Briefing Book


Public Health

This briefing began with a description of public health and its role in promoting health, preventing disease, and improving the well-being of populations. At the federal level, each branch of government and several executive agencies—including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—all play an important role. The briefing outlined the structure and activities of federal, state, and local public health; important legal authorities for public health activities; and public health financing at the national, state, and local levels. After laying a general foundation, discussion turned to three timely public health topics: (i) the relationship between health care and public health, (ii) health system preparedness to respond to emerging public health threats, and (iii) the increasing incidence of vaccine-preventable disease in the United States.


Sarah A. Lister, DVM, MPH (bio)
Specialist in Public Health and Epidemiology, Congressional Research Service
   Slides: "Public Health: Policy Essentials"

Briefing Materials

"The Public Health Service" (The Basics, February 11, 2015)

Additional Resources

Public Health

Public Health and Health Reform

Health System Preparedness

Immunization Update

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