What is Public Health?

The science of public health is concerned with safeguarding and enhancing the health of individuals and communities. This is accomplished through the promotion of healthy lifestyles, disease and injury prevention studies, and the detection, prevention, and response to infectious diseases. Public health, in its broadest sense, is concerned with the protection of entire populations’ health. These populations can range in size from a single residential neighborhood to an entire country or region of the planet. Public health is concerned with promoting and safeguarding the health of individuals and the communities in which they live, learn, work, and play. While a physician treats sick patients, those of us in public health seek to prevent individuals from becoming ill or wounded in the first place. Additionally, we encourage wellbeing by promoting healthy activities.Public health professionals work to prevent problems from occurring or reoccurring through the implementation of educational programs, the recommendation of policies, the administration of services, and the conduct of research—in contrast to clinical professionals such as doctors and nurses, who are primarily concerned with treating individuals who become ill or injured.

Additionally, public health seeks to eliminate health inequities. Promoting health care equity, quality, and accessibility is a significant element of public health. Public health professionals seek to detect disease outbreaks, prevent injuries, and shed light on why some of us are predisposed to poor health. Public health encompasses a variety of activities, including advocating for regulations that promote smoke-free indoor air and seatbelt use, spreading the word about healthy lifestyle choices, and providing scientifically sound answers to problems. Public health saves money, enhances our quality of life, aids in the development of children, and alleviates human suffering.

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