Public Health and Global Health Definitions

Public Health

For the purpose of having a common language, we broadly define public health as focusing on the science, practice, and art of collective efforts to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong quality of life among populations, while assuring conditions in which all people can be healthy.

Rather than being a single discipline, public health as a profession includes the contributions of many disciplines/fields that impact the health of a population including, but not limited to epidemiology, behavioral science, medicine, social work, engineering, communication, business, law, and global health (CDC 1994, ASPH 2006, & WHO 2002).

Global Health

Global health is an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. It emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences; and is a synthesis of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care. Although global health places greater priority on prevention, it also embraces curative, rehabilitative, and other aspects of clinical medicine and the study of basic sciences (Koplan 2009).