MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Professional Version

Essential Public Health Services


Donald L. Noah

, DVM, DACVPM, College of Veterinary Medicine and DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University

Reviewed/Revised Dec 2022 | Modified Jun 2023

Under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the US Public Health Service (USPHS) developed (and adopted in 1994, with an update in 2020) the following ten essential public health functions to assist state and local health agencies achieve their mission of promoting physical and mental health and preventing disease, injury, and disability.

  • Assess and monitor population health status, factors that influence health, and community needs and assets

  • Investigate, diagnose, and address health problems and hazards affecting the population

  • Communicate effectively to inform and educate people about health, factors that influence it, and how to improve it

  • Strengthen, support, and mobilize communities and partnerships to improve health

  • Create, champion, and implement policies, plans, and laws that impact health

  • Utilize legal and regulatory actions designed to improve and protect the public’s health

  • Assure an effective system that enables equitable access to the individual services and care needed to be healthy

  • Build and support a diverse and skilled public health workforce

  • Improve and innovate public health functions through ongoing evaluation, research, and continuous quality improvement

  • Build and maintain a strong organizational infrastructure for public health

See also the World Health Organization's (WHO's) 100 Core Health Indicators.

quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!