Define public/community health. How does this differ from personal health?
Gidey, Taju and Hagos (2005), define community health as the health status of a given population and the strategies and actions that are taken to protect, preserve and promote their health. For instance, community health would constitute the health status of the people in Washington DC, United States of America, and the actions that are taken to protect, preserve and promote their health. Community health differs from personal health irrespective of the fact that they are concerned about health care issues. According to Gidey, Taju and Hagos (2005), personal health is defined as the health status of an individual and the steps and actions that are taken to improve and protect his or her health. While community health activities are aimed at improving and protecting the health status of a group of people, personal health activities are concerned with actions and decisions that seek to improve and protect the health status of an individual (Gidey, Taju and Hagos, 2005).
What are the benefits of public health assessments? What are the disadvantages, if any? Give an example of a potential conflict within the community that could arise as a result of public health assessments. How can public health advocates and policy makers prevent and/or manage such a conflict?
Public health assessment refers to the process of obtaining, analyzing, and interpreting information in order to understand the health status of a given population. Through public health assessment, it becomes possible to identify the health needs of a community which are used as the basis for the development of effective public health interventions. Community health assessment is beneficial in the sense that, it provides an opportunity for to improve the health status of the entire community (Gidey, Taju and Hagos, 2005). In addition, healthcare institution and physicians are able to coordinate to improve the health of a community following a comprehensive community health assessment. However, community health assessment has one major disadvantage. Normally, the measures used in assessment may not be applied uniformly across populations. This occurs in a case where it is difficult to define population characteristics (Gidey, Taju and Hagos, 2005).
How can public health assessments be used to form public policy?
Public health assessments can result into a number of conflicts within the community. An example of a potential conflict is the conflict of interest. A conflict of interest occurs when a prevailing circumstance creates a risk that judgement towards a primary interest will be influenced by a secondary interest. For instance, following public health assessment, it might be concluded that a community that is in dire need of resources be provided with the resources in question (Lo and Field, 2009). A conflict of interest may occur where a public health nurse may choose to provide individual patients with the needed resources instead of meeting the fundamental obligations to the whole community. In case a conflict of interest occurs during community health assessment, public health advocates and policy makers can help manage such conflicts. For example, policy makers and public health advocates can formulate conflict of interest policies that will help to prevent the influence of secondary interest on primary interests (Lo and Field, 2009).
Cite legislation on the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes that has been passed to address this concern. Discuss how this legislation has affected or could affect your community (Northern California, Bay Area).
Public health assessments can be used to form public policy. For example, after obtaining the health needs of a community through comprehensive health assessment, the information can be used to develop policies that will ensure that the community gets access to identified needs. The public policy so developed can help increase the overall well-being of the community (Gidey, Taju and Hagos, 2005). Varied opinions have been raised concerning the marijuana as to whether it should be taken as a drug or as a medicine. One of the legislations that has been passed to address this concern is the California Uniform Controlled Substance Act that maintains that marijuana is a hallucinogenic substance. Under this act, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute is considered to be a felony that is punishable by imprisonment of between 16 and 36 months. This legislation can help reduce the number of people who possess marijuana with intent to distribute in Northern California, Bay Area (Norml, 2015).
Gidey, G., Taju, S., Hagos, A. S. (2005). Introduction to Public Health. Retrived, March 28, 2015, from http://www.cartercenter.org/resources/pdfs/health/ephti/library/lecture_notes/health_science_students/LN_Intro_PH_final.pdf
Lo, B. & Field, M. J. (2009). Conflict of interest in medical research, education, and practice. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Norml. (2015). California laws and penalties. Retrieved, March 28, 2015, from http://norml.org/laws/item/california-penalties
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