Public Health

Author(s):
Robin Roach, BSN, MS, CIC Director, Infection Prevention and Control

Oregon Health and Science University
Portland, OR

Published:
November 25, 2014

Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of the intersecting roles of infection prevention and public health within the healthcare system and the community as a whole. Public health is often considered synonymous with disease prevention. Its goal is to promote the health of the entire human population.1Medicine focuses on treating the illness of individuals and public health focuses on preventing morbidity and mortality within communities. To this end, public health provides coordinated leadership and guidance on both infectious and noninfectious conditions to the healthcare community and the general public. More recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Healthcare Safety Network plays a dominant role as a conduit for reporting healthcare-associated infections to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This chapter discusses public health's primary functions: public health basic principles, public health and infection prevention trends, and, lastly, the global perspective and highlights of collaborative efforts.