Public Health

Public health helps prevent disease and improve the health of communities—primarily through efforts outside of traditional medical care, such as tracking and predicting emerging and persistent threats, responding to health risks and events, and promoting health through education and policymaking. Public health organizations promote cleaner air and water, better sanitation, food safety, safer environments with less violence and injury, disease prevention, and access to vaccines, among other priorities.

The Center for American Progress advocates and supports efforts to strengthen the public health system’s basic infrastructure to accomplish these essential functions.

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A Strong Start in Life: How Public Health Policies Affect the Well-Being of Pregnancies and Families Report
A mother kisses her child as her midwife examines her at a birthing center in South Los Angeles.

A Strong Start in Life: How Public Health Policies Affect the Well-Being of Pregnancies and Families

Understanding how the key social determinants of health—including housing, employment, and education—affect perinatal health is critical to ensuring that federal policies support healthy babies and families.