What is Public Health?
Public health as a discipline exists to prevent disease, promote health and prolong life among the population as a whole. The aim is to provide conditions in which people can be healthy. The focus is on entire populations, rather than on individuals.
The unique role of local public health is to perform core functions (assessment, policy development and assurance) and deliver the 10 Essential Public Health Services in partnership with the community. These functions and services are the foundation of all of Washtenaw County Public Health's work.
The 10 Essential Public Health Services:
Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems.
Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community.
Inform, educate and empower people about health issues.
Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems.
Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.
Assure competent public and personal health care workforce.
Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility and quality of personal and population-based health services.
Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.
Did you know?
Public health is like a health care provider for the entire community. The goal is to prevent health problems before they occur. In contrast, health care providers generally treat individuals after they are sick.
Local health departments in Michigan are governmental entities with a legal responsibility to assure the public’s health (Michigan Public Health Code, Public Act 368 of 1978). No other entity assesses threats to the community from communicable and chronic diseases, poor access to health care or health promotion practices or failure to protect the environment.
Public Health Saves Lives and Saves Money
- What is Public Health? A fact sheet from the American Association of Public Health
- The Public Health System and the 10 Essential Public Health Services (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Michigan Association for Local Public Health
- Michigan Department of Community Health
- University of Michigan School of Public Health