If you recall your public health history, you will remember that in 1988, the Institute of Medicine published a report on the “Future of Public Health” which identified the three (3) core functions of public health:
- policy development
At that time, this was a solid starting point to describing public health. But as the country explored issues related to health care reform, a better definition and description was needed. In 1994 a “Core Functions of Public Health Steering Committee” (made up of US Public Health Service agencies and other major public health organizations) convened and expanded these functions to include the 10 Essential Services in Public Health (CDC):
- Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems.
- Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community.
- Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.
- Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems.
- Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
- Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
- Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.
- Assure competent public and personal health care workforce.
- Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.
- Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.
For public health professionals and students, these 10 Essential Services provide a working definition of public health and a guiding framework for the responsibilities of local, state and national public health systems.
So, how well do you know the 10 essential services in public health?
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