Public Health: What Does It Entail?

By Gary Prendiville

Google “public health” and you’ll get a broad definition: the health of the population as a whole, especially as monitored, regulated, and promoted by the state.

Nice and professional, right? But what does it actually mean? Public health has an extensive and diverse reach. While public health is large scale in focus, the importance of individuals should not be forgotten. When natural disaster or disease strikes, The Red Cross gathers donations and sends doctors/volunteers to the impacted communities. To affect the big picture, the details and individuals matter.

Public health is an umbrella for general wellness, homelessness, sexual awareness and mental health. Public Health organizations may specialize in one topic and may be federal or private. During the Obama administration, First Lady Michelle Obama began an initiative to increase proper nutrition and activity. Mrs. Obama created the Let’s Move! campaign to increase healthy options in public school lunches.

Project Hope is dedicated to spreading public health awareness to various community partners in the greater Boston area. Taylor Hazlett, a volunteer at the Allston Brighton Task Force, believes public health should be a right. “People need to be more aware of the less fortunate and Project Hope is a great way to step into someone’s shoes,” said Hazlett.

Acoording to Lauren Vitacco, a Project Hope volunteer, supporting public health organizations is a way to give back. “People forget about the people who don’t have a voice,” said Vitacco. 

Organizations dedicated to public health develop stronger communities. They help those in need and allow citizens to become proactive volunteers.

Public health is the foundation for a brighter tomorrow. When we invest in the safety and well-being of all Americans, we enrich our communities, bolster our economy, and strengthen our Nation,” said President Obama during National Public Health Week in 2015.

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