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Hlth130- summaries

Hlth130- summaries - CHAPTER 1 Public Health is a broad...

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CHAPTER 1 Public Health is a broad term that is difficult to define. It includes a goal- maximum health for all – as well as the means of attempting to achieve that goal. Public health is concerned with the prevention of disease and disability. It is aimed at benefiting the entire population in contrast with medicine, which focuses on the individual. The functions of public health in a community can be compared with the functions of a physician in caring for a patient. Public health diagnoses and treats the community’s ills by way of assessment, policy development, and assurance. It relies on the tools of science and politics. The public health sciences of epidemiology and statistics are applied in assessing a population’s health. Policy is developed based on biomedical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, environmental health sciences, and the study of the medical care system. Public health depends on politics for decision making. Decisions on public health interventions to be taken by the community, insofar as they require government action, are reached through politics. Public health focuses on prevention of disease and disability. Preventive measures can be applied at three levels: primary prevention aims to prevent a disease or injury from occurring at all; secondary prevention aims to minimize the damage caused by the illness or injury-causing event when it occurs; and tertiary prevention seeks to minimize any ensuing disability by providing medical care and rehabilitation. Public health prevention programs function through interventions designed to interrupt the chain of causation that leads to an illness or an injury. Interventions can be directed toward eliminating or suppressing the agent that causes an illness or injury, strengthening the resistance of the host to the agent, or changing the environment in such a way that the host is less likely to encounter the agent. Public health is an abstract concept that is not well understood and is often neglected. The dramatic events of fall 2001 forced the government and the media to pay attention to the importance of public health, both in mitigating the effects of obvious disasters, and in recognizing and controlling the more insidious effects of bioterrorism. CHAPTER 2 Public health is controversial because, depending on how it is defined, it may challenge people’s values and demand sacrifices. The battle between an expansive and a restrictive view of public health is ongoing. The expansive view asks people to give up a degree of personal liberty for the common good. At its most idealistic, public health is a broad social movement, a campaign to maximize health for everyone in the population through disturbing benefits and responsibilities in an equitable way. Health is therefore “a political endeavor as much as, or at times even more than, a medical one.” Public health measures are often controversial because they have an economic impact. The people or industries that must pay the prices may not be the ones that will benefit from the new protections. Costs are usually more concrete
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