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Impact of Public Health

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The dramatic achievements of Public Health in the 20th century have improved our quality of life: an increase in life expectancy, world wide reduction in infant and child mortality, and the elimination or reduction of many communicable diseases.

In 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. These advances have been largely responsible for increasing the lifespan of populations; over twenty-five of the 30 years can be accredited to public health initiatives, while medical advances account for less than 4 years. Furthermore, since 1900, the average life expectancy for Americans has increased by about 30 years.

Today, Public Health leaders continue to strengthen their roles as advocates for improved population-based health in an international, global community.

*Turnock, BJ. Public Health: What it is and How it Works, 3rd Edition. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2004.