Shared language is important for shared work in population, community and public health

American Academy of Family Physicians

A large group of family medicine researchers, educators and clinicians propose a framework of definitions to clarify the similarities, differences and relationships between common terms used by those involved in population health, community health and public health. They write that shared language must be clear enough to help and not hinder people working together as they come to a mutual understanding of roles, responsibilities and actions in their joint work. A diagram of common population and community health terms for navigating the territory includes goals such as health, population health, and community health; realities such as social determinants, disparities and equity; and ways to get the job done such as care delivery, primary care, and public health, along with a broad zone of collaboration. This is designed to enable people to move forward in collaboration for health with less confusion, ambiguity and conflict. They add that shared language for shared work is important not only for division of labor, but for teaching clinicians, public health students and others to work effectively and collaboratively in different settings and to make the subject more intelligible for researchers, policymakers and funders.

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