Preventive medicine is a medical specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), which focuses on the health of individuals and communities. The goal of preventive medicine is to promote health and well-being and prevent disease, disability and death.
Preventive medicine specialists are licensed medical doctors (MD) or doctors of osteopathy (DO) who possess expertise in a broad range of health care skills, including biostatistics, epidemiology, planning and evaluation of health services, management of health care organizations, research, and the practice of prevention in clinical settings. They apply their knowledge and skills in medicine, social, economic, and behavioral sciences to improve the health and quality of life of individuals, families, communities and populations through disease prevention and health promotion.
Preventive medicine has three sub-specialty areas: public health and general preventive medicine, occupational medicine, and aerospace medicine.
Public Health and General Preventive Medicine
Public health and general preventive medicine focuses on promoting health and preventing disease in individuals and communities. Practitioners combine skills and experience in clinical care and public health to support health systems transformation and build a healthcare system that is based on the prevention of disease, injury and death. Practitioners work for corporations, in primary care, public health departments, government agencies, and other settings to impact healthcare delivery and health outcomes at the individual, practice, community and population levels.
Occupational medicine focuses on the physical and mental health of workers by seeking to improve the physical, structural and social conditions of the workplace. Practitioners work with small business and large corporations to design employee health plans, improve workplace safety in hazardous environments, and promote health and quality of life in the workforce.
Aerospace medicine focuses on the health, safety and performance of crewmembers and passengers of air and space vehicles, working closely with support personnel who assist in their operation. Practitioners often live and work in remote locations and extreme environments under conditions of physical and psychological stress. Practitioners strive to promote health in settings with many unique hazards not found in other work environments.