provided by an interdisciplinary team under the direction of an identifiable hospice administration to terminally ill hospice patients and their families (Minn. Stat. § 144A.75). These FTEs are primarily placed in Assure the Accessibility and Quality of Health Services. [top]

FTEs working in Title V (MCH) programs: FTEs supporting or providing Title V programs (Services for pregnant women, mothers and infants, children and adolescents and children and youth with special health care needs). This can include health educators, nurses, WIC, scheduling, and billing staff. [top]

Supervisors, managers, or health administrators: Individuals who have a defined supervisory role. [top]