University of Gothenburg
Samhällsmedicin och folkhälsa, jordglob. Illustratör: Anna Hallén
Photo: Anna Hallén

Community medicine and public health

Why do more and more people get sick leave for mental health problems? And how does traffic noise affect our sleep quality? Questions like this are investigated in community medicine and public health, two areas that form a single, interdisciplinary subject with starting points that include public health science, global health and epidemiology.

Public health is the collective well-being of a specific population or large group of people. The concept includes many aspects of health —mental, social and physical —and is measured by such criteria as average life expectancy, self-perceived quality of life, and prevalence of diseases and disabilities. Public health is affected by the surroundings and conditions we live in. Rather than being merely descriptive, the subject is also about local, national and international prevention of disease and promotion of a high, even standard of health for all.

Our research has a whole-life perspective. The preschool sound environment is an example of are search topic that focuses on the very young; mental ill-health related to the work environment exemplifies one that addresses the adult population. We also study public-health issues associated with alcohol consumption, migration and climate change, for example.