The invisible profession

I recall my professor for Public Health Practice, Dr. Cheryll Lesneski, telling the class that public health is often called the “invisible profession” because its affects are rarely noticed by the public. Only when it fails, like in the current lead water crisis in Flint, MI, do people notice public health. 

In Cheryl’s class I had forgotten about this wonderful quote from Bernard Turnock that I came across again today. Emphasis mine.

[Public health] prevention efforts often lack a clear constituency because success results in unseen consequences. Because these consequences are unseen, people are less likely to develop an attachment for or to support the efforts preventing them. 

Advocates for mental health services, care for individuals with development disabilities, organ transplants, and end-stage renal disease often make their presence felt. But few state capitols have seen candlelight demonstrations by thousands of people who did not get diphtheria.

From: “Public Health: What It Is and How It Works”, Third Edition by Bernard J. Turnock, MD, MPH