What is public health? It’s a pretty broad term. It can apply to many things, but mainly deals with government initiatives to improve the health of populations. Preventive services are a large part of public health, from vaccinations to prevent the spread of disease to diet management aimed at preventing obesity. This semester I have the chance to gain an entirely new perspective on public health by taking a class called Public Health Law with Professor George Annas.
Throughout law school most of my health law classes have centered on what some would call “medicine,” which focuses more on the care and treatment of individual patients. Public health, on the other hand, strives to promote the health of communities as a whole. A great deal of public health initiatives take place at the local level, though the federal government also plays an important role.
Two notable federal public health agencies include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FDA works to ensure that vaccines and other drugs are safe and effective before they approve them for use, while the CDC works to stop diseases from spreading in any way that it can. Together, these two agencies protect the health of the public on a national level.
I’m looking forward to learning more about public health issues and writing a paper on a legal solution to one that I find interesting. I believe it’s always helpful to gain a different perspective on things. The more ways you can see something, the better you’ll understand it in the end.