What Is Public Health?

Institute for Public Health in San Antonio

University Health's Institute for Public Health advances our mission to improve the health of the community in Bexar County.

The Institute serves as a critical hub for University Health, assessing needs, collaborating with partners and connecting patients with targeted education, programs and community resources

“Our new Institute for Public Health is focused on promoting health, preventing disease and prolonging life, while reducing disparities and achieving health equity,” said Dr. Carol Huber, deputy chief public health and equity officer.

What Is Public Health?

Public health is the art and science of preventing disease and injury in a community, neighborhood or city. 

As a leader in public health, University Health: 

10 Essential Public Health Services

There are 10 essential services that comprise the framework of public health and guide the Institute for Public Health’s mission and activities. They are:

  1. Assess and monitor population health status, factors that influence health, and community needs and assets
  2. Investigate, diagnose and address health problems and hazards affecting the population
  3. Communicate effectively to inform and educate people about health, factors that influence it and how to improve it
  4. Strengthen, support and mobilize communities and partnerships to improve health
  5. Create, champion and implement policies, plans and laws that impact health
  6. Utilize legal and regulatory actions designed to improve and protect the public’s health
  7. Assure an effective system that enables equitable access to the individual services and care needed to be healthy
  8. Build and support a diverse and skilled public health workforce
  9. Improve and innovate public health functions through ongoing evaluation, research and continuous quality improvement
  10. Build and maintain a strong organizational infrastructure for public health

10 essential public health services, CDC

What Are Nonmedical Drivers of Health?

Nonmedical drivers of health are “conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live and age and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). These factors often have a significant impact on a person’s overall health. 

Examples include food insecurity, access to safe housing and transportation, early childhood experiences, educational opportunities and income level. 

University Health’s Institute for Public Health

Learn more about the Institute for Public Health on our website.

Subscribe icon
Get health living and wellness information, recipes, and patient stories from University Health.
View other related content by:

Tell us your patient story

Share your inspiring personal story of hope and healing at University Health.