The public health system focuses on prevention through population-based health promotion by providing those public services and interventions which protect entire populations from illness, disease, and injury. The primary providers of these public health services are government health departments.
Health departments in communities throughout the United States are responsible for protecting, assessing, and assuring individual, community, and environmental health. They build partnerships and often provide or coordinate direct services to ensure that there is access to adequate health services in a community. They have also directly taken on the challenges of addressing the health care service needs of the most vulnerable and at-risk. Furthermore, the health department regulates sources of risk and promote health and safety practices such as licensing restaurants and health facilities, and regulating water and air quality. Likewise, they are responsible for ensuring the safety and health of the community during a time of crisis.