Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Public health should be renamed population health


Recently, I've been thinking about population health. Then, I began to consider the term public health. Why do we call it public health? Are we trying to differentiate it from private health? (what is private health anyways? Our health is private and confidential, so what's public about health?)

I think we're slowly recognizing that public health is really about population health. I'm not simply referring to epidemiology or biostatistics. We're looking at the forest instead of the trees. Instead of focusing on individual health, we're looking at the population. Macro-health vs. micro-health. A few years ago, David Kindig, MD, PhD and Greg Stoddart, PhD asked the question, "What Is Population Health?" They noted that:
Population health is a relatively new term that has not yet been precisely defined. Is it a concept of health or a field of study of health determinants?
I wonder if someday in the future, my MPH will mean "Master of Population Health" instead of "Public Health." I'll need a new diploma.

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