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What is public health?

Public health has been defined as the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organised efforts of society. The issues which influence public health are often changing and knowledge is constantly evolving.

Increasingly value is being placed upon good health by individuals and communities and there has been a shift towards health status outcomes as goals for health services.

Important considerations in public health now include:

  • Environmental awareness
  • Increasing focus on Māori health
  • Concerns about inequities in health
  • Inequality in access to care
  • Issues in the provision, distribution, and financing of health services

Public health research

The goal of public health research is to contribute to improving the health of populations. At Otago we have a huge number of researchers working to advance health goals in Aotearoa / New Zealand, and beyond.

Public Health research at Otago encompasses a wide range of scientific disciplines, and looks at key questions such as:

  • Finding patterns in our population's health
  • Finding out what enhances or detracts from achieving good health
  • Finding ways to improve population health overall and reduce the inequalities

Find out more about our research projects and programmes: