Public health is any effort to protect the health of a community or country. This includes organized efforts to identify and address disease, promote healthy lifestyles, prevent injuries and illness, improve nutrition and emphasize meaningful hygiene. Public health efforts are enacted at local, state and national levels through organizations such as health departments, clinics, public health foundations and community centers.
Public health also plays an important role in implementing health policy, enforcing public health laws, ensuring equitable development of and access to public health efforts, and creating a public health workforce that continually assesses and improves upon public health programs.
Public health can promote simple wellness strategies, such as hydration and adequate sleep. More frequently, however, it represents a coordinated effort to protect health for an entire group of people. For example, an organization might distribute safe drinking water to a community recovering from a natural disaster.
Healthcare experts play a particularly important role in helping to further public health efforts in a variety of ways, including research, education, medicine and vaccine distribution. Students also play an important role in public health, often contributing to research efforts while completing healthcare degree programs.