Public health is the umbrella term for all that local, state, and national governments do to keep their citizens healthy.
It includes everything from funding research into new vaccines to free clinics for people who can’t afford medical care.
Most people don’t think about public health until they or someone they know gets sick, but it’s a vital part of our society that impacts us.
To improve public health in a growing community, certain steps must be brought to light and put into action. Numerous factors can affect public health in a growing community.
All these areas must be considered while developing a plan to improve public health, from environmental hazards like carbon emissions and water contamination to the social determinants of health like poverty and lack of access to healthcare.
- Identify the Issues:
One of the first steps in improving public health in a growing community is identifying the most pressing issues.
These lay the foundation for developing targeted interventions. To determine the issues, community leaders can host forums and town halls to solicit input from residents.
They can also review data on health outcomes, social determinants of health, and risk factors.
Once the most pressing issues have been identified, it is essential to develop a plan to address them. It is also vital to get buy-in from key stakeholders, including government officials, business leaders, and community members.
- Pursue a Public Health Career:
One way to make a difference in public health is to pursue a career in the field. A master’s degree in public health can give you the skills you need to make an impact.
Many institutes offer online MPH programs that provide the coursework necessary to earn a degree in public health.
These programs often focus on one or more of the core disciplines of public health, which can be helpful when addressing a specific issue.
MPH programs also provide the opportunity to gain practical experience through internships and practicums. This real-world experience is essential for understanding how to apply public health principles in the field.
- Promote Healthy Lifestyles:
What we do daily can have a significant impact on our health. Senior citizens constitute a substantial chunk of the population in every community, and it is essential to focus on their health.
Several conditions can be prevented or managed through lifestyle changes, from physical impairments like osteoporosis to mental health issues like depression.
There are many ways to promote healthy lifestyles, but some of the most effective include:
- Educating people about the importance of good nutrition and physical activity
- Making nutritious foods and physical activity more accessible
- Encouraging people to make healthy choices
- Creating policies that support healthy lifestyles
- Making the built environment more conducive to physical activity
- Improve Access to Healthcare Facilities:
One of the most important ways to improve public health is to improve access to healthcare facilities. It includes everything from primary care clinics to hospitals.
Unfortunately, many communities lack access to these vital resources. Undocumented immigrants, for example, often don’t have access to healthcare because they’re afraid of being deported.
It can lead to serious health problems down the road, not only for them but also for the rest of the community.
Other groups that often lack access to healthcare include low-income individuals, people of color, and rural residents.
To improve access to healthcare, community leaders can work to increase funding for safety-net providers. They can also advocate for policies that expand access to healthcare.
Here are a few more ways to improve access to healthcare facilities:
- Building new healthcare facilities in underserved areas
- Improving transportation to existing healthcare facilities
- Making healthcare facilities more culturally competent
- Providing interpreters at healthcare facilities
- Educate the Community about Health Risks:
We live in a state of constant change, including our health. To stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to educate the community about health risks. It’s also important to provide information about preventing or mitigating these risks.
There are many ways to educate the community about health risks. One is to host educational forums and workshops.
The other is to distribute educational materials, like pamphlets and flyers. And yet another is to use social media to spread awareness.
But no matter what method you choose, the goal should be to provide accurate and up-to-date information about health risks. Only then can people make informed decisions about their health.
For instance, Monkeypox is a disease currently spreading in Congo. If people are aware of the risks, they can take steps to protect themselves and their families.
- Encourage Carpooling:
Carpooling is a great way to reduce traffic congestion and pollution. It also has the potential to improve public health.
That’s because carpooling can help people get more physical activity, reduce carbon footprint, and save money.
There are many ways to encourage carpooling, but one of the most effective is to create incentives. For instance, you could offer free parking or discounted rates for carpooling people.
You could also create a ride-sharing program that matches people with similar schedules and routes.
Similarly, offering incentives to businesses that encourage carpooling is a great way to get more people on board. You could provide tax breaks or preferential treatment in city procurement.
No matter what approach you take, the goal should be to make carpooling more convenient and appealing.
- Incentivize Healthy Workplaces:
The workplace is a great place to encourage healthy habits. That’s because people spend a large portion of their day at work. And if they’re not healthy at work, it can harm their overall health.
Occupational hearing loss, musculoskeletal disorders, and stress are a few health risks associated with unhealthy workplaces.
To incentivize healthy workplaces, you could offer tax breaks or subsidies to businesses that meet specific standards.
You could also create a workplace wellness program that offers employees discounts on gym memberships, healthy meals, and other health-related products and services.
Other ways of improving workplace health include mandating breaks, encouraging standing desks, and providing on-site childcare.
- Contribute to Community Health:
There are many ways to contribute to community health. One is to volunteer for a local nonprofit or charity.
Another is participating in community events, like health fairs or blood drives. And yet another is to support local businesses that promote healthy lifestyles.
But one of the best ways to contribute to community health is to donate to a local cause. For instance, you could donate to a food bank or a homeless shelter. You could also donate to a school or after-school program.
You won’t even realize it when you start making a difference in the lives of others.
Public health isn’t only a matter of concern for health professionals. Everyone has a role to play in improving the health of their community. By taking some simple steps, we can all make a difference.
Coming together to improve public health is a fundamental part of being in a community. It’s what makes us strong and resilient.
Similarly, understanding the importance of one’s health and reflecting on how to improve it is a vital part of personal growth. So, let’s work together to build healthier communities, one step at a time.