Health Affairs December 17, 2020
Ronald O. Valdiserri

“Public health,” a phrase that is easily expressed, is not quite as clearly understood—even by persons who are employed in the many domains of the health care field. For some, the term may bring to mind the image of a local health department where clients seek out screening tests for sexually transmitted infections. Others may view public health as synonymous with the delivery of certain health care services, such as the annual flu vaccine. And while these two examples do, indeed, highlight services that support a public health function, by themselves they fall woefully short of encompassing the full scope of what is engendered by the phrase “public health.”

Despite its age, the definition of public health proposed by Charles-Edward Amory...

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