Many people have different ideas ofwhat public health is. There are many different definitions that are used whenspeaking about public health. According to the authors Riegelman &Kirkwood, public health can be defined as “the totality of allevidence-based public and private efforts that preserve and promote health andprevent disease, disability, and death” (Riegelman & Kirkwood, 2015). Accordingto WHO, “health is a state of complete physical, mental and socialwell-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO, 2018). Evidence-basedefforts are used widely in public health.
There are five main questions thatmake up the framework for this approach. The questions are: “What is thehealth problem?, What is/are the contributory cause(s)?, What works to reducethe health impacts?, How can we get the job done?, How well does/do theintervention(s) work in practice?” (Riegelman & Kirkwood, 2015). Thistype of approach can be used multiple times if more needs to be done based onthe results of the evaluation step (Riegelman & Kirkwood, 2015). Publichealth is comprised of many different types of health care.
These range frombiostatistics, environmental health, social and behavioral sciences,epidemiology to health management and policy (Harvard Chan PostdoctoralAssociation, 2015). Public healthcare workers consist of nurses, physicians,laboratories, health educators, outreach workers and others (Harvard ChanPostdoctoral Association, 2015). Healthcare is one of the fastest growingcareer fields. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the healthcare occupationsector to grow by 18 percent from 2016 to 2026 (Bureau of Labor Statistics,2018).
Some of the simplest things, or that areviewed as simple, are used on a daily basis aid in public health.Refrigerators, seat belts, running water, fluoridation in water, and manyothers are examples of advances made in public health (Riegelman &Kirkwood, 2015). Many of these advances are taken for granted especially in adeveloped country such as our own. Third world countries lack a lot of theadvances such as clean running water, fluoridation in the water, some countriesdon’t even have clean facilities for using the bathroom (UN News Centre, 2018).The lack of these resources can have a large impact on the public health inthose countries.
Historyof Public Health Historyinfluences present decisions. Knowledge and mistakes that were made previouslyhelp mold how future decisions are to be made. There are accounts of publichealth dating back to the B.C. years. Many of these contributions to publichealth have aided in how we practice medicine today.
The Code of Hammurabi isthe first recording mentioning public health (Harvard Chan PostdoctoralAssociation, 2015). In 1673 Anthony van Leeuwenhoek developed anatomy,physiology, microscopy and clinical medicine (Harvard Chan PostdoctoralAssociation, 2015). Hippocrates was named the Father of Medicine around 400B.C. Still today some form of the Hippocratic Oath is taken by most graduatingmedical-school students (Tyson, 2001).
The Miasma theory and Germ theory cameabout in the 19th century. The Miasma theory proposed that diseases werecaused by airborne vapors (Harvard Chan Postdoctoral Association, 2015). TheGerm theory concluded that specific microorganisms caused specific diseases(Harvard Chan Postdoctoral Association, 2015). Some of the vaccinations thatare still be used to prevent diseases from becoming prevalent were created in1796 and 1885. Aroundthe world there are many organizations that were created to help with thepublic health initiatives.
WHO, CDC, USDA and FDA are a few of theseorganizations. WHO (World Health Organization) was created in 1946. WHO wascreated to help build better and healthier futures for people. Thisorganization strives to eradicate infectious diseases. The first successfuleradication occurred in 1977 and was with the smallpox virus (Harvard ChanPostdoctoral Association, 2015). WHO also strives to better the air that isbreathed, the quality of water that is drank and the food that is consumed(WHO, 2018). The work this organization does takes place in offices in over 150countries with their headquarters in Geneva (WHO, 2018).
TheCenters for Disease Control or CDC was created to protectAmerica from health, safety and security threats (Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2018). This agency increasesthe health security of our nation (Centers for Disease Control andPrevention, 2018). This organization began in 1942. CDChas been recognized as one of the nation’s premiere health promotion,prevention and preparedness agencies (Centers for Disease Control andPrevention, 2018). UnitedStates Department of Agriculture (USDA) was created to provide leadership over food,agriculture, nutrition, related issues based on public policy and many others (U.S.
Department of Agriculture, 2018). This organization was founded in 1862 by PresidentAbraham Lincoln (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2018). Consumers should be familiarwith seeing the USDA logo and stamp on foods. Meats almost always have USDA certificationto prove it has been inspected and is up to this organizations standard.
Many consumersthat purchase organic or non-GMO foods have seen the approval stickers proving thisto be accurate. TheFood and Drug Administration (FDA) was created to protect the public health by ensuringthe safety, efficacy, and security of human drugs, biological products and medicaldevices (U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 2018). The FDA enforces laws and regulationsthat are required to be met before products are allowed to be offered to the public.
These laws and regulations ensure the safety of the consumers that use them. TheFDA also has a large influence on potential new drugs and devices that can be usedwithin the medical community. FDA also inspects food supplies to provide a senseof security regarding the status of the food we consume.