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“Public health is the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, public and private organizations, communities and individuals.”
The definition of public health was offered by C. E. A.Winslow, an American bacteriologist in the early 20th century.
Public health today is marked by the need for equity, quality and accessibility of health care for all.
In India, life style related diseases have now refocused the limelight on preventive rather than curative medicine.
Recognizing these trends, the Department of Social Work at the Coimbatore campus recently organized a seven-day credit course titled Introduction to Public Health.
Sixteen first-year students and two second-year students of MSW (Master in Social Work) participated, during January 30 – February 5.
The course was led by Dr. Biju Soman, Managing Director, Centre for Health Science Studies, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram.
Dr. Biju also served at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences during 2002-2004.
“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 behaviour,” stated Dr. Biju during his lectures.
“Public health professionals try to prevent problems from happening or re-occurring through implementing educational programs, developing policies, administering services and conducting research” he added.
The course covered basic concepts and interdisciplinary approaches of epidemiology or the study of the distribution and patterns of health-events, health-characteristics and their causes or influences in well-defined populations, ethics and standards in public health care delivery.
Other topics elaborated on included communicable or transmissible and non–communicable diseases, health care in India, public health and community medicine related policies in India and measuring health equity.
“Modern public health practice requires multidisciplinary teams of professionals including physicians specializing in public health medicine, health inspectors, public health lawyers, sociologists and professional social workers. As such, it was good that social work students attended this course,” shared Ms. Uma Maheswari, Lecturer, Department of Social Work.
“The course was very interesting and informative. As a social work student, I feel that it was very essential to learn these concepts as they relate to the protection of health of the entire population,” shared a first-year MSW student.
As part of the evaluation, a written exam was conducted before the course concluded.
February 22, 2012
Department of Social Work, Coimbatore
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