What is community health?

Community health is a medical specialty that focuses on the physical and mental well-being of the people in a specific geographic region. This important subsection of public health includes initiatives to help community members maintain and improve their health, prevent the spread of infectious diseases and prepare for natural disasters.

“Working at the community level promotes healthy living, helps prevent chronic diseases and brings the greatest health benefits to the greatest number of people in need,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1

Strong community health requires residents to look beyond themselves and take “collective responsibility,” says Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics. “It’s not just about the healthcare system, but focuses on the importance of leading a generally healthy lifestyle in order to protect the community as a whole.”

Community health is inextricably tied to individual wellness. “Good community health equates to healthy people, as a community is the ecosystem or environment in which people live,” says Thomas G. Bognanno, president and CEO of Community Health Charities. “It’s difficult to be healthy personally if your community is unhealthy.”

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