More than 60 years ago, noted social philosopher Sir Geoffrey Vickers said “The history of public health might well be written as a persistent redefinition of the unacceptable.” This is certainly true when we are dealing with E. coli in a water well, improper food temperatures at a restaurant, too much chlorine in a public pool or the collection of tires in someone’s backyard. When a situation that affects the health and well being of people is unacceptable, it becomes a public health issue.
Public health issues are in the news every day, whether it be the latest outbreak of avian flu or the elimination of a vaccine-preventable disease. And the work of public health takes place in our community every day -- from investigating a dog bite, testing for radon, inspecting a restaurant or getting a Tetanus shot. Whether we notice or not the work of public health touches us all every day. From ‘No Smoking' signs to immunization clinics, proper sewage disposal to litter prevention, child car safety seats to rabies clinics, public health works to improve the conditions around us and promote healthy behaviors
The job of public health professionals at the Knox County Health Department is to promote health, prevent disease and injury, and to maintain and improve a healthy environment for the protection of all residents of Knox County. We assess, we assure, we promote, we prevent, we protect.... all to help extend the benefits this world has to offer to each of those we serve. It's an honor, a responsibility and some days, a tough job. And we do it gladly - because we are public health.
Yet, public health is also a two way street with input and involvement from the general public and partner agencies that are just as important as the investigations and recommendations made by public health professionals. The more our residents understand public health, the better we can work together to reduce infant mortality and improve infant health, reduce death and illness associated with disease and injury, increase awareness and adoption of healthy lifestyles and to respond effectively to all public health emergencies. We welcome your feedback and comments anytime.
Where and how we live, work and play has a lot to do with how healthy each of us really is. We hope you will find this information on our website useful in your everyday lives and that it will provide resources for keeping you and your family healthy. For now, for the future…this is public health.