Workforce, training and education
East Midlands

What is Public Health?


What it means to be a Public Health physician or specialist.



Public Health is defined as: "The science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through organised efforts of society". (Sir Donald Acheson)

If you choose to become a public health specialist, you will be working to improve people's health through identifying the causes of disease and ways of tackling these. Through your clinical practice, you will have already realised that poverty, unemployment, poor housing, polluted air, food and water are all major contributors to ill health and as a public health specialist you will have the opportunity to tackle these basic problems.

Specialists in public health serve the population, whether they are working for a rural community, a large city or the entire national population. The principles remain the same: prevention of ill health, promotion of healthy life styles and provision of good health care services.

No two days will ever by alike, as you work with a wider variety of people from many disciplines and professions to improve the way in which individuals live their lives. The time scale will be different. There will be no miracle cures and no instant recoveries. It may take months or years to see the results of your efforts. But if you are successful, then you will positively affect the lives of many people. They may never know that you had a hand to play in enhancing their lives. But you will know it and it will be a lasting source of satisfaction to you to know that you have made a real difference to the health of your population.

Interested? Click here for careers in Public Health.

For further information about Public Health Careers please visit our Further Career Opportunities in Public Health section. The Health Careers website includes information about more than 350 roles in health (including public health), real-life stories and videos, a course-finder, plus news and events. It is for those of any age thinking about a career in health, and those who’ve already started a career in health and are thinking about their next step.