The roles of healthcare professionals in implementing clinical prevention and population health

Am J Prev Med. 2011 Feb;40(2):261-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2010.10.023.


Across the health disciplines, clinical prevention and population health activities increasingly are recognized as integral to the practice of their professions. Most of the major clinical health professions organizations have begun incorporating clinical prevention and population health activities and services into educational curricula, the accreditation process, and training to affect clinical practice. Students in each health profession need to understand the roles played by those in other health professions. This understanding is a prerequisite for better communication and collaboration among the professions and for accomplishing the educational objectives included in Healthy People 2020 and organized using the Education for Health framework. To help accomplish these goals, this article summarizes each health profession's contributions to the field of prevention and population health, explains how the profession contributes to interprofessional education or practice, reviews specific challenges faced in the provision of these types of services, and highlights future opportunities to expand the provision of these services. Several general themes emerge from a review of the different health professions' contributions to this area. First, having well-trained prevention and population health professionals outside of the traditional public health field is important because prevention and population health activities occur in almost all healthcare settings. Second, because health professionals work in interprofessional teams in the clinical setting, training and educating all health professionals within interprofessional models would be prudent. Third, in order to expand services, reimbursement for health promotion counseling, preventive medicine, and disease management assistance needs to be appropriate for each of the professions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Health Personnel* / education
  • Healthy People Programs
  • Humans
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Primary Prevention* / education
  • Professional Role*
  • Public Health* / education
  • United States