Back to Blog Understanding Public Health: UC Online’s Guide on Public Health Topics & Careers BlogUC Online News Share Share on FacebookFollow us on LinkedInShare on PinterestShare via Email If you follow the news about the East Palestine Ohio train derailment, the American opioid crisis, or COVID-19 pandemic chances are you’ve heard the term “public health” used frequently. These “public health disasters” have potentially drastic impacts on those affected. In this article, we will discuss what the public health profession is, what makes it different from other health professions, and why public health is not used for smaller-scale events. Understanding Public Health: Public health professionals work to keep people and communities safe and healthy by reducing harm. While public health is not a typical “health” degree like nursing or pre-medicine, public health professionals use an upstream approach to examine potential issues impacting communities. Through this, they can develop prevention programming to improve health while also enhancing the quality of life. Public Health is About Communities: In essence, public health is focused on the health of the population rather than individuals. Professionals in this field are passionate about positively impacting the health of the entire community with a focus on social justice and health equity. Public health professionals use holistic approaches to educate future generations to choose and maintain healthy behaviors, aiming to make the healthiest choice the easiest choice for everyone. The way public health professionals accomplish this include: Improving access to healthcare and other services Reducing health hazards that impact the environment Controlling infectious diseases Developing and implementing health policies and interventions The Public Health Approach: The public health approach to achieving these goals is a science that identifies and addresses the health, safety, and well-being of entire populations. This approach is broken down into four steps that include: Surveillance: Identifying a problem Risk Factor Identification: Who is being impacted by the problem and why Intervention Evaluation: What can be done to address the problem Implementation: Putting the solution in place This approach helps ensure improved community health during events like the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid crisis. It also helps in advocating for change in policy, such as the tightening of tobacco laws banning smoking in public places. Start your Journey in Giving Back: Despite the differences, one thing that all professionals in these fields have in common is a passion to help people who need it the most. Giving back is a huge piece of public health and the processes attached to it. The University of Cincinnati Online is proud to offer an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s in this growing field to let students with this passion fulfill their goals of giving back. Our online programs provide dedicated support that will help you every step of your journey! These individuals understand your priorities and will work with you to make sure you get the most out of your time in the program. UC Online utilizes an asynchronous learning platform, which means you can complete your assignments when it best fits your schedule. This means you can balance work and school more easily than ever before! This is why UC Online is ranked one of the 15 Best Online Bachelor’s in Public Health in the U.S. by BestHealthDegrees.com. Connect with an online advisor today to start your journey! If you’re more interested in a career working alongside physicians or in clinical research, you can investigate opportunities at UC Online in those fields here.