Public Health 101
Public Health describes the system and efforts of government, social and private organizations focused on protecting, promoting and restoring the health of a society. The public health system works towards keeping whole communities healthy. Many types of organizations have a part in public health.
Everyday, without even realizing it, almost every person has contact with the public health system. If you:
- used indoor running water and sanitation
- used a seat belt
- ate at a restaurant
- shopped at a grocery store
- saw a ‘No Smoking’ sign
- read about the clean-up of environmental waste
- heard a news story about preparing for biological or chemical terrorism
- took vitamin supplements
- used sunscreen
- drank pasteurized milk or juice
- took your child for an immunization
- went swimming in a public pool or lake
- ate a healthy diet and exercised
…you benefited from the work of public health professionals!
Government provides public health services at the federal, state and local levels. The National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) describes 10 Essential Functions all local health departments should perform. To view and/or download this document, click on the following link:
In the State of Connecticut, local public health services may be provided by a part-time municipal health department, a full-time municipal health department or a health district. A health district is formed when 2 or more municipalities choose to consolidate their local public health functions.
There are currently 20 local health districts in the state, serving over 40% of the state population. Ledge Light Health District is one of these districts – serving East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, New London and Waterford.
The benefits of managing public health on a regional level include:
- economic efficiencies for the municipalities
- uniform and consistent enforcement of the state public health code and regulations
- uniform and consistent costs
- the ability to provide the full range of public health functions to all residents
- a fully trained and certified staff
- 24/7 coverage for emergencies
- the ability to address concerns across town lines.