2 Working with a community development approach: engaging with communities
Public health seeks to improve the population’s health through measures aimed at large groups, and to complement clinical medicine’s treatment of individuals by working to maximise the health of communities. As discussed above, effective public health practice depends on co-ordinated planning across a wide range of technical, medical and social disciplines. Those working in the field have a long-established tradition of responding to and managing the threats to community health posed by communicable and non-communicable diseases or dead bodies (Morgan, 2004). They have also developed expertise in tackling the broader determinants of health, including housing and regeneration initiatives, and work to promote the health of disadvantaged communities (Robinson et al., 2005). How, then, might one recognise, realise and respond to the potential of communities to promote public health?