The Federal Government's Role in Public Health Information

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  • 0:01 Public Health
  • 0:43 The CDC
  • 2:26 The NIH
  • 3:26 The FDA
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Have you ever wondered where you can get accurate and readily-digestible information about your health, drug recalls, or the spread of the flu during winter? Well, many federal government agencies, such as the CDC, FDA and NIH, are responsible for this.

Public Health

All the way back in 1798, the second president of the U.S., John Adams, set the stage for today's promotion, protection, and advancement of the health and safety of all those living in the U.S., the concept of public health.

Public health is the science of improving and protecting the health of entire communities by applying the principles of education, preventative medicine, control and monitoring of environmental dangers, and proper sanitation.

This lesson is going to focus on some of the major federal government agencies that are responsible for educating Americans about public health.


Let's take a peek inside of Susan's life to see how these agencies impact her by educating her and others like her about public health. The first major organization that helps protect Susan's health is known as the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has a gigantic website that allows Susan to read up on the latest threats to her community's and this country's health. She can also find and read about conditions that may affect her or someone she knows and what she needs to do about it. This information arms Susan with a wealth of knowledge right at home!

For example, Susan can use a cool interactive map to see where flu outbreaks are occurring or read up on the most important information regarding HIV/AIDS. If Susan is a doctor, then she can get specialized education about any wide variety of public health concerns, like tuberculosis, so she knows the latest and greatest facts about this terrible disease and how best to spot, diagnose, and treat it before it becomes a major public health headache.

This way, the CDC uses a trickle-down effect. It educates the people who keep us healthy, doctors, so they can, in turn, educate the rest of us since many of us simply don't have time to read through all the information the CDC provides!

You see, whether she's a physician or a stay-at-home mom, the CDC allows Susan to obtain power from knowledge. The power and knowledge to know what's happening, where, and what to do about it. If everyone was to stay abreast of the latest health issues affecting them, their community, and the country as a whole, we could all help minimize the spread of many diseases throughout this country.


The CDC is only one of many federal agencies that help educate Americans about public health concerns through various means. Another very well-known organization that helps with this is the NIH, National Institutes of Health. Like the CDC, the NIH seeks to educate the U.S. public about various health concerns through many different means.

For example, Susan can use the information provided by the NIH to find a clinical trial for a new drug that may help cure a family member who has little hope with currently-approved medication. She can find phone numbers to gather more information about a particular disease she wants to know more about.

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