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What is Public Health

What is Public Health

Mother and Child in Grant Park, Chicago IL


Many people don't know of, or think about, public health, because when it works right, it's invisible.  If public health wasn’t around, we would all notice the difference and suffer the consequences. As opposed to medicine, which concentrates on the treatment of disease once it has occurred, public health focuses on the prevention of disease and optimizing the physical and psychosocial status of populations.

As such, public health is the most interdisciplinary and therefore, challenging health profession.  To practice it well requires an integrated knowledge of many disciplines including: molecular biology, the basic medical sciences, epidemiology, statistics, environmental sciences, psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, administration, management, law, politics and policy, ethics and all the clinical disciplines.  Even engineering, urban planning, architecture and social work are critical when it comes to implementing public health interventions or procedures.

To practice public health successfully, one must first gain an appreciation of its many facets; and that is what we make possible at the UIC School of Public Health.

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