Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" (1920, C.E.A. Winslow). It is concerned with threats to health based on population health analysis. The population in question can be as small as a handful of people or as large as all the inhabitants of several continents (for instance, in the case of a pandemic). The dimensions of health can encompass "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity", as defined by the United Nations'World Health Organization. Public health incorporates the interdisciplinary approaches of epidemiology, biostatistics and health services. Environmental health, community health, behavioral health, health economics, public policy and occupational health are other important subfields.
The focus of public health intervention is to improve health and quality of life through the prevention and treatment of disease and other physical and mental health conditions, through surveillance of cases and the promotion of healthy behaviors. Promotion of hand washingand breastfeeding, delivery of vaccinations, and distribution of condoms to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases are examples of common public health measures.
Modern public health practice requires multidisciplinary teams of professionals including physicians specialising in public health/community medicine/infectious disease, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, public health nurses, medical microbiologists,environmental health officers, dental hygienists, dietitians and nutritionists, health inspectors, veterinarians, public health engineers, public health lawyers, sociologists, community development workers, communications officers, and others