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Community Health Care: A Bibliographic Essay

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 1 March 1979


An analysis of community health, its history, successes and failures, depends on an understanding of its scope, but there is little consensus as to precisely what the discipline entails. Some view it as a strict scientific discipline, others see it as a social movement, and still others conceive of it as a conglomerate of various disciplines. It is useful initially to identify the medical components of community health, and then to approach its interdisciplinary aspects. Community health, strictly defined, includes such fields as disease control, environmental sanitation, maternal and child care, dental health, nutrition, school health, geriatrics, occupational health, and the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse. This limited definition, though accurate, does not differentiate the field from the much older area of public health. Within community health, the disease focus of traditional public health epidemiology, the total health focus of community medicine, and the outcome focus of health services research are interconnected. Community health combines the public health concern for health issues of defined populations with the preventive therapeutic approach of clinical medicine. An emphasis on personal health care is the result of this combination. Robert Kane describes the field accurately and succinctly: “We envision community medicine as a general organizational framework which draws upon a number of disciplines for its tools. In this sense, it is an applied discipline which adopts the knowledge and skills of other areas in its effort to solve community health problems. The tools described here include community diagnosis (which draws upon such diverse fields as sociology, political science, economics, biostatistics, and epidemiology), epidemiology itself, and health services research (the application of epidemiologic techniques on analyzing the effects of medical care on health).”


Blumenthal, T. (1979), "Community Health Care: A Bibliographic Essay", Collection Building, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 70-97.




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