This chapter introduces some concepts originally developed in the field of public health/epidemiology, to provide the reader with a set of rather technical criteria to distinguish significant public health problems from those of relatively minor importance. First, the classic definitions of public health and epidemiology are reviewed. This is followed by a discussion on how a public health problem is conceptualized, with a strong emphasis on “magnitude,” “transcendence,” and “vulnerability” as the core elements upon which to base health policies, health interventions, and delivery of clinical care. The text then explains the main differences between the population-based and clinical approaches to health/disease causation, subsequently bringing to light some examples of dermatologic conditions that may be considered public health problems while being comparatively less important in the context of clinical care. Readers, especially medical doctors and health professionals in general, are encouraged to use the aforementioned concepts if high-quality care is to be offered to all (dermatologic) patients.
Public health Epidemiology Public health problem Determinants of health/disease Disease causation Dermatology in public health Disease prevalence Social and individual impacts Public policy Community action
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