What is Public Health?

Public Health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. Public health professionals analyze the effect on health of genetics, personal choice and the environment in order to develop programs that protect the health of your family and community.

Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations. These populations can be as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country. Public health professionals try to prevent problems from happening or re-occurring through:

  • Implementing Educational Programs
  • Developing Policies
  • Administering Services
  • Regulating Health Systems and some Health Professions
  • Conducting Research

This is in contrast to clinical professionals, such as doctors and nurses, who focus primarily on treating individuals after they become sick or injured. It is also a field that is concerned with limiting health disparities and a large part of public health is the fight for health care equity, quality, and accessibility.

The field of public health is highly varied and encompasses many academic disciplines. However, public health is mainly composed of the following core areas:

  • Behavioral Science/Health Education Biostatistics
  • Emergency Medical Services Environmental Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Services Administration/Management International/Global Health
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Nutrition
  • Public Health Laboratory Practice
  • Public Health Policy
  • Public Health Practice