Public Health-what it is and what it is not
February 14, 2019
To The Eagle:
This is a common question and it is rarely understood. It is easier to understand if one compares the Medical model with the Public Health model.
The Medical model (Doctors of Medicine) treats sickness—indigent or wealthy. Public Health on the other hand is the science that prevents sickness in both the indigent and wealthy. Public Health does this in four ways:
1. We remove noxious agents from the environment; such agents as lead, arsenic, formaldehyde, hydrocarbons that cause cancer, asbestos, etc.
2. We interrupt modes of transmission of disease. This is all the inspections of restaurants, motels, hotels, schools, food markets of all kinds, waste disposal, septic disposals, water supplies, jails and prisons, etc.
3. We strengthen the host. This includes immunization, nutrition, and health education, anything that helps the host get strong enough in any way to resist getting a disease.
4. We do presymptomatic screening. We do this on high-risk groups e.g. seniors are most likely to have high blood pressure, skin cancer, glaucoma, diabetes, other cancers, falls, hearing loss, etc.
There are many more conditions that can be found that the citizen is not aware of. These are very important and because they do not have symptoms they do not usually see the medical doctor until their condition becomes symptomatic and sometimes that is too late to correct it. For Public Health to find a condition early enough for the medical doctor to correct it can be lifesaving.
Preventing diseases and premature deaths is a privileged profession and accounts for the prestige given it by our university systems.
Long live Public Health!
Dr. W. Boone Mora, Dr. of Public Health (Ret.)