Photo: Sjur Hamre/NYUAD
The World Health Organization defines public health as “all organized measures (whether public or private) that are developed in order to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole.” However, for many professionals in the field, it is simply about the greater good of human beings.
Public health breakthroughs like the development of immunization programs, restrictions on the use of tobacco, the systematization of motor vehicle safety efforts, the fluoridation of community drinking water and the development of programs for mothers in early pregnancy have provided invaluable improvements to our lives. Together, these initiatives and many others have allowed the survival of millions of people around the world. Moreover, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health is credited with adding an extra 25 years to the life expectancy of people in the United States in this century.
The world we live in is becoming increasingly complex and thus, the issues that plague it require a much more multidisciplinary approach. Public Health positions itself as constantly evolving field that responds to the changing needs of communities and populations around the world. It brings together the expertise of professionals from different fields such as public policy, environmental health, epidemiology, biostatistics and health economics, to name a few, to promote the well-being of communities. In the end, Public Health is not only an amalgamation of various professional fields, but is a moral and ethical imperative that has a real and lasting positive effect on lives everywhere.
The 2015 Public Health Think Tank conference aims to increase public health awareness in the UAE and to unite local university students in solving a problem of great societal importance. This year’s conference is an expansion of a successful pilot project that took place Fall 2014, and aspires to become a lighthouse for public health innovation in the Gulf region and globally.