Public Health

Bobbiejean Garcia, MPH, CIC, FAPIC Lead System Infections Epidemiologist

Houston Methodist Hospital

Houston, Texas

Ga On Jung, MPH, CIC Epidemiologist

Defense Health Agency

559th Medical Group

JBSA-Lackland, TX

Declarations of Conflicts of Interest:
  • Bobbiejean Garcia worked at the Texas Department of State Health Services (Texas DSHS) during chapter writing. Texas DSHS received funds from the CDC which contributed to a portion of Bobbiejean's salary during part of chapter revisions.
  • Ga On Jung worked at Harris County Public Health while completing APIC Text Public Health chapter revisions. At time of chapter revisions funding from the Texas Department of State Health Services went toward her salary.


This chapter provides an overview of the intersecting roles of infection prevention and public health within the healthcare system and the community. Public health is often considered synonymous with disease prevention. Its goal is to promote the health of the entire human population. Medicine 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 public. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network plays a dominant public health role as a conduit for reporting healthcare-associated infections to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This chapter discusses public health’s primary functions in the context of basic principles of public health, public health and infection prevention trends, the future of public health, and public health in a global perspective.