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What Is Public Health?



Public health is defined as the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, policy, and research for disease and injury prevention. Public health is an interdisciplinary field that includes: social and behavioral sciences, environmental health, biostatistics, epidemiology, and health policy. Unlike clinical professionals like physicians and nurses, who primarily focus is providing treatment for one individual at a time, public health professionals are concerned with protecting the health of entire populations.


To do this, public health professionals try to prevent disease and injury at the population level by implementing large-scale solutions including policy making, educational/health programs, administering services, and conducting research. Additionally, public health works purposefully to limit health disparities and promote healthcare equity, quality, and accessibility. 


For more, listen to the insights provided by chair of the School of Population and Health Sciences, Dr. Racheal Reed, in this podcast interview.


Listen to "Understanding Public Health" on Spreaker.



The difference is in the action!


Examples of Public Health vs Medicine


Instead of treating a person with a gunshot wound, public health professionals work to identify the causes of gun violence and develop interventions to prevent it.


Instead of prescribing medication for hypertension, public health professionals examine the links among obesity, diabetes, and heart disease and use data to influence policy aimed at reducing these conditions.




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