Over shift in the view of public health in

Over the last century, there has been a paradigm shift in the
view of public health in America from a focus on preventing disease through health
education measures to promoting health and wellness in the community
environment such as eliminating health disparities and creating tobacco free
living.    This shift was brought on by individuals who
promoted changes in their communities after educating and improving the health
of their patients.   Some of these people
included religious leaders, medical authorities and government officials.   


During plagues
and pandemics in the 1700-1900s, people sought help from the churches which
later became hospitals for delivery of medical care.  Some individuals supported this model,
including Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science  and Dr. John Kellogg, a physician and
Seventh Day Adventist. They promoted a healthy lifestyle for wellness and
educated people on disease management. 
Phineas Quimby and Mary Baker Eddy saw how their own diseases were made
better by the actions they took to improve their mindset and diet. (Miller

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Dr. Halbert
Dunn taught his patients about “High-Level
Wellness” in the 1960s.   He later
became a national figure, dubbed the Father of The Wellness Movement in part
due to his government position with the U.S. Public Health Service.  These early health educators sought to
improve their communities by promoting healthful living lifestyles.  


Big business
and government leaders feeling the burden of high healthcare costs sought to
steer public policy from sick populations to healthy populations.  The President’s Commission on the Health
Needs of the Nation was formed in 1951 by President Truman.  This was also the time the Magnuson Report
came out in Canada.  These documents
emphasized the personal responsibilities of the individual and helped move the
wellness movement away from disease management to disease prevention through
health promotions.


Other important
individuals included Surgeon General, Julius Richmond who issued Healthy People in 1979 (Healthy
People 1979) and Mr. Donald Ardell, author and director of the University of
Central Florida’s Wellness Center (O”Donnell 2011). His work influenced such
companies as the Madison Wisconsin School District and Sentry Insurance Company
of Wisconsin to develop Workplace Wellness programs to lower the cost of


Today the
strategies of health promotion include common elements with health education
including empowering people to make healthy choices by educating them about
proper nutrition, preventing drug and alcohol abuse through education on the
dangers of addiction.  The focus has
broadened to include preventing obesity by promoting active living, preventing
injury by creating safe public environments and violence free living, improving
reproductive and sexual health by passing legislation measures for health insurance
and by expanding quality preventive health services in the community
setting.  The main difference between
health education and health promotion is the core focus from the individual
health education to the socioeconomic status of the population by making the
pursuit of health and wellness the norm.