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Doctors who practise public health medicine in New Zealand contribute to the overall health of our population rather than focusing on individual health needs.  The medical specialty of public health focuses on finding practical solutions for emergent public health issues combining epidemiology, global health, medical sociology and the determinants of health.

  • Careers in Public HealthOpen or Close

    A career in public health may include influencing public policy, working to address inequalities, improving living conditions and ensuring the good health of the next generation.

    Graduates of the NZCPHM Training Programme usually work in the following roles:

    Medical Officer of Health

    The Medical Officer of Health works as part of a team alongside other public health professionals to protect and promote the health of that community.  This role includes regulatory functions and is based in a Public Health Unit within a District Health Board.

    Other Public Health Unit roles

    These roles may include working in areas such as information and analysis, 'health in all policies' and health promotion.

    Funding and Planning

    These roles are based within District Health Boards and are focussed on needs assessment, population health input to DHB plans and processes, prioritisation and allocative decision making.


    Public Health Medicine Specialists work in a variety of advisory roles, including providing advice on regulatory and health policies, service development and planning of programmes.

    Leadership and Management

    These are roles within the health sector that focus on population-based services and personal health treatment services.  Public Health Medicine Specialists lead Ministry of Health programmes, provide advice to communities on ways to improve health outcomes, protect populations from environmental and biological hazards, and assess populations' needs for health services.

    Academic Public Health

    These research and teaching roles require a high level of academic expertise, and training for them usually includes a doctorate.

    The graduate outcomes for the Public Health Medicine Training Programme are available here.

  • Public Health in ActionOpen or Close

    To gain a better idea of what a career in public health might entail, read about some of the public health medicine roles in New Zeland below. Note that public health specialists often work in more than one role.

    Medical Officer of Health: Works alongside other public health professionals to protect and promote the health of the community.  This role includes regulatory functions and is based in a Public Health Unit within a DHB.

    Advisors: On a variety of regulatory and health matters - includes service development and planning of programmes, e.g. advisor within the Ministry of Health and other national and international organisations.

    Leadership and Management: Focus on population-based services, e.g. DHB CEO, Clinical Director.

    Funding and Planning: Based within DHBs and focussed on needs assessment, population health input to DHB plans and processes, prioritisation and allocative decision making.

    Research and Teaching: Roles requiring a high level of academic expertise.

    Click here for examples of public health medicine roles in NZ

  • Career PlanningOpen or Close

    The NZCPHM supports its members to plan their careers and encourages Fellows to develop a Professional Development Plan (PDP).

    "A PDP provides a focus for reviewing your work as a public health physician, consider where you are heading, and plan the competencies you will need to help you get there."

    An active PDP is recognised as part of the NZCPHM requirements for continuing professional development.  A template is available.

    A Career Plan is a requirement for all trainees in receipt of funding from Health Workforce New Zealand.  If you do not already have a Career Plan you can access the College Career Plan template here or use the resources available on the Health Workforce New Zealand website.

    If you would like to take another look at your career direction, try the Windmills career site.

    Registering as a Medical Specialist in Australia

    Information is readily available on the web regarding how to register as a specialist medical practitioner in Australia. The following websites outline the Australian regulatory body requirements, immigration issues and general information about working as a doctor in Australia:

    Public Health Workforce Development

    Another very helpful resource for finding opportunities to advance your career in public health is the Public Health Workforce Development website. This website offers information and resources about public health as well as information about public health careers, job vacancies, scholarships, conferences and training opportunities.

  • Job VacanciesOpen or Close

    Here you will find listings for available jobs for both Registrars and Public Health Physicians.

    The College provides a job vacancies advertising service free-of-charge to College members. Submitted advertisements are posted on the 'Home Page', this 'Job Vacancies' page of the College website and are placed in the College's monthly newsletter.

    Non-members can also place adverts, at a cost of $170 excl GST for four weeks.  This service is not available for overseas positions.

    If you would like to have a job posted in this area, please contact us on

    The New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine is looking for an individual with a passion for health equity and Māori health, with the capacity to interact with confidence at a senior level, to lead the implementation of our Rautaki Māori / Māori Strategy and to assist the College to achieve its 2040 goal. For any queries, or more information, phone the College on 04 472 9183.

    ESR has opportunities emerging for initial fixed-term positions (at least 18 months) and at least one permanent position. There is also a possibility for secondment. ESR is looking for specialists and practitioners with experience in surveillance system operation and/or surveillance-based epidemiology and with a background in response or team leadership positions.

    Southern DHB (Dunedin) is currently recruiting an experienced Public Health Physician who will enhance the capabilities of the Southern District Health Board region. This is a permanent position.