The American Public Health Association defines public health as protecting and promoting community health. Public health professionals range from those doing research on community health issues, educating and promoting healthy lifestyles in communities, establishing health standards and programs, etc.
Prevention Is Worth An Ounce Of Cure
By monitoring and tracking health trends, public health professionals are able to analyze, develop and implement programs which will increase the odds of preventing, and controlling, the spread of illness and disease. We see public health professionals in action every year when flu season rolls around and people are encouraged to be vaccinated against illness. The flu vaccination is the end result of epidemiologists, biostatisticians, health informatics, clinical and non clinical professionals, local, state and federal agencies, who monitor and examine health trends and make recommendations. This interdisciplinary approach allows scientists and researchers to develop preventative vaccines to reduce the number of people affected.
Highlights of The History of Public Health In The U.S.
Many think of public health as a relatively new profession in the U.S.; however, that's not exactly the case. While approaches to maintaining a healthy community can be seen in ancient civilizations in Greece and Rome, American public health began in 1798, when President John Adams created the "Act For Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen", which eventually led to the creation of marine hospitals along coastal and inland waterways. From this relatively modest beginning, public health in the U.S., authorized by Congress as the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service of the 19th century, was charged with the of control diseases, such as smallpox, through quarantine and disinfection methods. By the early 1900s, the Public Health and Marine Hospital Service was renamed by Congress as the Public Health Service; and, the organization received broader authority to investigate public sanitation, diseases, water supplies and the disposal of sewage in the nation's cities and communities. The mid-20th century, saw the benefit of scientific research in the eradication of smallpox, polio and tuberculosis. The 21st century has seen the progression of public health in the areas of environmental quality, public community health concerns (i.e., illegal drug use, etc.) and community acquired illnesses (i.e., flu, HIV/AIDS).
What Role Does The Public Health Professional Play?
Public Health workers' key task is to identify health risks to communities and to develop plans and programs to address the concerns. There are several
subspecialties in the field which include: education, epidemiology, biostatistics, occupational and environmental and public health practice.
Interested in finding out how to become a public health professional? Numerous colleges and universities have developed online bachelor and master degree programs train future public health professionals to meet the growing need. Best Medical Degrees has researched 25 Most Affordable Online Master of Public Health programs which may be a good starting point for your search. Programs on this list hold accreditation from the Counsel on Education for Public Health (CEPH); and, are ranked by tuition cost, length of program and any rankings or recognition received.