What is Public Health?

Public health is about understanding the factors that influence people’s health, and finding ways of improving it. The emphasis of public health policies is prevention rather than treatment of ill health. -Nuffield Council on Bioethics

Public health is an often under-recognized component of our health system, yet most improvements in life expectancy and other key markers of healthy populations are the result of effective public health programs. Through public health efforts such as the introduction of clean water and mass immunization programmes, mortality and morbidity have been reduced around the world.  Aspects of public health include health promotion – activities taken to encourage healthy behaviours – and health protection, actions taken to protect individuals from spreading harms. -Public health Policy, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Public health is often described as having the population or community as its patient, in contrast to the individual-level focus of clinical medicine. -Encyclopedia of Public Health

Public health is what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy. It is more comprehensive than the specific activities of any particular agency, organization, or sector. Public health encompasses a wide range of organized community efforts to prevent disease and promote health, and it often involves private organizations and individuals, working on their own or in partnership with the public sector. Policies for public health consist of planned activities to address health problems as they are identified and defined by a community. Thus, public health activities, including policy development, require organized community efforts as well as public involvement. -Institute of Medicine