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Although infectious diseases are a threat to every individual, chronic disease holds the biggest threat to our nation’s health. According to the CDC “As of 2012, about half of all adults—117 million people—had one or more chronic health conditions. One of four adults had two or more chronic health conditions (CDC (2012), para. 1).” This statistic is overwhelming however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The importance of public health and education can have a major impact on raising awareness to help the population make better choices.

Public health has to deal with ethical issues regarding policy making, awareness, and education. For example, people’s religious preferences in regards to health and well being can interfere. Take the recent vaccination requirement for California for example. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB777 that states no longer will “personal or religious belief exemptions” be allowed as of 07/01/2016 in regards to vaccinating children. There are few exceptions under this policy that may exist only until the next grade level (NVIC, 2015).

Public health deals the “greater good” for society such as smoking in public places. Since it can have serious effects of people’s health from smoke exposure, often times there are “designated” smoking areas like in theme parks like Disneyland or Sea World for example. In California, they made it illegal to smoke inside public places like bars and restaurants in 1995 (Cal-OSHA, 1997). If caught they would result in fines for violating this rule on first, second, and third offences with maximum dollar amounts assigned.


California State Vaccine Requirements. (2015). National Vaccine Information Center. Retrieved from


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2007). Emerging infectious diseases. Retrieved from

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Principles of epidemiology in public health practice. (3rd Edition). An introduction to applied epidemiology and biostatistics. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Retrieved from

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). FastStats. Infectious disease. Retrieved from

Institute of Medicine of the National Academices. (2012). Living well with chronic illness: A call for public health action. Full report. Retrieved from


 In my opinion, chronic diseases currently have the greatest impact on our local environment, such as, the United States. However, from a global perspective infectious diseases are perceived as far more dangerous. Individuals around the world are constantly affected by infectious disease which most often times lead to death. Third world countries do not have access to immunizations and are at a greater risk for infectious diseases. As mentioned per the Instructor Guidance section, nearly one out of two adults suffers from a chronic illness. And, chronic illnesses account for fifty percent of deaths yearly in the United States. As mentioned in the guidance section as well, the number of infectious diseases and cases have decreased due to the use and advancement of vaccinations. 

As mentioned per our text, Epidemiology can be measured and evaluated in numerous ways. Count, ratio and proportion are methods used to measure epidemiology. Incidence, rate, incidence rate mortality rate and case fatality rate can  be used to measure epidemiology. In this case, chronic diseases would have a far greater impact on the nation’s health. This would be based on the vast and increasing deaths caused by chronic illnesses. All of the measures create an impact; however, the most influential would be the mortality rate. Mortality rates have a tremendous affect on the interpretation of data. If individuals are dying in large numbers it is clearly an epidemic and potentially a pandemic if not addressed. 

Public health often attempts to uphold individuals rights though prevention strategies. For example, the use of mandatory vaccinations if children choose to attend school. It is for the protection of both the child and those in his immediate environment. It is is a requirement to ensure the health and safety but also has the best interest of the individual and society in mind. However, the trouble with public health is that it may cross ethical boundaries. In order to protect the best interest of society, individuals rights must be infringed upon. For example, an individuals right to choose how and when he will received medical treatment or immunizations. In addition, religious views may prevent someone from seeking immunizations; however, they would like to attend school regularly. For example, hepatic vaccination requirements. They have the right to an education, freedom of religion and freedom to choose. However, public health is aiming to protect both the safety and health of the individual and society as a whole. 

Friis, R. H., Bell, N. M., & Philibert, B. (2013). Community and Public Health. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

U.S. Department of State. (n.d.). Infectious and chronic diseases. Retrieved from

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