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What is Population Health and Public Health?

C.E.A. Winslow defined public health as “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health and efficiency through organized community effort…” Public health focuses on prevention and through practice it develops and implements the policies and programs that promote health. For example, it can focus on improving health through society-wide measures like vaccinations, the fluoridation of drinking water, or through policies like seatbelt and non-smoking laws.

Population health is the body of scientific disciplines interested in the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease states in the population. It is an approach to health that seeks to step beyond the individual-level focus of traditional clinical and preventive medicine by addressing a broad range of factors that impact health on a population-level. For example, it can focus on ways to reduce health inequities among population groups by exploring factors such as the environment, social structures, resource distribution, etc.