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What is public health

The Faculty defines public health as:

The science and art of promoting and protecting health and well-being, preventing ill-health and prolonging life through the organised efforts of society.

The Faculty's Public Health Approach

The Faculty's approach is that public health:

  • is population based
  • emphasises collective responsibility for health, its protection and disease prevention
  • recognises the key role of the state, linked to a concern for the underlying socio-economic and wider determinants of health, as well as disease
  • emphasises partnerships with all those who contribute to the health of the population.

Three key domains of public health practice:

Health Improvement

  • Inequalities
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Family/community
  • Lifestyles
  • Surveillance and monitoring of specific diseases and risk factors

Improving services

  • Clinical effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Service planning
  • Audit and evaluation
  • Clinical governance
  • Equity

Health Protection

  • Infectious diseases
  • Chemicals and poisons
  • Radiation
  • Emergency response
  • Environmental health hazards

The nine key areas for public health practice:

The Faculty's core values are that public health practice should be:

  • equitable
  • empowering
  • effective
  • evidence-based
  • fair
  • inclusive

In light of these core values, and the three domains of public health practice, we have agreed nine key areas for public health practice.

These nine areas are at the basis of all standards of training and practice that the Faculty develops.

The nine key areas are:

  • Surveillance and assessment of the population's health and wellbeing
  • Assessing the evidence of effectiveness of health and healthcare interventions, programmes and services
  • Policy and strategy development and implementation
  • Strategic leadership and collaborative working for health
  • Health Improvement
  • Health Protection
  • Health and Social Service Quality
  • Public Health Intelligence
  • Academic Public Health


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    • What is Public Health? - Health Education Wessex