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Faculty Feature | 2/16/2023

The Health of All for the Health of One

By Jennifer Persons

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In the second episode of the MCPHS Bicentennial Podcast, The Secret to Living to 200, Dr. Carly Levy explains how improving the health of a community also improves the health of individuals.

Public health is everywhere: in neighborhoods, in government, in workplaces, in schools, and more. As a public health professional, Carly Levy, DHS, MPH, CPH, has dedicated her career to understanding the social determinants of health and how to create healthier spaces for everyone.

In this episode, Dr. Levy shares examples of public health in action and discusses some of the current issues threatening it. She also describes steps anyone can take, big or small, to improve the health of their communities and, in turn, increase the quality of the lives of the people in them.

Listen to Episode 2 and every episode of The Secret to Living to 200 on our Bicentennial website or anywhere you get your podcasts.

Three Things to Know About Public Health

1. Public health includes the places we live, work, play, and pray.

Most public health concerns can be sorted into these four categories. They are also guidelines for public health professionals and policymakers to focus their efforts. Dr. Levy explains that while people often associate public health with government and policy, there are public health experts working in every healthcare discipline and part of society to improve.

2. Public health impacts are tracked down to the neighborhood level.

Dr. Levy says public health is everywhere, but the places people live significantly impact their health. She explains that ample amounts of data show differences in health outcomes not just on a state, county, or town level but even down to the neighborhood. For example, people in neighborhoods just 10 miles apart can have life expectancies that are decades different.

3. A small effort can make a big difference.

With so many public health issues to address, from housing to prejudice to environmental concerns and more, it can feel overwhelming for the average person to do something. Dr. Levy advises picking just one issue and getting involved by joining a committee, starting a social media campaign, or even running for local office. She argues that if everyone spent a little time and energy on these causes, it would have a major impact on improving community health.

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