You are the Public in Public Health


You are the Public in Public Health

By Sharon Carothers

Public health is something you’ve scarcely thought of before maybe receiving an order to “shelter in place.” 

Merriam-Webster defines public health as, “the art and science dealing with the protection and improvement of community health by organized community effort and including preventive medicine and sanitary and social science”  

By that definition, YOU are now the PUBLIC in public health. Before COVID-19, “public health” was a term many people didn’t think applied to them or though they played no personal role in. 

I just received in the mail the president’s “Coronavirus Guidelines for America.” I also got an email alert from Washington, D.C. announcing the Closure of Non-Essential Businesses and Prohibition on Large Gatherings During Public Health Emergency for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). These messages crystallize what public health is and its relationship to each of us. 

It’s clear right now during this COVID-19 pandemic that each of us has a critical role and responsibility. YOU are the PUBLIC in public health. And how important you are.  

During this pandemic, we all have a stake in our own well-being and the health of the community and now we have to play an active role to ensure the health care system is not overwhelmed by the pandemic we face. 

The list of what we each are doing as part of public health — handwashing, social distancing, and self-quarantining — have fundamental histories in the discipline of public health. Some of the history is quite interesting, especially how difficult it was in the 1800s for physicians to believe their own handwashing was linked to maternal mortality rates. 

The work we public health professionals do is tied to what we ALL are doing now in the fight against COVID-19 spread. We at SensisHealth would love to hear what YOU are doing as the Public in Public Health – please send an email to I am enjoying virtual happy hours with colleagues and hours of Monopoly and Uno with my family.