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Population Health

When most people think about health services, they think about treatment or preventative services for individuals. Population and Public Health is unique because it focuses on the health of the whole population. The work of population health reaches past health care facilities and far into the community. Every time an illness is prevented, an injury averted or a death delayed, population health is achieving its mission to promote and protect the health of Albertans.

In Alberta Health Services, the Population and Public Health portfolio includes the following program areas:

  • Emergency, Disaster Preparedness is responsible for making sure that Alberta Health Services is ready and able to respond to major events such as pandemics and natural disasters.
  • Health Protection includes Environmental Public Health that works to create safe and healthy environments in public and private spaces by applying and enforcing health regulations. It also includes Communicable Disease Control which helps to prevent illness through a comprehensive vaccination program and rapid response to disease outbreaks.
  • Surveillance and Health Status Assessment monitors and reports on the health of the population and conducts surveillance for the early detection of disease or other health risks.
  • Health Promotion, Disease and Injury Prevention advocates for policies and environments that make it easy for people to make healthy choices, and develops programs that enable people to achieve good health.

What all of these areas have in common is an approach that begins at a macro level with policies and programs that target the whole population or specific sub-populations to maintain or reduce the burden of disease and injury or improve health status. Population health work is grounded in research and uses specialized knowledge from a variety of sources to guide current strategies and direct effective, future actions.