The 1998 American Schools of Public Health Practice Council Definition is as follows:
Public Health Practice is the strategic, organized, interdisciplinary application of knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary to perform public health core functions:
- Assessment ability to appropriately use data to direct actions (the science of PH)
- Policy Development the appropriate use of scientific knowledge in developing public health policies and programs (art of public health)
- Assurance the development of policies that are backed by services necessary to assure their success (the synthesis of art and science)
A good start is the Listings of the Council on Linkages Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals can be found at http://www.trainingfinder.org/competencies/list.htm. These competencies describe what health professionals should know, and the skills associated expected with each.
Health Department provide ten essential services. The codification of the ten Essential Public Health Services, which were developed in 1994 and grew out of a need to better communicate the scope and importance of governmental public health to the general public and legislators. The 10 Essential Public Health Services are listed below.
- Monitor health status to identify community 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 a competent public health 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
Additional information can be obtained at: http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/nphpsp/10EssentialPHServices.asp .