Public health and how it differs from personal health

Senior (College 4th year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・2 Sources

Public health is “the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities” (CDC, n.d.). The focus of public health is ensuring the health outcomes of community members are assured and understood. The groups are often within a geographic location such as a nation or communities. Public health differs from personal health because it focuses on the general population and seeks to ensure the distribution and access to healthcare by all is guaranteed. Public health focuses on community health in general while personal health relates to the choices and issues on health by an individual. Personal health are steps taken by individuals to remain healthy and take preventive measures while public health focuses on ensuring a healthy environment that fosters healthy living by all individuals.

Public health assessments

Public health assessment entails reviewing the information on the hazardous substances and assesses the likely harm on the people. According to NACCHO, community health assessment “is a process that uses quantitative and qualitative methods to systematically collect and analyze health data within a specific community.” The benefits of public health assessments include that it offers information on community concerns, environmental data and health situation allowing policy makers to determine potential health consequences while formulating policies. Quantitative and qualitative techniques in health assessments help make recommendations on increasing positive health consequences and minimize adverse effects. The disadvantage of public health assessments include that focuses on a single level of performance since it relies heavily on comparing standards and goals predefined by the assessors. 

A potential conflict that could arise from public health assessments is privacy of the medical data collected and ethical right of individuals and the community affected by infectious diseases such as HIV. The individuals have a right to privacy of their medical condition but since the disease is infectious, there is a need for the data to be made available to medical personnel to make corrective measures to avoid the spread. The law requires the individual affected to be quarantined until the situation changes for example when there is an Ebola outbreak. Maintaining privacy and confidentiality of the medical data, information individuals the intended use of the data collected and ensuring full disclosure are ways that health advocates and policy makers can avoid this conflict.

Public health assessment role in informing public health policy

Public policy seeks to improve the health and well-being of both individuals and communities. The policies have to accurately predict the health consequences and seek to influence positive outcomes. Health assessments aids in ensuring the health policy formulated meets the objective of improving policy outcomes. Public health assessments aid in understanding the health impacts of a policy measure and offers information that adds value to the policy development process. Health assessment “assists policy-makers, decision-makers, and the public in identifying health considerations and factoring them into proposed policies, plans, programs, and projects that otherwise would not have recognized or addressed important health risks or opportunities” (National Research Council, 2011).

Health concern and related legislation

Smoking in public is a health concern with legislations formulated including restriction of smoking in public places including bars, food service establishments, zoos, indoor arena, at work, and children’s public institutions among others. The legislation ensures every individual does not smoke in these public places and has positively affected my community by ensuring people do not smoke in parks, at the beach, and at work making the environment clean for everyone. Those breaking the law face penalties allowing for better living and working environment for all community members.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (n.d.) Public Health in Action. Retrieved on   October 29, 2017 from

National Research Council. (2011). Improving health in the United States: the role of health  impact assessment. National Academies Press.

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