The Definitions of Population Health and Public Health

It is important to note that the terms population health and public health are closely related but have different meanings. In the case of the former, it can be defined as “an approach [that] focuses on interrelated conditions and factors that influence the health of populations over the life course” (Nakamura, 2022, para. 3). However, the public health is about what “we as a society do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy” (Nakamura, 2022, para. 4). In other words, the key distinction is that population health focuses on geographic nature of patient treatment as a group. Public health addresses the health and the corresponding situations of the public in general, which directly impacts healthcare policies on a governmental scale. For example, public health is interested in assurances, policy developments, and healthcare assessments, whereas population health focuses on the social interventions of large groups and communities.

A more demonstrative illustration of the key distinctions between these two interconnected but distinct areas can be provided by referring to peer-reviewed journal article research papers. For instance, a study states that “increases in the frequency and intensity of many types of extreme weather and climate events, with the potential for significant impacts on populations and health care systems worldwide” (Ebi et al., 2021, p. 315). Extreme weather conditions have a strong impact on occupational health, morbidity, and mortality, where “there is high annual variability in the numbers of deaths from all disasters, with an average of 60,000 deaths annually” (Ebi et al., 2021, p. 298). In other words, extreme climate shifts occur sporadically, affecting specific regions more than others, which constitutes the description provided above.

However, when it comes to public health peer-reviewed sources, the research found that evidence-based interventions based on sustainability can lead to desirable health outcomes through policy-based measures (Shelton et al., 2018). Thus, it is evident that public health is more interested in practical measures that health institutions can take to address people’s needs. The study by de Melo Ghisi et al. (2020) focuses on defining the effectiveness of educational intervention and exercise programs in influencing the development of positive health behaviors among diabetes patients. The study examined the possible consequences of employing an electronic education-based and exercise-related approach for the working-age population. The study’s findings suggest that the program’s focus on education and the counseling system can result in measurable improvements and have a beneficial influence on how the condition is managed in a working-age population. Hence, this article illustrates a particular efficient educational approach that may be applied in other circumstances.

The role of the DNP is central for both areas of knowledge since nursing care is vital in determining both healthcare policies as well as population-wide interventions. For public health, the DNP’s input can be critical in ensuring that healthcare organizations are adequately staffed to avoid nursing shortages, medical errors, and nursing burnouts. In the case of population health, the DNP can substantially direct the data analysis and interpretation to the delivery aspects of healthcare services. DNP nurses can lead various healthcare programs aimed at improving overall health at a larger scale by advocating for specific initiatives and strategic healthcare plans. These implementations can take place on both state and federal levels indicating the importance of leadership in such efforts and endeavors.


de Melo Ghisi, G. L., Aultman, C., Konidis, R., Foster, E., Tahsinul, A., Sandison, N., Sarin, M., & Oh, P. (2020). Effectiveness of an education intervention associated with an exercise program in improving disease-related knowledge and health behaviours among diabetes patients. Patient Education and Counseling, 103(9), 1790-1797.

Ebi, K. L., Vanos, J., Baldwin, J. W., Bell, J. E., Hondula, D. M., Errett, N. A., Hayes, K., Reid, C. E., Saha, S., Spector, J., & Berry, P. (2021). Extreme weather and climate change: population health and health system implications. Annual Review of Public Health, 42(1), 293-315.

Nakamura, M. (2022). How does population health differ from public health? Colleaga. Web.

Shelton, R. C., Cooper, B. R., & Stirman, S. W. (2018). The sustainability of evidence-based interventions and practices in public health and health care. Annual Review of Public Health, 39, 55–76.

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