What is Public Health?
Public health is the impact of the air we breathe and the water we drink on the quality of our lives. It is the environment we work in and its influence on our health.
Public health includes everything in our lives that affects our health. It is a dynamic field of study that seeks to protect and improve the conditions and behaviors that impact the health and well being of communities and their individual residents.
Those who are educated in public health may pursue a diverse array of career paths in order to provide necessities such as safe food and water, reduce incidences of preventable diseases, minimize the impact of catastrophic events and educate communities on healthy living practices. Compared to traditional medical degrees, which focus on individual health, public health focuses on the entire population.
Professionals in public health conduct research, develop policies, implement educational programs, regulate health organizations and administer services to communities. Through their professional activities, these professionals seek health care equity, quality and accessibility for all.
Among the many career paths in the field of public health are the following:
Behavioral Science and Health Education - Promoting and researching healthy living practices to prevent disease and injury.
Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness - Developing preventative measures to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, living modified organisms and other potentially harmful biological agents.
Biostatistics - Using math and science to estimate and analyze trends associated with particular types of human behavior.
Emergency Management - Focuses on promoting a functional emergency response care system for communities.
Environmental and Occupational Health - Analyzing the interactions between humans, their surroundings and the natural environment to maintain quality and to provide protection.
Epidemiology - Identifying the causes and patterns of diseases and injuries and identifying the targets for preventive medicine.
Global Health - Addressing various health concerns that exist among different cultures worldwide.
Health Management - Combines politics, business and science in order to manage the resources needed to provide effective public health services.
Maternal and Child Health - Providing care that promotes the health of a pregnant woman and their unborn children.
Policy - Working to improve public health through legislative action at the local, state and federal levels.
Among the hallmarks of public health are a philosophy of social justice, a focus on populations and a focus on prevention.