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What is Public Health?

The CDC Foundation explains that “Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases.”

Public Health encompasses all the practices that serve to improve the health of the community and the people who live, recreate, and work in it, regardless of who performs the practices. In other words, Public Health sees its "client" as being the entire community, in our case, everyone who lives, recreates, and works in Mecklenburg County.

Our work is based on 10 Essential Services rooted in equity and with a goal of protecting and promoting the health of all people in all communities.

10 Essential Public Health Services abbrev.jpg 
The 10 Essential Public Health Services 
To Protect and promote the health of all people in all communities

A 1988 report entitled The Future of Public Health defined the mission of Public Health as: "fulfilling society's interest in assuring the conditions in which people can be healthy."  This mission implies a much broader role for Public Health than simply staffing medical clinics in health department facilities. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines the responsibilities of Public Health in a Community as follows: 

  • prevents epidemics and the spread of disease
  • protects against environmental hazards
  • prevents injuries
  • promotes and encourages healthy behaviors
  • responds to disasters and assists the community in recovery
  • assures the quality and accessibility of health services

 Standard indicators such as infant mortality and disease rates are used to measure the health of the community. After assessing the health of the community, Public Health provides leadership for creative problem-solving and policy development. Finally, Public Health continues to monitor the health indicators in the community, assuring that the problems are being addressed and that the "patient" - our community and its people - is becoming healthier. 


Mailing Address:

Mecklenburg County Public Health
249 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211

Office Location:

Mecklenburg County Public Health
249 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211



Hours: Mon-Fri  8 a.m. - 5 p.m.


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Key Initiatives