Posted: May 25th, 2022
What is Public Health? What are the Goals and Values of Public Health?
Public Health Significance and Personal Health
Public health refers to the science of safeguarding and improving family and community health by promoting a healthy way of living, researching into injury and disease prevention, and identifying and controlling communicable diseases in a timely manner. On the whole, public health’s focus is the safeguarding of whole populations’ health, right from local communities to entire nations and world regions.
Public health workers aim at disease prevention before their onset or recurrence via the implementation of educational initiatives, policy recommendations, research, and delivery of appropriate services; this is contrary to nurses, physicians and other clinical healthcare workers whose chief focus is treatment after a person gets injured or diagnosed with a health problem. Furthermore, public health strives towards bridging the healthcare gap. Public health endeavors largely aim at fostering healthcare accessibility, equity, and quality (CDC Foundation, 2016).
The population health-individual relationship is constructed partly on medicine’s general categorization into public health and clinical medicine. This represents an irony at the public health domain’s core — an ethical struggle between the population’s good and that of the individual. One cannot simply explain such conflict away. But, under certain circumstances, this disagreement may be settled by taking it to a different platform, viewing it from a different perspective. Individuals’ optimal health differs from that of the overall group, and clinicians’ responsibilities may clash with those of public health workers. The latter implicitly give precedence to the overall society’s wellbeing over individual wellbeing and, in pursuit of public health, personal health cases might be impaired.
Public health interventions having the potential to provide immense national benefits might end up harming, or only minimally benefiting, a majority of individual patients. This occurs for the reason that a population’s statistical construct is essentially a biological entity independent from the people it comprises of (an ecological fallacy would result if one thinks otherwise) (The Society for Public Health, 1993).
Goals of Public Health
Societal health promotion has remained public health workers’ historical objective. This objective has long constituted the default notion underlying the purpose of the public health sphere, beginning with the basic sanitation issues of the nineteenth century, and other areas later addressed when the welfare societies of the western world were being constructed. But the public health domain began undergoing an expansion in the seventies, to encompass issues pertaining to distribution of some particular population health quantity in a given society. Specifically, health disparities were highlighted as major public health issues, and action plans were formulated for empowering a number of poor or weak social groups.
As stated in the previous paragraph, the seventies witnessed an expansion of the public health domain to cover issues concerning distribution of some particular population health quantity in a given society, with particular emphasis on health gaps and development of actions to empower poor or weak population clusters. This way, it becomes apparent that the disparity-related concern is targeted at health state as well as health opportunity distribution (like healthcare-connected knowledge, access and education, in addition to different types of material resources).
Critics of public health slam it for its indifference towards individuals and, particularly, towards personal autonomy (criticizing, for instance, collectivist and paternalist health policies, management of contagious diseases, vaccination and screening programs, and so forth). Several other factors were presumed to be working too, like the growing linkage between public health workers and operative healthcare organizations. Ultimately, no matter what, the outcome was the emergence of precisely what medical ethicists claimed was lacking in public health. In the eighties and nineties, a public health trend of placing more emphasis on combining health opportunity provision and related information, and respecting the decision of individuals with regard to employing such chances in a manner that implies a parallel responsibility of individuals for the outcome (even if people elected not to take advantage of these opportunities) became popular (Korsgaard, 1983).
Essential Public Health Service: “Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.”
The service concentrates on empowering individuals to engage in informed decision-making when it comes to personal as well as community health issues. The essential service aids one’s capability of developing community health strategies.
It is of significance as it involves the following:
Increasing accessibility of health-related academic resources and information;
Offering health-related scholastic activities and information capable of developing requisite knowledge and influencing attitudes for fostering improved health and decreasing health risks;
Formulating and implementing health communication activities and plans in line with the diverse community groups;
Facilitating informed individual decision-making pertaining to choosing health options, and among leaders capable of establishing community health policies.
Partnering with schools, personal care professionals, faith groups, worksites etc. on health promotion and education program implementation and reinforcement, with an aim to influence conduct, knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary among healthy community workers.
The service incorporates a system for communicating with community members in a professional, empathetic and efficient manner. It involves public health workers’ capacity of leveraging partnerships for health reinforcement and care implementation (Ventura County Public Health, 2013).
The Ten Great Public Health Achievements
Improved nutrition and sanitation, increased antibiotic access, healthcare access, and neonatal and maternal medicine advances have resulted in healthier moms and infants. Earlier, childbirth was associated with considerable risk to a number of babies and mothers (MMWR, 1999). However, within a century, child mortality dropped by a rate of more than ninety percent, with a nearly 99% drop in maternal mortality. Improvements in living standards, healthcare access, nutrition, and disease monitoring were important factors affecting the above rates.
Visit a State (Provincial) Health Department Website and Two Local Health Department Websites.
New York State Department of Health
Mission statement: “We protect, improve and promote the health, productivity and well-being of all New Yorkers.”
Yes, the above mission statement is consistent with the Institute of Medicine’s public health definition of satisfying societal interests in ensuring conditions for individuals to remain healthy.
Mission statement: “To provide high quality service in a professional, efficient, and fiscally responsible manner while improving the health of Cumberland County.”
Yes, the statement follows IOM’s public health definition.
Mission statement: “In partnership with the communities we serve, the Health Department assures, promotes and protects the health of the people of Multnomah County.”
Yes, the statement follows IOM’s public health definition.
Information Related to Immunizations for Children and Adults
The website offers facts regarding immunization and vaccines, together with its significance. It claims that vaccines form a major public health accomplishment, because of which polio and other serious, generally lethal ailments that were, at one time, extensively seen among Americans now belong in the past. Furthermore, the website lists down the diseases whose vaccines are available, in addition to the clinics wherein one may be inoculated, their locations, any costs, and necessary documentation. Lastly, it also states that one among the most crucial means of protection from serious infections and ailments in all population groups, right from babies to aged people, is getting vaccinated on time. New York’s health department, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) advice parents to ensure their kids are inoculated as per the vaccination schedule recommended for them. Lastly, it is essential that adults are also administered the vaccines advised for their age group.
Assessment of their Public-Health-related Health Problems
Are Any Essential or Important Services Neglected?
How These Sites Do or Do Not Contribute to The Health and Well-Being of the Citizens in Their Respective Jurisdictions?
They promote community wellbeing by offering the ten essential public health services, especially the provision of appropriate, latest information to citizens.
CDC Foundation. (2016). What is Public Health. Retrieved from CDC Foundation: http://www.cdcfoundation.org/content/what-public-health
Korsgaard, C. (1983). Two Distinctions in Goodness. The Philosophical Review, 92(2), 169 — 195.
MMWR. (1999, April 2). Ten Great Public Health Achievements — United States, 1900-1999. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, pp. 241-243. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Society for Public Health. (1993). Public Health vs. Personal Health. Public Health (107), 397-399.
Ventura County Public Health. (2013, August 26). A look at the 10 Essential Public Health Services. Retrieved from Ventura County Public Health: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/data/informatics/Documents/Ventura%20Essential%20Services.pdf
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