Although the United States offers some of the highest quality health care in the world, there are still many difficult challenges left to solve. From heart disease and chronic illness to alcoholism and prescription drug abuse, there’s no shortage of public health problems that need to be addressed. And while public health professionals are constantly engaged at the local and national levels, making a positive impact isn’t easy.
Tackling key health issues in America requires input from a diverse range of stakeholders, including government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private medical facilities. The ability to collaborate across industry lines is essential, as breakthrough medical treatments and public health initiatives depend on experts with different specializations. For example, educating citizens about the risks of excessive alcohol consumption relies on the knowledge of medical practitioners, the communication skills of health educators and the policy experience of lawmakers. But what exactly is a public health problem and how do experts keep track of them over time?
What makes something a public health problem?
Public health is the science of improving the well-being of communities through research, health programs, policies, and education. Unlike the health care field, public health is more about protecting entire populations (CDC Foundation, 2018). This could be something as small as a rural neighborhood, or as large as an entire country. Rather than treating existing medical issues, public health professionals try to prevent problems by promoting healthy lifestyles, designing outreach campaigns, and advising policymakers. They also work to eliminate health disparities by advocating for health care equity and accessibility.
Categories: Social Issues