What is Public Health?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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Public health involves many issues and fields, all of which deal with maintaining and promoting global health and health care for a community. Part of public health efforts may involve educational lectures and distributing information. Providing knowledge of preventable causes of death to citizens is a fundamental aspect as well.

Regarding the spread of infectious diseases within a community, public health authorities initiate efforts to prevent outbreaks. This might mean making adequate vaccinations available to immunize the public against the disease. Bringing about public awareness through press conferences and local news is another means.

Promoting good health by helping to ensure all citizens have access to nutritional food and medical care is another integral role of the healthcare system. By receiving proper nutrition and medical care, the public can safeguard against illness by strengthening immunity. Such programs may include pediatric nutritional support and prenatal care.

A career in public health may involve jobs in a variety of fields. Jobs may be available in environmental health. Environmental health experts may do water testing to ensure safety for the public, as well as food safety testing and regulation. Working in a laboratory or teaching in classroom are other common health-related careers.


National and international health agencies have workers from various nations across the world. Their goals are generally to strengthen and improve public health strategies and form new enterprises.

Public health officials often hold special events to help raise awareness and funds for various projects. Grants that are provided by other organizations and corporations may be used for various projects. Conferences to discuss environmental issues and technological advances are another way to bring about awareness and initiate action.

Many communities in the United States have local public health agencies that administer state- and federally funded health programs. One such program is the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program. Nursing services and dental clinics for children are among others.

The public health system must also be prepared for health-related emergencies. This may include natural disasters, man-made dangers, or chemical warfare. Being prepared for the threat of bioterrorism is a top priority.

One other responsibility health departments is to inspect public facilities to ensure they maintain proper safety standards. These safety and health inspectors inspect public housing, shelters, nursing homes, and hospitals to name a few. Restaurants and public swimming pools are other public places that must be inspected on a regular basis as well.


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Post 2

@strawCake - I think it's debatable whether it's the governments responsibility to feed all of the citizens of this country. Especially people that actually have a job. Maybe your friends should consider cutting their expenses more or something.

Anyway, I think our public health system in this country is fine. When was the last time you heard about a major outbreak of an infectious disease? Or the water supply becoming contaminated? I don't remember hearing about either of these things happening in the United States in the recent past, do you?

Post 1

I think our public health system in this country stinks! If part of their job is making sure everyone had nutritious food, they are failing.

I have so many friends that are I guess what you would consider "working poor." They did everything right: went to college, got good grades, and got a job in their field. Too bad most of their jobs barely pay their bills!

And it's way harder than most people think it is to get public assistance in this country. Especially if you don't have children.

Most of my friend who are in this predicament get more help from local churches and food pantries than they do from the government.

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