Public Health is Distinct 

Clinical professions, such as medicine and nursing, primarily focus on the diagnosis and treatment of an individual. Public health focuses on the prevention of disease and the maintenance of health from long term perspective. Public health professionals work on the individual, community, population, and national level to provide access to healthcare and improve health outcomes. By doing so, it has a great impact on the health at all levels. Understanding the intersection of public health on the clinical professions is an important distinction to make when pursuing a public health education. However public health is a dynamic field and educational program providing you with opportunity to work in the many disciplines affecting health and well-being today.

 

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Creating Healthier Communities

The advancements of the modern world have unintended consequences on human health and wellness. The increased availability of processed foods, marketing of tobacco products, and the switch to a more sedentary lifestyle has contributed to the increase of chronic illnesses worldwide. Rapidly increasing rates of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are often indicative of how communities are struggling to maintain healthy behaviors daily. In response, local and federal governments have passed laws to promote healthier habits by regulating for example trans fats in foods or limiting the sale of cigarettes and alcohol to minors. The prevention of unhealthy behaviors from these laws helps encourage healthier habits to ensure the long-term well-being of the large populations they affect.

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Reducing the Impact of Natural Disasters and Global Epidemics

When a natural disaster strikes, there must be an immediate response from outside communities to aide in stabilizing the environment. Multiple professionals from differing fields and areas of expertise come together to provide shelter, food, safety protocols, and medical assistant to help those in need. Due to disaster, these communities are vulnerable to isolation, malnutrition, and disease. Likewise, local communities, countries, and continents become vulnerable to rapidly spreading contagious diseases when they are not prepared. Once again professionals from government agencies, clinical professionals, environmentalists, and public health officials come together to play a significant role in responding to infectious disease epidemics and emergency situations relating to natural disasters. Public health officials working in emergency and infectious disease situations must remain vigilant and prepared to protect vulnerable populations from additional complications like contaminated water, airborne pathogens that often surface after a natural disaster, or global epidemic, strikes.

 

 

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Addressing Health Disparities

Despite healthcare and public health over the past few decades, there is still a wide gap in access and education of health care. These health disparities – based on ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic class – are still present in even the most modern countries, leading to populations that are disproportionately affected by disease. Disadvantaged populations often find affordable health care to be inaccessible reducing their access to care and contributing to prominent incidences of chronic diseases, like obesity and heart disease. Professionals in the public health field are committed to making health care accessible to all society and tailoring programs to reach even the most remote communities.

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Reducing Maternal and Child Mortality

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), put forth by the United Nations in the early 2000’s, set eight development goals to be completed by 2015, ranging from reducing extreme poverty to improving environmental sustainability. The fourth MDG, to reduce child mortality by two thirds by 2015, has made great strides, but there is still work to be done. Child mortality, refers to the death of infants and children under the age of five, has decreased by 47 percent since 1990. The first 40 days after birth are the most dangerous for a newborn, and of the approximately 18,000 child deaths a day, most are from preventable disease. Public health professionals, community health workers, and national health systems all contribute to the continuing efforts to reduce child mortality.