Public health consultants and specialists

Public health specialists come from a wide range of backgrounds, including medical. Public health consultants are public health specialists who hold a post as a consultant.


Public health specialists and consultants are strategists or senior managers or senior scientists. They require skills in all three main 'domains' of public health (health protection, health improvement, healthcare public health), but in practice they may specialise in one area.

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Working life

As a public health specialist or consultant, you'll:

You are also likely to be responsible for departmental budgets, daily management of staff, supervision (eg of public health specialty registrars), delivery of core training, and the commissioning of research projects.

Where will you work?

As a public health specialist or consultant you will generally be employed primarily within local authorities and Public Health England (PHE), with some in universities, the NHS, Defence Medical Services, and in voluntary organisations.

Public health consultant roles

The following are examples of the variety of public health consultant roles available.

Consultant in dental public health

Consultants in dental public health provide leadership to improve oral health in their locality. They do this by offering expert input into a range of dental public health programmes and by supporting colleagues in the development of dental services and related services, such as nutrition and food. They lead the development and implementation of policies and strategies relating to services in their locality.

As a consultant in dental public health, you'll:

Consultants in dental public health must be fully registered with the UK’s General Dental Council (GDC), be on the GDC Specialist list for Dental Public Health, and will have a Master’s qualification in Dental Public Health or equivalent.

Consultant epidemiologist

Consultant epidemiologists provide strategic leadership in the surveillance of infectious diseases and environmental hazards, and they support the development, maintenance and evaluation of surveillance systems. They lead projects to investigate outbreaks of disease, the most effective approaches to dealing with outbreaks, and the relative cost effectiveness of different interventions. This requires them to analyse and evaluate data and research evidence from a wide range of sources to make recommendations and inform decision-making.

As a consultant epidemiologist, other aspects of your work are likely to involve:

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