What Is Public Health?
“Public health is the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts of society.”World Health Organization
Public health is a discipline that takes charge of all the administrative, social, political and economic dimensions of health. It is concerned with preserving health, protecting it at the level of a group of individuals, a country or worldwide. Public health recognizes that health is multidimensional and includes physical, mental and social health.”It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease the patient has”Sir William Osler
Public Health Topics
Here are some crucial public health issues:
- Immunization and control of infectious diseases
- Motor vehicle safety
- Workplace safety
- Safer and more nutritious foods
- Sanitation of drinking water
- Baby and maternal health and access to family planning
- Decline in deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke
- Anit-smoking fight
- Mental Health
- Access to health care
- Marginalized populations
- Opioid crisis
- Environmental health
- Social determinants of health
- Antibiotic resistance
What Is SCOPH?
IFMSA-Quebec’s Standing Committee on Public Health (SCOPH) aims to improve the health of the Quebec population through awareness-raising and political advocacy. The committee also wants to educate medical students on topics related to public health.
In Quebec, non-communicable diseases, tobacco, organ donation, and mental health are relevant topics for SCOPH. These topics are frequently discussed through kiosks, conferences, thematic weeks, open letters and position papers.
The peer education projects, where medical students aim to educate young people about health, have been very active in topics of mental health, skin health, nutrition and body image.
Two recurrent SCOPH projects are organized each year, namely Bonbons Bons Dons and the Languages Day.
Bonbons Bons Dons: This annual activity of the public health committee aims to raise awareness in the community about organ donation. Every year on Halloween, students dress up as zombies and roam the streets and public places to educate people and get them to sign their organ donation cards.
Languages Day: Kiosks, express language courses, and conferences are organized to raise students’ awareness on issues that have an impact on the experience of the health system such as literacy, the challenges of communication for new immigrants, and the impossibility to express oneself in one’s mother tongue.
Coming this year: In addition to these recurring activities, periodic activities on eco-anxiety, environmental health, access to health care for marginalized populations and antibiotic resistance will take place this year.
How to Get Involved?
The best way to get involved is to become a Local Public Health Officer. The local officer manages the Standing Committee on Public Health on their campus, coordinates public health projects, and participates in national campaigns, under the supervision of the National Public Health Officer. The call for nominations is usually in September. Be on the lookout for news about it!
You can also become an active member of IFMSA-Quebec by participating in activities organized by the public health committee on your campus or by joining this committee and organizing activities on your own.
For any other information or question, please contact:
National Public Health Officer (NPO)