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Public Health Functions | Print |

In 1988 the Institute of Medicine issued a report that described disarray nationally in the public health system. The report made recommendations for core functions in public health assessment, policy development, and service assurances, and identified the level of government--federal, state, and local--at which these functions would best be handled. These core functions were further developed into the Ten Essential Public Health Services , which provide a working definition of public health, describes public health activities that should be undertaken in all communities and provide a guiding framework for the responsibilities of local public health systems.

Assessment refers to the obligation of every public health agency to monitor the health status and needs of its community regularly and systematically.

  • Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems.
  • Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community.

Policy development refers to the responsibility of every public health agency to develop comprehensive policies that are based on available knowledge and responsive to communities’ health needs.

  • 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.

Assurance is the guarantee of governments that agreed-upon, high-priority personal and community health services will be provided to every member of the community by qualified organizations.

  • Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
  • Link people to needed health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.
  • Assure competent public 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.
 
 

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