The discipline of public health seeks to promote and protect the health of people and their communities. Public health professionals promote healthy lifestyles, research disease and injury prevention, and detect, prevent, and respond to infectious diseases (CDC Foundation, 2018).
Well-known subdisciplines of public health include epidemiology, biostatistics, and health services. Other important specialized areas of inquiry include health economics, public policy, and occupational safety, as well as environmental, community, behavioral, sexual, and reproductive health.
Public health examines the challenges associated with disasters and provides solutions for managing health risks and the effects of emergencies and disasters, especially risks associated with infectious disease outbreaks; unsafe food and water; chemical and radiation contamination; natural and technological hazards; wars and other societal conflicts; and climate change.
In Disaster Research
As it relates to disasters and emergency management, public health is multisectoral and encompasses health both during and after disasters. Public health and its subdiscipline of epidemiology systematically analyze and promote management of health risks through hazard and vulnerability reduction to prevent and mitigate risks, and enhance community preparedness, emergency response, and recovery measures. In addition to reducing or avoiding health impacts, such as deaths, injuries, diseases, disabilities, and psychosocial problems, professionals working in these areas also address problems associated with health infrastructure, such as the disruption of health systems, facilities, and services, which can leave many without access to health care during and after disasters (World Health Organization, 2013).
CDC Foundation. (2018). What Is Public Health? Retrieved August 22, 2018, from https://www.cdcfoundation.org/what-public-health
World Health Organization. (2013). Emergency Risk Management for Health Overview. Retrieved August 22, 2018, from https://www.who.int/hac/techguidance/preparedness/risk_management_overview_17may2013.pdf
CONVERGE is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation, Program on Humans, Disasters, and the Built Environment (Award #1841338). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.