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Home  >  Public Health Issues

The Council of State Governments Logo

What is public health? How is it different from health care?

In public health, the goal is to prevent disease or injury in a whole population—a city, state or country, for example. That's different from the goal of health care, which is to care for individuals.

An example may make the distinction sharper: A public health approach to cancer could involve a statewide public awareness campaign about the risk factors for cancer such as smoking or sun exposure, while a health care approach would focus on educating individuals about such risk factors. 

This Web site focuses on more than 20 major public health issues facing states today.  By clicking on the terms listed on the left, you'll learn about these issues and why they matter to states. You'll also find links to more information—links that state policymakers will find especially useful.

On this page are resources from:
Healthy States

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality

National Center for Health Statistics

Trust for America's Health

United Health Foundation

 

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Healthy States

Public Health Tool Kit

The Healthy States Initiative, a partnership between CSG and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hosted nine Web conferences that examined public health issues affecting state government and offered examples of promising practices. The Web conferences provided a base for state legislators to learn from one another and gather valuable information from health experts to create state responses to public health issues including smoking, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, oral health and cancer. The Public Health Tool Kit includes compact discs of all nine archived Web conferences and the published issue briefs.

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Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality

Would you like information about cost and quality of health services, medical practice patterns, access to health care programs, or outcomes of treatment at the national, State, and local levels?  All of this information can be found on HCUPnet.  The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) provides a free, on-line query system that provides users with instant access to the largest set of publicly available all-payer hospital care databases.  Click here for more information.

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Trust for America's Health

The Trust for America's Health released a new study in July, 2008 titled Prevention For A Healthier America: Investments in Disease Prevention Yield Significant Savings, Stronger Communities.  This report takes a fresh look at the cost savings and return on investment of disease prevention efforts in the United States.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Six Strategic Imperatives: Goals for the 21st Century

Learn more about CDC's six key strategies that define their priorities as they strive to improve the public's health.

Community Health Resources

Learn more about a variety of community-based public health programs in CDC's Community Health Resources, including fact sheets, state and local program contacts, communication materials and state data.

CDC Guide to Community Preventive Services

Legislators and policymakers support public health by enacting effective laws and policies and want to know what works and at what cost. The CDC Guide to Community Preventive Services is a premier source of high quality information on those public health interventions and policies that have been proved to work in promoting health and preventing disease, injury and impairment.

Metropolitan/Micropolitan Area Risk Trends

The CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System has released health risk data and prevalence tables for states and metropolitan areas. State and local data can be used to identify health problems and related behaviors and to develop and evaluate public health policies and programs.

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National Center for Health Statistics

Health, United States was released in November 2006 by the National Center for Health Statistics. The annual report consists of charts and selected trend tables organized by cross-cutting areas such as the African-American and Hispanic populations, child and adolescent health, Medicaid, the uninsured and a special section on chronic pain and the great disparities among different population groups affected. 

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United Health Foundation

In partnership with the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention, the United Health Foundation released the 2007 America's Health Rankings: A Call to Action for People & Their Communities. One of the most comprehensive reports on health in America, it ranks the overall health of each state through in-depth state-by-state analyses and provides startling new findings on obesity and health disparities among minorities.  

Find out how your state ranks and how you can improve it.

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