What is Public Health?

by Karen Rogers, senior specialist, communications

This question circulated among of group of public health professionals at the Second Annual Public Health Branding Coalition meeting yesterday. Scott Becker, executive director, Leigh Slayden, director of marketing and member services, and I represented the Association of Public Health Laboratories at the meeting, which was organized by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the American Public Health Association (APHA), the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Society for Public Health Education.

The meeting’s goal was to move toward developing a brand for public health. According to participants, branding public health would have a myriad of benefits: inspiring the current and future workforce, increasing recognition, creating demand, improving advocacy and improving public health outcomes.

So what is public health?

Past campaigns have sought to help answer that question.

In 2006, NACCHO developed a national identity for local health departments. The logo they developed touted the theme “Public Health: Prevent. Promote. Protect.”

ASPH launched the “This is Public Health” campaign in 2008. This innovative movement used stickers to “brand” public health by pointing out the many (often unrecognized) ways that public health works to keep up safe and well.

The Alliance to Make US Healthiest created a video as part of its Healthiest Nation campaign. If you work in public health, this video will remind you why you do. If you don’t work in public health, this video may inspire you to learn more.

In 2009, APHA launched “Healthiest Nation in One Generation.” This motivating viral video campaign shows the many ways that public health touches our lives.

What does public health mean to you?

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