Global Health Compared to Public Health Global Health Compared to Public Health

Is global health the same as public health?

Some people and different schools of thought will say that global health is the same as public health but more often than not, the two are viewed as similar but differently focused branches of health-related professions.The two professions have similar goals but are different in their strategies and methodologies for disease prevention, management and treatment. Both of these health specialty areas employ individuals engaged in improving the quality of life within communities, while also striving for better health outcomes at the individual level. 

A key difference between the two is that typically, issues of public health focus on public health issues in the United States whereas issues of global health are focused on helping ALL people with them worldwide.

Public Health

As a broad definition, public health can be said to be a profession that focuses on science, practice, and art of collective efforts to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong quality of life among all populations, while also working towards establishing living conditions that provide access to resources and health care so that all people can be healthy.

In the United States, common public health professions include but are not limited to those in the disciplines/fields of:

– Epidemiology

– Behavioral Science

– Medicine

– Social Work

– Engineering

– Communication

– Business 

– Law

– Global Health

Global Health

As a broad definition, global health is an area of study, research, and practices that prioritize improving health and achieving health equity for all people and populations on the planet. Global health professionals tend to place more of an emphasis on prevention of disease and other things that cause health problems but it also embraces curative, rehabilitative and other aspects of clinical medicine and uses information garnered from the study of basic sciences.

Global health puts an emphasis on transnational (or international) health issues, determinants, and solutions. There are many global health disciplines within health sciences as well as many that are beyond the scope of what health sciences cover. 

Global health can be viewed as a synthesis of preventing populations from being afflicted with diseases and other causes of health problems as well as providing clinical care for individuals with these.

Challenges of Public Health

There are many different organizations, including government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs), not for profit, charitable, and for profit organizations that focus on public health issues.

A key player in public health in the United States is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is the country’s federal health protection agency that focuses on preventing and responding to the spread of infectious diseases.    

Key challenges that the CDC is currently focusing on include but are not limited to:

– Health threats that previously were “global health threats” that are now more common in the United States such as, cholera, Ebola, measles, polio, tuberculosis and Zika. 

– Antibiotic resistant infections that are caused by overprescription of antibiotic.  

– Prescription drug overdoses, especially from opioids that are prescribed for extreme and/or chronic pain.

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