Public Health Revitalized by This Generation

Approximately two and a half years ago, in December of 2019, the first reported cluster
of COVID-19 cases was reported in Wuhan, China. In January 2020, the first case was
confirmed and acknowledged in the United States. For a while, the virus disoriented civilians and
pulverized the composition of our world. As we reconstruct and rebuild a crumbled society,
reflection is essential. The negative impacts presented by the most recent pandemic are
significant and unfortunate. Nonetheless, the pandemic has properly revitalized the topic of
public health and health policy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), public health is the
science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the
organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private
communities, and individuals. The National Library of Medicine (NIH) explains the background
of public health and its system. Two factors have shaped the modern public health system over
the past century and a half: The first is emerging discoveries and new scientific knowledge.
Centuries ago, when scientific understanding of disease and illness was weak, populations were
devastated. Safety measures were merely implemented as diseases ravaged the poorly equipped
societies. As the understanding of diseases became more widespread and understood, the
population was better suited to combat these contagions. The second factor involves the growing
acceptance (by the public) of disease as a real possibility and responsibility.

Public health topics should remain at the forefront of our lives and issues. As scientific
discovery has progressed and the public has acknowledged disease as a real threat, public health
systems/leaders have been able to expand their duties and goals to broader aspects of our society.
Instead of just focusing on detecting disease, public health now encompasses facets such as
sanitation, immunization, health education, disaster relief, and health care access. As a result, we
citizens can live in a more sustainable, educated, and advanced setting.

Public health institutions are among the most principal in the new 21st century. The CDC
is an organization that values public health to a great extent. Leading officials at the CDC played
crucial roles during the peaks of the recent pandemic. Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, the
director of the CDC, is an individual who has been the head of this institution since December
7, 2020. Recently, she visited Princeton University to discuss the recovery from COVID-19.
While at the university, Walensky visited the testing lab, which has processed 700,000 tests since
November 2020. This statistic is striking because it displays the extent to which public health has
influenced a university to create its measures for safety. At Princeton, Walensky discussed a
variety of topics, including her work with fighting HIV/AIDS, the CDC’s mission to combat
health inequalities among socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, and the brute labor that
goes into public health decisions. All of these are practiced and implemented by our public
health leaders.

It is already evident that public health’s role in our society has been growing to new
extremes, advancing their research, and has amassed many listeners. However, a schism has
formed within our population regarding public health. During the high tide of COVID-19, the
Robert Wood Johnson Foundations conducted a survey. Approximately 71% support funding to
improve our public health institutions. In addition, 72% of the public believe public health
systems are crucial to the health of our world. However, the survey also revealed that the public
trusts doctors and nurses rather than public health institutions for health-related subjects. This
statistic is especially prominent when examining the CDC’s trust level (52%) and the state/local
health department’s trust level (41%). Mistrust in public health institutions must be addressed.
Methods of funding and education are necessary to improve the already growing public health
institutions and leaders. As a result, we are better prepared to combat destructive diseases and
make rudimentary, sustainable changes within our communities.

We must also reflect on how this generation has treated public health issues. The Prep has
done an exceptional job of ensuring the welfare of all its students. When the COVID-19
pandemic engendered a strict burden on The Prep, our leaders and decision-makers were quick
and decisive in creating the safest environment possible. Masks, social distancing, online school
for a while, and other measures polished this shielded environment. Fast forward more than two
years since the pandemic struck, and we have eliminated masks and created a sense of normality.
As a result, we Pirates are finally able to enjoy and utilize our institution’s clubs, athletics, and

Public health issues and topics have quickly emerged from the shadows. The COVID-19
pandemic has resurrected public health discussions among our population. How we advance is
up to the public: we can further the schism that has already corrupted our beliefs, or we can
restore public health, its leaders, and institutions to better our society. The Prep is a place that has
embraced the importance of public health, and consequently, we have become a more revitalized
school. Disease, ensuring wellbeing, and sustainability issues are here to stay. Yet how we
approach these matters and continue to advance our society depends on public health.