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What is Public Health


Question: What is Public Health
What is public health? I've heard that public health is an interesting field, but I'm not sure what public health is, or what jobs are available in the field of public health.
Answer: While clinical health entails diagnosis and treatment of diseases in individual patients, public health entails prevention and education of the general public to help improve the overall health and reduce risks to a population.

In other words, people who work in public health do not diagnose or treat patients on an individual basis like doctors and nurses do in a clinical setting.

Public health professionals research and track health trends including behavioral, biological, and environmental factors. They then utilize that research to help predict and prevent future health events or problems that could impact the health of the general population. Public health also includes the education of the public on ways to defend themselves against health risks.

Public health combines many other disciplines and skills with the healthcare industry to offer a variety of occupations.

Within those agencies, there are hundreds of professionals such as scientists, medical lab workers, biostatisticians, medical researchers, medical doctors, and more, all working together to help fight the next threat to the nation’s health. Additionally, there are many non-medical positions such as administrators, human resources, accounting, public relations/communications professionals, who all help the public health organization to work effectively and efficiently.

A few examples of organizations that are involved in public health are:

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • National Institute for Health (NIH)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
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