What is Public Health?

Public health is, first and foremost, about health. A person's health is determined in part by personal choices and genetics, but also by the environment in which they live, by the many factors that make them healthier or threaten their health. Public health investigates the ecology of health – from social networks and economic circumstances to our environment – and then minimizes health risks.

We are only as healthy as the world we live in

Public health...

  • improves the conditions and behaviors that affect the health of each and every one of us,
  • battles against deadly contagious diseases and for healthier lifestyles,
  • seeks to reduce incidences of preventable diseases,
  • minimizes the consequences of catastrophic events and
  • provides the basics of sanitation, safe food and water

Globalization of health links us all
The frenetic movement of food and people across borders permits illnesses to move rapidly from a remote
village to faraway cities. Poor sanitation and a lack of health resources encourage new diseases in faraway
places but ultimately affect the health of Americans.

Public health is moral and smart
Public health efforts allow us to save lives – your life, the lives of your family and friends, and the lives of
people around the world. And, if we can save lives, we should. We'll not only make people healthier, but
we'll also address soaring healthcare costs by preventing unnecessary death and disease.

Investing in public health helps everyone [and the failure to invest puts us all at risk]
The budget shortfall and lack of well-trained public health professionals exposes America to increased risk
from threats like mutating infectious diseases, potential bioterrorist attacks, natural disasters and
preventable diseases. We need to support our public health infrastructure, including the schools of public
health that prepare thousands of professionals every year.

Cause and Effect Video


This page last updated 14th Jul 2014