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What is Public Health?

Reducing The Causes Of Ill Health In Public Health

I imagine over the last couple of years, you've been familiar with what your public health colleagues are doing around the world. So yes, outbreak control is part of public health, but there is also so much more.

Public Health reduces the causes of ill health - the broader determinants of health. So all of those social and environmental factors that impact somebody's health and well-being. With Public Health, we're aiming to improve people's health and wellbeing. So it's an upstream model rather than waiting for people to develop illness and disease and then subsequently treat them. This is incredibly important at a time when we are burdened with many preventable diseases in the world, both communicable and non-communicable.

Protecting People, Services And Systems With Evidence

Public Health focuses on protecting people as well as maintaining effective health systems and services. All of these public health interventions are based on an evidence-based approach. We understand the science and the research behind everything, and what we're doing. And it's also important that we can develop this evidence base with and through research activities, and disseminate that to different audiences for people to understand why we are advising certain things, why we implement different interventions and the evidence that supports them to improve outcomes, health outcomes.

What's The Difference Between Clinical Medicine And Public Health Medicine?

The key difference between clinical medicine and public health medicine is that step away from looking at the individual and moving toward the community. You will find that some aspects of public health involve face-to-face contact with individuals, but there are also many aspects which relate to the higher strategic level discussion, planning, research policy, and implementation.

I spend a lot more of my time collaborating, conversing and engaging with a whole range of different stakeholders. So that may be other doctors and other healthcare professionals, but also ministers and implementers or community members. I also spend time reviewing and assimilating evidence and information and thinking about the best ways that we can share that information with the people who need it so whether they use it to implement or change a service, or thinking about the people at the end, the patients who want to understand what they're doing and to be engaged in improving their own health.

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