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Editorial: Precision Public Health

Weeramanthri, T.S., Dawkins, H.J.S., Baynam, G., Bellgard, M., Gudes, O. and Semmens, J.B. (2018) Editorial: Precision Public Health. Frontiers in Public Health, 6 .

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Traditional public health practice has had a central reliance on data, and the core discipline of epidemiology, in order to inform health policy and priority setting, drive health improvement across whole populations, and target disadvantaged populations. Core public health activities include risk factor and disease surveillance, screening, development of interventions, assurance, and evaluation. Since the 1970s, New Public Health has also emphasized community engagement, health promotion, partnerships, and advocacy.

In the last 20 years, and particularly with the sequencing of the human genome and advances in other “-omics,” informatics and a range of technologies, new possibilities have opened up for a much more finely delineated view of the “time-person-place” triad that underpins epidemiology, and the balancing of genetic, biological, environmental, and social determinants of disease.

This may lead, we argue in this article, to new preventive and treatment options and the next paradigm shift in public health, namely toward “Precision Public Health” or PPH. However, we also caution against a blind optimism about what technology can achieve on its own, and argue for a solid grounding of PPH on the old verities of public health, namely whole population health improvement and equity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Copyright: © 2018 Weeramanthri, Dawkins, Baynam, Bellgard, Gudes and Semmens
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