Evolution of Public Health
With the reduction in the significance of infectious diseases in Canada over the last twenty-five years, public health, like other sectors of the health care system, has been seeking to carve out new territory and a new role for itself within the overall context of the provision of community-based services. Several histories of the development of public health services in various jurisdictions in Canada exist (e.g., Lewis 1984). While a full exposition is beyond the scope of this chapter, a number of points are relevant to the present discussion.
In a very general way public health could be said to comprise those activities which are undertaken with collective responsibility for the protection of the health of the public, primarily through primary prevention measures. 1 Public health activities generally are directed toward particular population groups who are basically "well" but who could be considered to be "at risk" for health problems (well-baby programs and school immuni‐____________________