Public health is a science that involves protecting human health and focuses on the prevention of disease and injury. One of the main goals of public health is to educate the public about health and wellbeing, educate people about healthy behavior, and encourage them to practice these habits in their daily lives. If you are into health and want to help people, public health work might be a good career option for you.
Public Health and the CDC
Public health affects both small and large groups of people, from local communities to national and global health issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the primary health agencies in the United States. The CDC is committed to protecting the health of Americans, striving to save lives and teaching people how to be healthier. When disease is a threat, the CDC works to keep Americans safe. The CDC also teaches on common causes of death such as cancer and heart disease to help people make health-conscious choices. If necessary, the CDC also works nationally and globally to protect Americans from health threats.
Public Health History
Over the past few centuries, scientists have learned a lot about how to control and prevent disease. As this knowledge has expanded, public health has evolved. Centuries ago, when scientists and doctors had limited knowledge about disease, people accepted the fact that disease was inevitable. Most people did little to avoid getting sick because they didn’t know how; They just expected to get sickness. Epidemics were widespread and epidemics were feared. Sometimes people tried to contain the spread of disease by quarantining travelers and isolating the sick. Gradually, people learned that measures such as quarantines made it possible to contain some contagious diseases.
The first links between cleanliness and health were made in the 19th century. Hygiene had a huge impact on health, and people began to use cleaning methods to prevent disease. Often times, those who lived in poorer areas became the most sick because these people lived in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. They just couldn’t keep their skin clean and their food sources were often contaminated. Those with money did not have to live in misery; They could afford to live on estates outside the city limits. The discovery of the link between health and things like waste disposal and clean water supplies was instrumental in making important changes in how society deals with these sanitation problems. With this new understanding it became possible to control diseases and prevent people from getting sick.
The invention of vaccination marked another major milestone in public health history. Louis Pasteur was a chemist in France who developed an anthrax immunization in 1884. The process of identifying the causes of diseases and then developing vaccines to prevent those diseases enabled scientists to prevent people from getting sick rather than just focusing on developing cures for those who were already sick.
Careers in public health
Anyone looking to help others and society at large could fit well with a career in public health. While doctors and nurses focus on the health of individuals, those who work in public health strive to improve the health of groups of people through education and by improving living conditions and the environment. Public health work can focus on health education, behavioral science, infectious diseases, occupational medicine, epidemiology, global health, and more. After completing a study program and earning a degree, a graduate may work as an educator, coordinator, scientist or manager in the private, public or non-profit sector. Essential services may include identifying health threats, educating communities, mobilizing solutions to solve problems, developing new health policies, enforcing regulations, and connecting different groups to ensure health needs are met.