What is Public Health?

What is Public Health?

Public health is...

  • Nutrition
  • Vaccinations
  • Healthy living
  • Maternal and child health
  • Dental health
  • Injury prevention
  • Restaurant, public pools and septic system inspections
  • Laboratory testing
  • Death investigations and autopsies
  • Health data
  • Response planning
  • Policy development

We all eat, drink and breathe, so we all benefit from public health.

We Are NC Public Health

NCDPH Programs

Public health experts work to improve the health of families and communities. They work to:

  • Promote healthy living,
  • Prevent disease, and
  • Remove environmental dangers.  

NCDHHS’ Division of Public Health (NCDPH) works with local public health departments. Together, we oversee a variety of programs to protect your health. This includes response and prevention.

DPH Success Stories (PDF)

Learn more about NCDPH

What We Do

Public health provides a safety net for our communities. It is the driving force behind:

Preventing the spread of disease. We track diseases like:

  • COVID-19
  • Tuberculosis
  • Flu
  • Mpox
  • Zika

Data collection and use. Data, technology and innovation help us monitor health outcomes that impact our priority populations.

Vital record processing. This includes birth, marriage and death certificates.

Disaster response planning. We plan the state's preparedness, response and recovery to disasters such as major floods and hurricanes.

Environmental health regulation and education. We help prevent foodborne illness and contamination of private drinking water wells. 

Healthy lifestyle promotion. We offer programs to prevent chronic disease, and health screenings for women and babies.

NCDPH Topics A-Z

Why is Public Health Important?

In a nutshell, public health:

  • Improves our quality of life
  • Helps children thrive
  • Reduces human suffering
  • Saves money

Every day, the public health field works to prevent hazards and keep people healthy. Often this work happens behind the scenes. For example, public health:

  • Tracks disease outbreaks and vaccinates communities to avoid the spread of disease.
  • Advocates for laws to keep people safe, including smoke-free indoor air and seatbelts.
  • Works to prevent firearm injury.
  • Addresses the impact of climate change on our health.