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Why Study Public Health?


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?


The Death of Evidence(?) Implications for All of Us (video) 

The Death of Evidence(?) Implications for All of Us (video)

Jonathan M. Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, visited Pitt to discuss threats to decision making from powerful stakeholders who undermine scientific evidence by creating doubt. The origins of this “doubt creation” strategy can be traced to actions taken by the tobacco industry an... (02/11/2019)

Why aren't we spending more on public health? 

Why aren't we spending more on public health?

NEW YORK TIMES - Not only have many public health interventions been hugely successful, but they’ve also saved more money than they’ve cost. And yet Americans spend relatively little money in that domain and far more on medical care that returns less value for its costs. Instead of continually comp... (06/01/2018)

New banners showcase impacts of Pitt Public Health 

New banners showcase impacts of Pitt Public Health

This week Pitt Public Health is launching a public art campaign of banners showing those impacted by the field of public health and sharing some of the school's areas of excellence such as health equity, healthy aging, global and women's health. "With seven departments doing widely different work, ... (03/08/2018)
© 2019 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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