By Brandon Sandine
AMSA State and Local Policy Coordinator
No really, what is it that we do? This question is often posed to the chosen few of us whom tirelessly work behind the scenes in the field of public health. With the current inter-disciplinary medical model of healthcare the country has adopted, this is a very reasonable question to ask.
Public health professionals study the etiology of disease from a top down perspective and develop strategies to reduce its prevalence. Through the implementation of the three core functions of public health; assessment, policy development, and assurance, we ensure the health of the populations that we serve. While it may not be the most glamorous specialty in health care, public health has a definitive role to play. In collaboration with physicians, we can combat the spread of infectious disease, decrease the prevalence of chronic illness, and increase quality of life.
A good proportion of what we do involves preventive health measures. Vaccinations are a prime example of public health efforts that has reduced the prevalence of many infectious diseases. Unfortunately, many people recently have grown unnecessarily concerned over the safety of these vaccinations and are electing not to vaccinate their children. Because of this we are now seeing a reemergence of previously thought eradicated diseases such as measles. Our job is to inform the public that vaccinations are entirely safe and to put policies in place that make getting vaccinated the default choice.
The next time you find yourself in a conversation on the diverse health care work force don’t forget about the public health professionals. Historically, one thing is clear, the preventive measures of your public health professionals are vital to the health care of a community. If you would like to know more about what we do, check out this great link