The World Health Organization defines health as “as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, not merely the absence of disease.”
Public Health is the science of caring for and improving the health of communities through education, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and the studying of disease and injury prevention.
Public Health ensures the health of entire populations. Populations can be as small as local neighborhoods, or as big as an entire country.
Public Health professionals try to prevent problems from happening through educational programs, developing policies, administering services, and conducting research.
Public Health professionals are different from doctors and nurses who treat people after they become sick or injured. However, Public Health Practice combines many fields. Various health professions, such as nursing, medicine, and veterinary medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy work together on public health issues.
The Public Health field is varied and has several subject areas making up public health these include:
- Behavioral Science/Health Education
- Health Services Administration/ Management
- Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health
- Public Health Laboratory Practice
- Public Health Policy
- Public Health Practice
A person called a statistician finds health trends such as estimating the number of deaths from gang
violence or injuries from not wearing a seat belt. In this area of Public Health, many health trends or problems are found using math.
Statisticians use a variety of other tools such as finding the causes of disease and injury in the community or predicating health problems
a community may have in the future.
If food poisoning or a disease affects large parts of a community or population, epidemiologists investigate the cause of the disease and control its spread.
Epidemiologists often ask the questions who is at risk, what is the risk, and how to prevent the risk? Epidemiologists are often the public health workers
who find the source of a disease, spot who is being affected by the disease, how to prevent it, and stop the spread of disease.
This area of Public Health focuses on encouraging the public to make better choices about their health. Health Educators focus on ways to
encourage people to take better care of their health. Health Educators often create community wide education programs to prevent disease and
research complex health issues. They also promote more efficient use of health services, and try to have the public adopt self care practices.
This part of Public Health gives information and access to resources for the promotion of healthy pregnancies and children.
Public health workers in Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health improve public health delivery systems for women, children, and
their families through advocacy, education, and research.
The field of health services administration combines politics, business, and science in managing the human and financial resources needed to
deliver effective Public Health services.
Public Health laboratory professionals such as bacteriologists, microbiologists, and biochemists test biological and environmental samples in
order to diagnose, prevent, treat, and control infectious diseases in communities.
Professionals in Public Health policy work to improve the public’s health through legislative action at the local, state, and federal levels.