What is Public Health

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What is the role of Public Health?

Public health plays a very important role in protecting, promoting, and maintaining the health of entire communities. These communities may be as small as your neighborhood, or as large as the whole country.

Many of public health's duties are health issues we face in everyday life-like protecting the drinking water, or ensuring the safety of food at local restaurants.

Public Health also has a role in areas like dental health, preventing injuries, preparing for emergencies and disasters, monitoring the leading causes of death, and preventing the spread of disease.

Our role is different than that of other health professionals because public health centers on prevention, while the medical community usually focuses on care for those who are already sick.

Ten Essential Functions of Public Health 
Key functions that state and local health departments are engaged in.   

Public Health's Impact

Public health has been critical to the increase in life expectancy and worldwide decrease of infant and child mortality. Public health has made dramatic strides in improving community health. Many of the most important contributions ensure that our daily lives are safe. These include:  

  • car safety
  • control of diseases 
  • family planning and contraception 
  • fluoridation of drinking water 
  • identifying tobacco as a health hazard 
  • improving the health of mothers and babies 
  • reducing deaths from heart disease and stroke 
  • safer and healthier foods 
  • safer workplaces 
  • vaccinations (shots)

Public Health Links and Resources


Alliance to Make US Healthiest 

American Public Health Association 

Ohio Public Health Association 

National Environmental Health Association 

Ohio Environmental Health Association 

Association of Ohio Health Commissioners 

National Association of County and City Health Officials 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Ohio Department of Health

Franklin County Public Health

Association of Schools of Public Health