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WHY STUDY PUBLIC HEALTH?

BECAUSE YOU CARE.

Public health is a field for people who care about the greater good of human beings.

If that sounds self-important, consider this: Millions of people are alive today thanks to a handful of public health initiatives, such as vaccination programs, motor vehicle safety laws, restrictions on the use of tobacco, family planning, and clean air and water standards.

The field of public health is constantly evolving in response to the needs of communities and populations around the world. The underlying mission of public health is to improve the conditions and behaviors that affect health so that all people can attain it. That mission includes not only the practice of public health policy, but the research of public health issues and the education of future leaders who eventually will translate that research into practices and policies to improve the health of people regionally, nationally, and globally.

Public health...
  • has a real and lasting positive effect on people.
  • helps promote a healthy environment.
  • is a moral and ethical imperative.

Why is public health important?

The work of public health professionals is important because public health initiatives affect people every day in every part of the world. It addresses broad issues that can affect the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities, populations, and societies—both now, and for generations to come.

Public health programs help keep people alive. These programs have led to...
  • increased life expectancies.
  • worldwide reductions in infant and child mortality.
  • eradication or reduction of many communicable diseases.
polio vaccine site, India

What is Public Health?

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A short history of humans and germs: Episode 3 (video) 

A short history of humans and germs: Episode 3 (video)

NPR - For most of human history, we had a lot of bad ideas about how we were getting sick and how to prevent it. Things started changing only about 200 years ago when an English doctor invented vaccination, our first safe and effective way to fight disease. So what did that do for us? Consider that ... (02/16/2017)
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A short history of humans and germs: Episode 2 (VIDEO) 

A short history of humans and germs: Episode 2 (VIDEO)

NPR - Ten thousand years ago, at the dawn of the agricultural revolution, many of our deadly human diseases didn't exist. What changed? For the first time in history, humans were living in close contact with domesticated animals - milking them, taking care of them, living with them and eating them. ... (02/08/2017)
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A short history of humans and germs: Episode 1 (VIDEO) 

A short history of humans and germs: Episode 1 (VIDEO)

NPR - Humans get along pretty well with most microbes. Which is lucky, because there are a lot more of them in the world than there are of us. This is a series is about where germs come from. In this first of three episodes, we see what our early encounters with germs may have been like, and how ger... (02/02/2017)
© 2017 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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