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Public Health Comparison

Essay by   •  August 4, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,692 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,543 Views

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History of Public Health

Public Health has been a concern of humans from the beginning of human civilizations. The theory of Miasma believed that due to improper sanitation, polluted drinking water and human excrement helped spread diseases. This theory was known as the theory of miasma. It was believed that due to the "bad air" created by this waste that diseases were spread. The theory was an accepted practice in ancient times in Europe, India and China. Many attempted to help reduce the spread of diseases by proper sanitation. However, in 1854 Dr. John Snow rebuked the theory of Miasma. Dr. Snow hypothesized and scientifically proved that it wasn't the "bad air" which was causing the disease it was the disease itself within the drinking water that causing the spread of diseases. Dr. Snow's scientific study of the drinking water gave rise to the science of epidemiology. It was also during the 1840's that many other scientists were hypnotizing that the need for proper sanitation to help limit the possible transmission of diseases. Edwin Chadwick published a report in 1843 on the working class sanitation habits in Great Britain. The report help establish the building of sewers, garbage collection, providing clean water and the draining of standing water to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes. These two along with other public health break through established the modern public health.

Like Europe, the United States was also concerned about the need for public health but used quarantine as a form of regulating the spread of diseases. This was ineffective and resulted in a number of outbreaks of Yellow Fever, Measles, Influenza, Malaria, Typhoid Fever and Scarlet Fever to name a few.

As the need for public health spread groups began to form to help educate and prevent diseases by using the science that was being established through epidemiology. For example in 1864, New York implemented the Council of Hygiene and Public Health of the Citizens Association. These types of councils started developing within all the major cities on the eastern seaboard and help reduce the spread of disease by evaluating the sanitation conditions of tenement homes, stables and slaughterhouses.

Public health took a national spot light in 1872 when ten health reformers met in New York and established the American Public Health Association (APHA). The APHA's focus was to educate on the need for proper sanitation through the advancement of sanitary science and the need for proper hygiene. This was the first multidiscipline association focusing on Public Health.

Many of these Public Health organizations were funded by personal donations and received little government funds. This began to change in the late 19th century with the development of local, state and federal boards of health. The first state to establish a board of health was Louisiana in 1855 followed by the rest of the nation. Public Health continued to grow in both the government and private sector as a means to help eradicate disease. This role increased during both World War I and World War II. Much advancement in disease prevention and vaccinations occurred as a result of the wars.

Unfortunately, as government involvement and private charities were decreasing in the public health forum, public health saw a decrease in funding and growth. In 1950 state funding for public health was forty five million dollars. This number fell dramatically by 1959 to thirty three million dollars. Due in part of a week political agenda and that fact that many states were bypassing their own departments of health in the creation of water sanitation, disease prevention and other related tasks normally performed by the departments of health. Understanding their weak political agenda and witnessing a decrease in their roles, the APHA began the assertion of a strong political presence following their 1958 annual meeting. The meeting was dedicated directly to "The Politics of Public Health." This political presence continues to day as witnessed by the push for President Obama's health care bill in 2009.

Today we are a world community, which has many challenges for both federal and states' departments of public health. We have many immigrants both legal and illegal entering the United States bringing with them any number of pathogens, which could cause the next SARS or other pandemic. The public health departments now focus on the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases.

Research Local, State and National Public Health Resources

Prior to 1996, the county of San Diego had five organizations that provided health or social services however; the county combined those five agencies into one large department known as the San Diego Health and Human Services Administration (SDHHSA). SDHHSA is responsible for health and wellbeing of 3.1 million residents. Their mission is to serve the public through disease surveillance, public education and disaster and bioterrorism preparedness. SDHHSA also provides assistance to low income communities in the way of behavioral healthcare, seniors who which to remain independent and both children and adults who require protective services from abuse or neglect. SDHHSA also oversees the counties welfare system, which assists with cash and employment services.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) states their mission is being dedicated to

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