Podiatric Public Health has been defined as that specialty and special area of podiatric practice that is concerned with the science and art of preventing, treating and managing pedal and related disorders, diseases, conditions, and malfunctions; and promoting foot health through organized community efforts. It is that form of podiatric medical practice, which serves the community as the patient rather than the individual. It is concerned with podiatric health education of the public, with applied podiatric research, as well as the prevention and control of podiatric disorders and diseases on a community basis. It provides a focus on the health of individuals and defined populations in order to protect, promote, and maintain health and well-being and to prevent disease and disability, which can cause premature death.
Implicit in this definition is the requirement that the specialists have broad knowledge and skills in public health administration; research methodology; biostatistics; epidemiology; health services administration; environmental and occupational influences on health; social and behavioral influences on health; measures to prevent the occurrence, progression and disabling effects of disease and injury; cross cultural concerns of the delivery of health services; the financing and delivery of podiatric medical care and services; and the identification and development of resources to accomplish health goals. It includes considerations dealing with health policy and public health law and provides a focus on aging as a major health issue for the future.
Podiatric Medicine has experienced significant progress in public health program involvement since the inception by the profession of the need to become involved in the field. There has been an impressive growth over the past fifty years to promote a preventive strategy and to expand public health education and service. It is the purpose of this chapter to trace the development of Podiatric public health and to recognize the important role that the American Public Health Association has played in this cooperative effort to improve the foot health of the Nation.