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Chapter 1 What is Public Health Notes

by: Cara Spriggs

Chapter 1 What is Public Health Notes HEAL 215

Marketplace > College of Charleston > Public Health > HEAL 215 > Chapter 1 What is Public Health Notes
Cara Spriggs
C of C
GPA 3.0
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Notes on the Reading
Introduction to Public Health
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Cara Spriggs on Wednesday January 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HEAL 215 at College of Charleston taught by in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 35 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Public Health in Public Health at College of Charleston.


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Date Created: 01/13/16
Chapter 1  Public Health: Science, Politics, and Prevention Notes from Reading Introduction  In earlier times, the living conditions of society was not healthy due to: the outbreak of  Cryptosporidium in the Milwaukee water supply; high death rates; tuberculosis; cholera,  typhoid, and smallpox epidemics; and injuries among workers in mines and factories  because of unsafe equipment, long working hours, poor lighting & ventilation, and child  labor.  People’s lives today are healthier than they were 150 years ago due to: cleaner water,  air, and food; safe disposal of sewage; better nutrition; more knowledge concerning  healthy and unhealthy behaviors; etc, which all fall under public health.  People often look to the government for primary responsibility to provide pure water and  efficient sewage disposal, ensure food supply safety, ensure medical service quality (in  hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions), for behavior laws and practices,  immunization laws regarding infectious diseases, and to conduct research and education programs on disease preventions. What is Public Health?  Public health (PH) is not easy to define or comprehend and leaders in the field struggle  to explain the term  Charles­Edward A. Winslow, PH leader during first half of 20th century, defined it in  1920: o The science and the art of preventing disease, prolonged life, and promoting  physical health and efficiency through organized community efforts for the  sanitation of the environment, the control of community infections, the education  of the individual in principles of personal hygiene, the organization of medical and nursing services for the early diagnosis and preventive treatment of disease, and  the development of the social machinery which will ensure to every individual in  the community a standard of living adequate for the maintenance of health.  By the 1980s, PH being taken for granted and the system wasn’t functioning well due to   The three core functions of public health are: assessment, policy development, and  assurance The Ten Essential Public Health Services Assessment 1. Monitor health status to identify community health problems 2. Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community Policy Development 3. Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues 3. Mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems 3. Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts Assurance 6. Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety 6. Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care  when otherwise unavailable 6. Assure a competent public health and personal healthcare workforce 6. Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population­based  health services Serving All Functions 10. Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems Public Health Vs. Medical Care  While medicine is concerned with individual patients, public health regards the  community as its patient, trying to improve the health of the population o medicine focuses on healing patients who are ill o public health focuses on preventing illnesses  Public health diagnoses and treats the community’s ills by way of assessment, policy  development, and assurance  It relies on the tools of science and politics The Sciences of Public Health  The Institute of Medicine report notes that “public health is a coalition of professions  united by their shared mission” as well as by “their focus on disease prevention and  health promotion; their prospective approach in contrast to the reactive focus of  therapeutic medicine, and their common science, epidemiology”  Epidemiology= the basic science of public health; the study of epidemics; aims to  control spread of diseases; seeks causes of chronic disease and ways to limit harmful  exposure  Biostatistics= collection of data on the population; these numbers are diagnostic tools  for the health of the community; the science is used to calculate risks and benefits  Biomedical sciences= infectious diseases, pathogens; chronic diseases; genetics  Environmental Health sciences= health effects of environmental exposures; air  quality; water quality; solid & hazardous wastes; safe food & drugs; global environmental change  Social & Behavioral sciences= behavior is now the leading factor in affecting people’s  health; social environment affects people’s behavior; tobacco, poor diet, physical  inactivity, and injuries are major health threats; maternal and child health are social  issues  Health Policy & Management / Health Administration= role of medical care in public  health; cost of medical care in US is out of control; US has a high percentage of the  population without health insurance who lack medical care; quality of medical care can  be measured, and is often questionable Prevention and Intervention  Public Health Approach (to health problems in a community): o Define the health problem o Identify the risk factors associated with the problem o Develop and test community­level interventions to control or prevent the cause of the problem o Implement interventions to improve the health of the population o Monitor those interventions to assess their effectiveness  Three Levels of Prevention: o Primary prevention­ prevents an illness or injury from occurring at all, by  preventing exposure to risk factors o Secondary prevention­ seeks to minimize the severity of the illness or the  damage due to an injury­causing event once the event has occurred o Tertiary prevention­ seeks to minimize disability by providing medical care and  rehabilitation services  Chain of Causation approach can be used for illnesses and injuries and involves an  agent, a host, and the environment.  Interventions can be directed toward eliminating or suppressing the agent that causes an illness to injury, strengthening the resistance of the host to the agent, or changing the  environment in such a way that the host is less likely to encounter the agents. Public Health & Terrorism  Events of 9/11 and the anthrax letters highlighted the importance of public health.  The public health response to disasters, both natural and man­made, helps to control the damage and prevent further harm to survivors and rescuers.  Bioterrorism is recognized primarily through classical public health measures similar to  those used in natural epidemics.


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