This book provides an introduction to public health and epidemiology. We hope that by working through all, or sections, of the book the reader will not only increase their knowledge of public health practice but also develop a critical, questioning approach to the application of that knowledge.
Before starting to work on this second edition we asked for feedback from users of the first edition. Based on the feedback received we added two new chapters (1 and 11) and made several other substantial revisions. The first new chapter is
on the history of epidemiology and public health, while Chapter 11 considers what actually changes the public health. Chapters 2 and 7 (on information sources and determinants of health respectively) have been largely rewritten. All the chapters have been brought up to date. However, the basic study guide format remains the same.
Each chapter begins with a list of questions and learning objectives, uses exercises to help illustrate and develop critical thinking on key points and provides the reader with a framework to write their own summary at the end of the chapter.
Changing and protecting the public health requires a broad range of knowledge and skills. These are summarized in the standards developed in the United Kingdom for specialist public health practitioners (comparable standards exist for other countries).
These standards are given below, and they provide a useful checklist for reflecting on your own knowledge and skills. We suggest that you use them as a template to assess your learning needs, process of learning and achievements. They are presented again at the end of each chapter to enable you to reflect on what aspects of these standards that chapter helped you on.
Standards for specialist public health practitioners
1 Surveillance and assessment of the population’s health and well-being:
• health needs assessment;
• health determinants;
• health surveillance.
2 Promoting and protecting the population’s health and well-being:
• plan, monitor and evaluate health promotion strategies;
• plan, implement, monitor and evaluate prevention and screening
• protect population health by managing outbreaks, incidents and emergencies.
3 Developing quality and risk management within an evaluative culture:
• assess evidence of effectiveness of health interventions;
• improve quality through audit and evaluation;
• manage risk to public’s health and well-being.
4 Collaborative working for health:
• develop and sustain cross-sectional working;
• communicate effectively with the public and others.
5 Developing health programmes and services and reducing inequalities:
• develop, implement and evaluate health programmes and services;
• facilitate the reduction of inequalities in health.
6 Policy and strategy development and implementation:
• shape and influence the development of health and social care policy;
• implement strategies to put policies into effect;
• assess impact of policies.
7 Working with and for communities:
• involve the public and communities as active partners;
• empower communities;
• advocate for communities.
8 Strategic leadership for health:
• develop, sustain and implement a vision and objectives for health;
• lead teams and individuals to improve health and reduce inequalities.
9 Research & Development:
• appraise, plan and manage research;
• develop and implement research findings in practice.
10 Ethically managing self, people and resources:
• manage the development and direction of work;
• develop capacity and capability to improve health;
• deliver effective services, the aim of which is to improve health.