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What IS Public Health?

student ph booth

Ashley Rochefort challenged students with public health quizzes.

Students in the college’s Department of Public Health asked that question of students passing by their booth on the QUAD yesterday and the students wrote their answers on a board.

It’s clear that they  “got it” – that public health is health promotion and prevention everywhere and for everyone. Ashley Leister MPH ’11 and Heather Hodnett, a senior in exercise and sport science handed out removable stickers featuring a “This is Public Health” message and encouraged students to place around campus where they see evidence of public health.

Ashley Rochefort MPH ’11 staffed a nearby booth that featured milestones in public health.  She offered a quiz for students and handed out free t-shirts and water bottles to celebrate National Public Health Week on campus. “This gets students thinking about what public health is and shows them that it encompasses air and water quality, disease prevention and control, and all aspects of individual and community health.”

Across the nation, schools, communities and organizations are recognizing Public Health Week with the theme A Healthier America: One community at a time.  The American Public Health Association website features two excellent videos: A healthier America begins with you and This is what Pubic Health does. What are you doing?

Public health is the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals. It is concerned with threats to the overall health of a community based on population health analysis. The population in question can be as small as a handful of people or as large as all the inhabitants of several continents (for instance, in the case of a pandemic). Public health is typically divided into epidemiology, biostatistics and health services. Environmental, social, behavioral, and occupational health are also important subfields. (wikipedia.com)

ph students

Ashley Leister and Heather Hodnett invited students to define public health.