What Is Public Health?


Public Health is more than a degree.

While it is an increasingly popular field with a wide range of careers available, many still ask, “What is public health?”

According to the American Public Health Association, public health is the promotion and protection of the health of people in the communities where they live, learn, work and play.

Here’s another way to think of it:

Whereas medical professionals treat people who are already sick or injured, public health professionals strive to prevent diseases and injuries from occurring in the first place. Through educational and service programs, intervention efforts, policy development and influence, and scientific and behavioral research, public health professionals are dedicated to improving the health and prolonging the lifespan of all populations.

In this multi-faceted field, public health professionals address the health problems of communities by finding the root causes to health issues and preventing future incidents. Public health professionals may study and track disease outbreaks, identify causes of work-place injury, promote healthy lifestyle choices, analyze data about overdose deaths, create policies to improve healthcare access, assess environmental hazards following a natural disaster … and so much more.

Public Health is…

  • Tracking and preventing diseases.
  • Preventing injuries.
  • Developing health policies.
  • Gathering, evaluating and interpreting data.
  • Influencing change in healthcare systems.
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles.
  • Conducting population-based research.
  • Sustaining healthy environments.
  • Improving access to affordable healthcare.
  • Creating lasting solutions.