Health practice is the use of scientific knowledge and social values to promote
healthy people and communities morningdispatcher. It is the focus of the mission of the federal Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health departments. The
term also encompasses the activities of other individuals, organizations, institutions,
and collaborations, including businesses and community-based associations.
Public health is the science of protecting and improving the quality of life, especially
by preventing and reducing disease, disability and premature death through
promotion of healthy environments and lifestyles, advocacy for policies that improve
health, and provision of services for those with chronic or acute conditions. It is a
complex and evolving discipline with diverse disciplines and skills.
A number of societal factors influence health and disease, including socioeconomic
status, the physical environment, and the behavioral choices people make. For
example, smoking and alcohol consumption may place people at risk for a range of
infectious diseases and chronic health problems, while lack of exercise and diet can
lead to cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and injuries.
The CDC defines public health practice as the “science, policy and systems that
support the delivery of services to address the social determinants of health.” It is
based on an understanding of what causes illness, how to identify those factors, and
what can be done about them. It is a broad and complex field that involves multiple
disciplines and skill sets, and it requires the integration of the scientific
understanding of health with social values and political commitment.
To provide the necessary resources, the CDC and its partners must establish,
implement and evaluate programs. These include promoting healthy food and
beverage choices, encouraging active lifestyles, and providing preventive care. They
also work to ensure that all citizens have access to high-quality and cost-effective
Many people who are involved in health care practice are physicians or other
healthcare providers, such as nurses and pharmacists. These professionals often
work as solo practitioners, in small group practices, or in corporate settings.
The number of physicians practicing in these settings has increased as more
hospitals and health care corporations purchase and manage solo practices or
directly hire clinicians to work in their inpatient facilities and ambulatory clinics.
Physicians who choose to practice in a group setting are likely to have a larger
number of patients, and their clinical workload is spread across a wider patient
population than would be possible in a single-physician practice.
These groups can be structured in a variety of ways, depending on the needs of
individual physicians and their own career goals. For example, some physicians who
prefer to focus on treating specific diseases may prefer the flexibility that comes
with working in a group setting. Others, such as those who are more concerned with
promoting health and wellness, might opt for a solo practice.
To meet the challenges of addressing health disparities, public health practice must
be more comprehensive and more collaborative than ever before. To accomplish
this, the CDC and its partners must work more closely with communities in planning
and implementation. It should also better assess and address the needs of
individuals and populations, so that community members can have greater voice in
their own health and wellbeing.