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What is Public health?

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Author: Maury Yates

Public Health is defined as the science and the art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting physical health and efficiency. This course is designed to encourage students to seek knowledge about contemporary health problems, prepare balanced and informative approaches to critically evaluate public health issues, and improve their presentation abilities. Public health is focused on populations (not just individuals). Much public health work is preventive rather than curative. Public health is concerned with the health of populations as a whole, rather than specific care for individual patients, although many public health departments do provide individualized patient services. The goal of public health management is to identify and control threats to public health, and to create policy which supports public health and the development of healthy populations.

Public health is concerned with the health and well-being of the whole community rather than the treatment of illness and disability. Health is viewed as resource for everyday living, and in turn is influenced by the everyday environment that we are part of. Public health is a discipline devoted to preventing disease and promoting health in the human population. The threats challenging the health of the public include a variety of acute and chronic diseases and conditions including AIDS, addiction, obesity, and aging and some pervasive conditions based on gender, race, socioeconomics, and level of education.

Public health is not health care. Often misunderstood as a service for the poor or for only certain segments of the community, public health serves everyone. Public health is a field that offers an abundance of job opportunities to suit a variety of interests and skills. Whether you are more interested in crunching numbers, conducting research, or working with people, there is a place for you in the field of public health. Public health is a dynamic, multidisciplinary field whose mission is to improve health and prevent diseases in populations. It shows us the big picture in health care, from individual health care providers to our own everyday decisions that affect our health to local, national and international issues that affect all of our health.

Public health is typically divided into epidemiology, biostatistics and health services. Environmental, social, behavioral, and occupational health are also important subfields.

Public health is, to a large degree, a victim of its own success. There are no testimonials for diseases prevented or outbreaks averted. Public health is only able to address these issues, however, if it has a solid, well-trained infrastructure. Public health is a career field that encompasses a wide variety of jobs. So whether you want to track down the causes of disease as an epidemiologist or teach the public how to avoid getting sick as a health educator, there is a public health career that will fit your goals and aspirations.

Public health is increasingly viewed as one of the important approaches for achieving national health goals [9 ]. Similar sentiments have been expressed in developing regions [10 ]. Public health is the study and practice of managing threats to the health of a community; paying special attention to the social context, and focusing on improving health through society-wide measures such as vaccination or changing behaviours. Public health has, to date, played a limited role in HIV/AIDS interventions. Public health is not public sector medical care, nor administration of the Health Department or even people's health. The term was enshrined in the Public Health Act of the British Parliament in 1848, placing responsibility on the government to protect the public from communicable diseases.

Public health is about promoting diseases that disproportionately affect disadvantaged populations. Five key disciplines comprise public health biostatistics, health services administration, environmental health, epidemiology, and behavioral sciences/health education. Public health is highly interdisciplinary, which implies a great volume of relevant information. Governments are major producers of information about the environment and health of the public, and private agencies create documents increasingly influential in policy making.

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