Changing the language of “public health”

As soon as you say the word “health” – whether by itself, or in conjunction with another word “public”, “promotion”, “and well being” etc etc…. it just becomes silioed into narrow interests. 
This is the perpetual identity crisis of public health types.


“Ahhh it’s “health” the DPH will sort that

This is set against such a notion of the collective sum of lots of stuff across many sectors, often done for reasons way outwith “health” is what determines how healthy a population is or isn’t.


This has proved so very intractable, and I fear does get in the way of progress around improving “health” (see there I go again) outcomes.

So example – Yes of course we invest in education so as to have better educated kids, a happy bi product of which is probably healthier adults etc.

But – it’s a long and complex chain. 

There ARE some things that can and should be done to enhance the “health dividend” of the investment in various systems – eg the system for “education”. In addition there is great gain to be had by connecting up agendas and sorting out the plumbing between different systems – say “education”, “health”, “skills”, “employment” etc.

In old money we used to call this “partnerships”.
The language issue is central. Finding language that unites the aims of people in health, education, planning etc could have a much bigger impact on change for ‘healthier’ outcomes.
Also central is evidencing the health impact/potential of so many services/community activities is hugely problematic and therefore could mean we are directing research resources at the wrong issue. 


So maybe we need to change the language completely…..???

Just a thought 


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