Public health has been defined as “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through organised efforts of society.” Much of the improvement in health witnessed in industrialised countries over the last two centuries can be attributed to advances in public health tackling the basic determinants of disease.
The science of public health is concerned with making a diagnosis of a population’s, rather than an individual’s, health problems, establishing the causes and effects of those problems, and determining effective interventions. The art of public health is to create and use opportunities to implement effective solutions to population health and health care problems.
The application of epidemiology to clinical practice is often called “clinical epidemiology”. This involves using diagnostic tests efficiently, weighing up the benefits, risks and costs of treatments, and understanding the natural history of patients’ diseases. Doctors can learn to practise medicine more effectively, despite clinical uncertainty, by applying public health skills such as critical appraisal to their decision-making.
The Department provides public health teaching for the School of Clinical Medicine‘s undergraduate clinical course curriculum. Whilst some of the teachers are drawn from within the Department, a large number work in the National Health Service throughout East Anglia. We provide a range of material to support students’ learning on Medportal, their virtual learning environment (password protected) or (authorised access only).
- Public Health Education for Medical Students: A guide for medical schools. (PDF version)
Re-edited by Stephan Gillam and Gillian Maudsley for Heads of Academic Departments of Public Health following a workshop in London, in May 2007.