About

Public Health -- What Is It?

In 1920, C-E.A. Winslow defined public health as “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.” The optimization of health across communities and populations requires interdisciplinary expertise to implement educational programs, develop policies, administer services, conduct research, and regulate health systems.

Public health professionals build upon foundational areas of study such as, biostatistics, environmental and occupational health, epidemiology, health education, and health systems and policy with specialization and in combination in areas such as maternal and child health, gerontology, nutrition, engineering, genetics, bioinformatics and data processing. There is general agreement that most of the extraordinary 25-30 year increase in life expectancy that occurred in the United States in the 20th Century is due to public health efforts.

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is a useful introduction to the growing health care sector of our economy and provides additional breadth of understanding for persons who may be trained in a particular clinical profession but who would like to broaden their responsibilities and interests beyond the provision of patient care.

For more information about Public Health as a field, visit the following resources: