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The Public Health System and the 10 Essential Public Health Services

Web of connected eggs showing different components of the public health system including, but not limited to, the public health agency, non-profit organizations, nursing homes, community centers, and mental health.

   Figure 1: The Public Health System

The Public Health System

Public health systems are commonly defined as “all public, private, and voluntary entities that contribute to the delivery of essential public health services within a jurisdiction.” This concept ensures that all entities’ contributions to the health and well-being of the community or state are recognized in assessing the provision of public health services.

The public health system includes

  • Public health agencies at state and local levels
  • Healthcare providers
  • Public safety agencies
  • Human service and charity organizations
  • Education and youth development organizations
  • Recreation and arts-related organizations
  • Economic and philanthropic organizations
  • Environmental agencies and organizations  

Public Health 101 (PPT [3.15MB], PDF [1.27MB])
Learn about the components of the US public health system and how they work together to improve the nation's health. You may customize and use this presentation for your own informational and educational purposes.

The 10 Essential Public Health Services

Graphic to describe the 10 essential public health services as spokes in a wheel. Essential services are then linked to the 3 core functions of public health: assessment, policy development and assurance.

   Figure 2: The 10 Essential Public Health Services

The 10 Essential Public Health Services describe the public health activities that all communities should undertake and serve as the framework for the NPHPS instruments. Public health systems should

  1. Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems.
  2. Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community.
  3. Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.
  4. Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems.
  5. Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
  6. Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
  7. Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.
  8. Assure competent public and personal health care workforce.
  9. Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.
  10. Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.

The 10 Essential Public Health Services: An Overview (PPT [3.85MB], PDF [892KB])

The Core Public Health Functions Steering Committee developed the framework for the Essential Services in 1994. The committee included representatives from US Public Health Service agencies and other major public health organizations. For more information, see the Public Health Functions Project website.

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