Key areas of work in public health
Since a huge range of factors impact on our health, the work delivered by public health professionals is equally as diverse.
Below are some key examples of public health work, but there are many other areas of practice.
Examples of Public Health Work
Assessing population health needs, and commissioning and evaluating health programmes and initiatives to promote healthy behaviours. These include improving nutrition, physical activity, sexual health, substance use, disease prevention, and the importance of vaccinations.
Disease Surveillance and Control
Monitor the occurrence and spread of diseases within a population. Collect, analyse, and interpret health data to identify trends, outbreaks, and potential health risks and develop strategies for disease prevention, control, and response, including vaccination programmes and outbreak investigations.
Policy Development and Advocacy
Provide evidence-based recommendations to policymakers to inform and influence health-related policies. Advocate for health equity and implement evidence-based public health interventions.
Health Protection and Emergency Preparedness
Protect the population from health threats, emergencies, and disasters. Develop emergency response plans, coordinate preparedness efforts, and provide guidance on managing public health emergencies such as infectious disease outbreaks, natural disasters, or chemical incidents.
Research and Evaluation
Engage in research to advance the understanding of health issues. Conduct studies and programme evaluations to inform public health strategies and policies.
Collaboration and Partnership
Collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders in the UK and internationally to address health challenges collectively. These include healthcare providers, community organisations, academia, and the public.
Population Health Intelligence
Combining intelligence, evidence, and research to translate data on a given population into effective public health action.
Domains of Public Health Practice
Whilst the work of public health professionals is extremely varied, there are three identifiable domains of public health practice.
These three domains are Health Protection, Health Improvement, and Health Services.
These domains are supported by the underlying functions of public health, which include public health knowledge and intelligence, academic public health, and workforce development.
Domains of Public Health Practice
Health Improvement Public health professionals develop and implement health promotion campaigns and initiatives to raise awareness about healthy lifestyles, disease prevention, and the importance of vaccinations. They promote awareness on topics such as nutrition, physical activity, sexual health, and substance use.
Health Protection professionals work to protect the population from health threats, emergencies, and disasters. They develop emergency response plans, coordinate preparedness efforts, and provide guidance on managing public health emergencies such as infectious disease outbreaks, natural disasters, or chemical incidents.
Healthcare public health improves public health by ensuring health services are of consistently high quality and especially that they are evidence-informed and value-based, and address issues of effectiveness, efficiency and equity.