The concept of public health has very much been in the news lately. It’s even worked its way into many conversations on personal levels. Given that, there is much debate about what public health is.

Public health can be defined as a science with a focus on protecting and improving the health of both people and the communities in which they live. This work happens through the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Much emphasis also gets placed on researching diseases and preventing injuries. In terms of infectious diseases, there are simultaneous efforts put into detection, prevention, and response.

What Is Public Health?

Generally speaking, public health emphasizes the protection of the health of an entire population. Sometimes, that population might just be one neighborhood. At other times, it might be a whole country or even a whole part of the globe.

Professionals working in the public health sector try to keep problems from even occurring. Other times, they focus on keeping them from happening again. Whereas clinical professionals, including primary care physicians, specialists, and nurses, usually just treat individual patients that get injured or sick, public health professionals implement educational programs, administer services, conduct research, and recommend policies on a very broad scale.

Public Health Concerns and Goals

Another common aspect of public health is working to limit health disparities. These can include quality of care, accessibility, and equity.

The primary public health agency in the United States is the CDC. That’s short for The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This agency was created to save lives, and it does so by protecting American health. The CDC maintains health security when there are disease outbreaks. The agency is also responsible for making sure that food and water supplies are kept safe. The professionals working for this agency work to prevent leading causes of many deaths, including diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart disease. Their work takes them across the country and even around the world, where they work to reduce any potential threats to the nation’s health.

The CDC has headquarters in Atlanta. The overall staff employs over 14,000 people across more than 160 different occupations. These professionals work in every single state, and they are also present in over 50 different nations around the world.