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“Annie, what does the term Public Health mean?” “It’s the science of protecting and improving society’s health. That’s a good question LJ since we’ve been relying on those experts to get us through the Coronavirus pandemic. So if a medical doctor is devoted to preventing and treating disease in an individual, a public health scientist is dedicated to preventing and treating disease in populations.
There are several disciplines within this profession. For example, Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is a medical doctor/Immunologist who studies problems of the immune system. Epidemiologists investigate patterns and causes of disease. Biostatisticians collects, dissects, and summarizes information about health and disease.”
“Are these specialists part of a pandemic team?” “Yes, a pandemic team consists of agencies who come together to respond to a global disease threat such as Ebola in 2014. Specifically, such a team will include Environmental Health specialists who study the environment affecting humans and Biologists who analyze living organisms and their evolution. During a pandemic, the biologist will train the locals on how to collect specimens related to the disease safely. The team also has Healthcare Administrators trained on how healthcare delivery systems operate and Public Policy experts, responsible for policies that support a population’s well-being at the government level. More specialists join the team as needed.” “It’s fascinating when you think about how well protected we are by all of this expertise.” “Yes, LJ and the history of public health is interesting as well.
During ancient times, as humans shifted from hunter-gatherers to farmers, their domesticated animals provided food and labor. These animals also brought diseases. At the same time, people were living communally, and that was another opportunity to transmit sickness. The earliest leaders realized that it was in their best interest to promote health and prevent illness. After all, a healthy worker was able to contribute to the economic well-being of the village. Once a government could guarantee clean water and safely dispose of waste, they began to protect their public’s health. By doing so, they created a foundation on which to build other institutions like schools, hospitals, libraries, fire districts, sewer systems, and waste-management districts.
One of the earliest known public health projects is the famous Roman aqueducts. The first one was built in Italy in 312 BC. The aqueducts supplied clean water to homes, farms, gardens, public baths, toilets, and fountains. This system included sedimentation tanks which captured water-borne debris. Water run-off from the aqueducts cleaned the city sewers.
Twentieth-century public health achievements include Immunizations, infectious disease control, smoking cessation, seat belts, fluoridation in drinking water, workplace safety, and fewer heart attacks and strokes. These successes allow for more ambitious twenty-first-century goals, and for that reason, there’s never been a better time to consider a career in this profession. For example, there is a growing demand for Community Health Center Administrators, Public Policy experts with a combined JD/MPH education, and for sure MD/Engineers who will expand the role of technology through wearables, apps for health conditions and designing smart healthier homes.
So, in summary, babes our public health infrastructure consisting of experts and institutions, support the welfare of our country. It is in our best interest to appreciate, listen to, and fund this expertise. ” LJ thoughtfully paused and…
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