Introduction Public health encompasses a broad array of programs, princi­ples, and professional disciplines. The field is a multidisciplinary science, drawing from medicine, biology, sociology, management, psy­chol­ogy, po­liti­cal science, communications, marketing, and engineering. Public health works with traditional medical practice to promote health and well-­being and to prevent disease and injury. Although the two systems have similar goals, each uses dif­fer­ent strategies to achieve the goals. Traditional West- ern medicine focuses on individuals. Public health focuses on groups of ­ people. Western medicine is reactionary, responding to individual cases of injury or disease. Public health is proactive, identifying at-­risk groups and working to stop a prob­lem early, sometimes before the prob­lem starts. Western medicine is treatment oriented. Public health strives for prevention. Although the traditional medical system treats individuals suffering from a health prob­lem, public health intervenes to prevent potential prob­lems. The two systems work together to alleviate ­human suffering and to promote quality of life. The public health workforce is composed of diverse professionals who work together through many dif­fer­ent agencies and organ­izations. Common functions are to monitor community health, investigate outbreaks of disease, empower com- munities, mobilize partnerships, and care for vulnerable populations. Over the past 100 years, public health has realized significant achievements, increasing life span and quality of life. Activities work at the macro-­level with policies, regulations, and programs and at the micro-­level of influencing individual health be­hav­iors. Public health extends beyond the day-­to-­day tasks of disease prevention and health pro- motion. Public health is a frame of mind, a po­liti­cal advocacy, a social movement of advocating for ­others, especially ­ those who lack the power and resources to secure their own health. Public health professionals work ­ toward a common vision for equi- table health and health care in the United States. The origins of public health trace back to early ­ humans who devised ways to dis- pose of ­human waste without contaminating drinking ­ water. As bacteriology and immunology emerged as scientific disciplines, so did the multidisciplinary field of public health. The most commonly recognized definition of public health was penned by Charles-­Edward Amory Winslow, founder of the Yale School of Public Health. In 1920, Winslow described the newly emerging public health profession as: The science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health and efficiency through or­ ga ­ nized community efforts for the sanitation of the environment,
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