What's the Difference? A Primer on Evolving Health Disciplines

Emerging Health Disciplines Over Time: The circles (and the adjacent numbers) represent the number of journal articles referencing different branches of health appearing in the PubMed database from the beginning of the 20th century.*
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Emerging Health Disciplines Over Time: The circles (and the adjacent numbers) represent the number of journal articles referencing different branches of health appearing in the PubMed database from the beginning of the 20th century.*

If you’re just testing your interest in population-level health or you’re a veteran public health-er, you may be a bit bewildered by the proliferation of the various “healths”: public health, global health, planetary health, one health… The differences can be squishy, the distinctions cloudy or monumental.

No worries! Global Health NOW is here to help. In this “What’s the Difference?” series, Marija Cemma, PhD, explains the disciplines based on research and interviews with global experts. We hope this will both clarify things as well as spur discussion on social media (see our Facebook page and Twitter feed).

Public Health - September 26, 2017
Public health is focused on improving human health from the population perspective.

Global Health - September 27, 2017
Public health’s cosmopolitan cousin, global health started appearing in journal publications in the late 1970s and comes into the spotlight the 1990s and early 2000s. 

Planetary Health - September 28, 2017
Sweeping in scope, planetary health focuses on the sustainability of our civilization and the toll of inequitable, inefficient, and unsustainable resource consumption on the planet and human health.

One Health - September 29, 2017
Spotlighting the nexus between human health, animal health, and ecosystems, one health aims to bridge the silos between ecology and human and veterinary medicine.
 

 

*More details on our infographic, Emerging Health Disciplines Over Time: The circles (and the adjacent numbers) represent the number of journal articles referencing different branches of health from the beginning of the 20th century. We tracked references appearing in the PubMed database that contain “X Health” in the title or abstract from the 1900s to 2017, aggregated in increments of 17-20 years. The graph provides trends but does not reflect the true number of publications using indicated terms, given that there may be articles not captured by the PubMed database. In addition, only English-language articles were captured. Finally, take note that the total number of publications grew significantly from 1900 to 2017, hence the increments of 2 decades should not be compared to one another.

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1 comment

George Lueddeke
October 4, 2017

Thank you for the clarifications. It seems timely that the One Health & Well-Being construct becomes the overarching concept under which other specialisations are placed. Its focus is on identifying root causes relating to socioeconomic, geopolitical and environmental factors and identifying surveillance and implementing both human- and eco-centric intervention measures (especially preventive) as well as evaluative aspects in response to the unprecedented challenges/risks we all face. The Ebola crisis demonstrates the importance of collaborative approaches and the outcomes when only a human-centric health approach is taken without due regard to sustainability ,infrastructure, education, employment etc...
My current book on global population health and well-being (planet and people!) tries to foster this wider One Health & Well-Being view
http://www.springerpub.com/global-population-health-and-well-being-in-t…

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