What is public health?
Public health is a scientific field focused on protecting and promoting the health of people, their families, and the communities where they live and work. In general, public health professionals promote healthier lifestyles, preventive care, and harm reduction to achieve their goals.
Some roles within public health include:
- health educators
- first responders
- restaurant inspectors
- community planners
- public policymakers
- social workers
- scientists and researchers
- public health physicians/nurses
Some public health professionals work directly with individuals, such as public health physicians, while others play a more indirect role, influencing public health through policy, research, and communication. All of these roles work together to improve the health of a population, whether that entails a neighborhood, state, or entire country.
Why is public health important?
Instead of treating those who are already sick, those who work in public health try to prevent people from becoming injured or sick in the first place. They accomplish this by encouraging healthy behaviors and promoting overall wellness.
In addition to improving patients’ quality of life, public health also helps patients and communities save money by preventing illness and the costly treatment that would result from it.
Another important aspect of public health involves research into disease and injury prevention.
Public health professionals also play a considerable role in responding to infectious diseases and implementing educational programs that prevent them from spreading.