We endeavour to provide Queensland members with local professional development, networking events and activities, and advocate on behalf of issues that affect the health of Queenslanders.

Who are public health professionals?

The field of public health is highly varied and encompasses many disciplines including but not limited to environmental health, emergency management, health promotion, nutrition, epidemiology, maternal and child health, communicable disease control, injury prevention, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and public health research.

What we contribute

The contribution by public health professionals to the health of Australians is immense.  Some examples as contained in the report Advocacy and action in public health: lessons from Australia over the 20th century include:

  • In 2001, it was estimated that at least 78,000 Australian lives had been saved, and substantial illness prevented, through vaccinations for diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, measles and poliomyelitis;
  • Australia was declared polio-free in 2000; and measles, rubella and Haemophilus influenzae type b infection (Hib) were close to being eliminated;
  • In 1970, road accident deaths were 8 per 10,000 registered vehicles; by 1999 it had been reduced to a rate of 1.4 deaths per 10,000 registered vehicles, partly due to the many public health measures introduced to tackle the death and injury toll from road trauma;
  • Public health investment in programs to reduce coronary heart disease has been cost-effective: the net benefit of public education programs to reduce coronary heart diseases was assessed at $8.5 billion for an investment of $810 million (1970-2010). Ten per cent of the reduction in smoking and 30% of the reduction in high blood cholesterol were attributed to public health activity.

Examples of successful public health measures in the area of road traffic safety include:

  • compulsory seat belts since the 1970s—fitted in cars, with mandatory wearing of seat belts;
  • mandatory wearing of motorcycle helmets (since 1973 for motorcycle drivers and their passengers) and then of bike helmets (nationally from 1992);
  • baby capsules and generally improved occupant restraints in motor vehicles;
  • reductions in road speed limits, reduced speed zones (e.g. near schools), and traffic zones shared by motorists, cyclists and pedestrians;
  • setting and monitoring of blood alcohol limits (e.g. random breath testing - introduced in 1976 in Victoria, and by other states and territories 1980 to 1988), penalties and fines for drivers);
  • driver education and testing, and, road safety campaigns in schools and in the mass media.

Work we do

As the field of public health is highly varied the work that is undertaken by public health professionals is also greatly varied.  Some examples of the work undertaken include:

  • Monitoring of drinking water quality for compliance with national standards and guidelines
  • Responding to emergencies such as floods, bushfires and cyclones
  • Testing of biological and environmental samples
  • Designing, implementing and evaluating programs for reducing risk factors for chronic disease
  • Maintaining vaccination databases
  • Implementing childhood and adult vaccination programs
  • Providing information and access to birth control
  • Providing high quality after birth care for mothers and their newborns
  • Promoting healthy eating and physical activity
  • Ensuring access to a high quality fruit and vegetable supply
  • Investigation of infectious disease outbreaks
  • Analysing data for health trends
  • Researching health such as risk factors for chronic disease
  • Undertaking screening programs for certain cancers
  • Analysing policy for public health impacts