What is Community Health?

A healthy community will benefit all those who live there. Health in the community is a way to achieve an environment that is healthy.

The field of public health seeks to improve and protect health by taking care of the systems and structures that define a community, and by helping those who live or work in the area to make healthy decisions. The problems are researched as data is gathered and resources are collected to in solving those issues.

Community health is a part of the umbrella of public health and brings those larger issues into the details of everyday life.

The people working in this field are first-line members from the team of health professionals. They are often part of the community. They try to get involved with those who might not visit an expert or doctor regularly and may feel hesitant in working with an environment that is complicated, costly and time-consuming.

Because they work with all people–children and elderly as well as the poor and well-off disabled and able-bodied–community health professionals have a deep understanding of the conditions of life that affect this population.

Community health is based on the entire geographic region instead of focusing on the common traits like the age of the patient or their diagnosis. The defined area can be as small as a neighbourhood or could be the whole city or area.

The professionals help communities avoid diseases and encourage healthy living by looking at health from the perspective of community structures, and policy choices. For instance, they could advocate the utilization of common outdoor spaces that promote physical activity and build community.

However, these experts don’t work in silos.

Collaborations Across Health Care

The tools that the community health professionals develop can be shaped through the demands of each member of the community. They are also influenced by the community’s institutions of worship, schools social workers, local government, and health healthcare providers. Collaboration is a part of the entire health care system and into the local community.

So, professionals in the field could be more involved with municipal government in a way that other health care professionals might be. They are often advocates for policy changes and concentrate more on health equity and socioeconomic inequality.

Factors in Community Health

Social factors, such as the norms, beliefs and practices of a community influence attitudes towards health and affect the behaviors that promote healthy practices or hinder them.

Access is a key point for health professionals–giving everyone, but especially those most on the margins–access to healthy food, safe and reliable child care, after-school programs and transportation services.

Environmental health and geographical factors are also important, such as health risks, overcrowding and pollution levels and industrial growth.

Community health professionals think about their thinking through the “how” as much as the “what,” taking on the responsibility for long-term wellbeing of vulnerable populations. This involves collaborating across multiple sectors, using techniques that are sensitive to culture and utilizing methods that are based on research and science to meet not just the demands as well as the desires of the group being targeted.

The benefits to individuals are evident, even if it isn’t immediately. However, the benefits extend to the structure of the community as well as to businesses, schools and other gathering spots. The cost of living is reduced, absence is decreased, mental health improves and the incidence of diseases decreases.

Community health professionals are crucial to sustaining and creating safe and welcoming communities for everyone.

Education Opportunities in Public Health

Do you want to explore more public health and learn ways to make a name in this field? Elmhurst’s master of Public Health program prepares you to take on the tough issues that impact the residents of your neighborhood and across the world.

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