The Physician As Public Health Officer (News: Bureau for Public Health)

The Physician As Public Health Officer (News: Bureau for Public Health)

The majority of the Public Health Officers (PHOs) in West Virginia are in private practice, ranging from family medicine, to pediatrics, and to surgery. Some have had formal training in public health; others have not. Only two are fulltime PHOs. Yet, there are some fundamental commonalities. As physicians, all are trained in taking histories, completing physical exams, interpreting tests, making diagnoses and prescribing medicines–all a part of the art and science of healing. State Licensing Boards require physicians to graduate from an accredited school, pass certain exams, and conduct themselves accordingly, but what about the PHO? What are PHO standards? What is fair for the public to reasonably expect from their PHO? In 1994, a collaborative of public health related groups defined more clearly what public health should do, and how it should do it; these efforts led to establishing the 10 Essential Public Health Services (10 EPHS). (1) These 10 EPHS are what every citizen should be able to reasonably expect from their Local Health Department. If these 10 EPHS, then, have come to be seen as a set of standards, how do we translate those standards for a physician who is now granted the title “PHO?”

The Physician As Public Health Officer (News: Bureau for Public Health)



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