Track 9: Preventive Medicine

Preventive healthcare

Preventive healthcare, also known as prophylaxis, refers to measures taken to prevent disease. Disease and disability are dynamic processes that begin before people realize they are affected by environmental factors, genetic predisposition, disease agents, and lifestyle choices. Disease prevention is based on anticipatory actions that can be classified as primal, primary, secondary, or tertiary.

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What is preventive medicine, exactly?

Preventive medicine is exactly what it sounds like: it aims to keep illness from occurring in the first place. Preventive medicine is based on the philosophy of protecting, promoting, and maintaining health and well-being. It also aims to prevent disease, disability, and death on an individual as well as community and population levels.

All physicians advocate for preventive medicine, though some choose to specialize in it. Biostatistics and epidemiology, as well as a mix of medical, social, economic, and behavioral sciences, are used by physicians in this specialty. They could assess health-care services or manage health-care organizations. They also investigate the causes of disease and injury in specific populations.

Preventive medicine is a medical specialty and an approach to healthcare that focuses on preventing diseases, injuries, and other health conditions before they occur or progress. The goal is to promote health, prolong life, and improve the quality of life through various strategies, interventions, and public health measures. Preventive medicine encompasses a range of activities, including education, vaccination, screening, lifestyle modifications, and environmental interventions. Here are key components and aspects of preventive medicine:

  1. Primary Prevention:
    • Primary prevention aims to prevent the onset of diseases and health conditions before they occur. This involves interventions such as immunizations, health education, lifestyle modifications, and environmental changes to reduce the risk of developing specific diseases.
  2. Immunizations and Vaccinations:
    • Vaccinations are a crucial aspect of preventive medicine. They protect individuals and communities from infectious diseases by stimulating the immune system to recognize and fight pathogens. Common vaccinations include those for influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, and many others.
  3. Health Education and Promotion:
    • Education initiatives promote healthy behaviors and lifestyle choices. Public health campaigns, school programs, and community outreach efforts aim to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition, physical activity, and the avoidance of tobacco, alcohol, and other risk factors.
  4. Screening and Early Detection:
    • Screening tests are used to detect diseases or conditions in their early stages when they are more treatable or manageable. Examples include mammograms for breast cancer, Pap smears for cervical cancer, and blood pressure checks for hypertension.
  5. Lifestyle Modifications:
    • Encouraging individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles is a key preventive strategy. This includes promoting a balanced diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco use, moderating alcohol consumption, and managing stress.
  6. Environmental and Occupational Health:
    • Preventive medicine addresses environmental factors that can impact health. This includes initiatives to improve air and water quality, reduce exposure to toxins and pollutants, and ensure safe working conditions to prevent occupational hazards.
  7. Genetic Counseling and Testing:
    • For individuals with a family history of certain genetic conditions, genetic counseling and testing can provide information about the risk of developing specific diseases. This allows for proactive measures and personalized preventive strategies.

Many people are curious about what preventive medicine is. Preventive medicine is a medical specialty that focuses on individual and community health. Preventive medicine seeks to promote health and well-being while preventing disease, disability, and death. Preventive medicine specialists must be well-versed in both medical and behavioral, economic, environmental, and social sciences. A preventive medicine doctor can help to build healthier communities, save lives, and transform healthcare systems. If you’re thinking about a career in preventive medicine, consider the following:

  • Do you want to help individuals as well as entire communities?
  • Do you want to help prevent diseases from spreading?
  • Are you socially aware and concerned with the big picture?
  • Are you interested in the health implications of space or deep-sea travel?
  • Do you want to have an impact on how businesses and organizations treat their employees?
  • Do you want to address community, state, or federal health issues?


Preventive medicine is becoming more popular as the importance of preventing or delaying illness and disease is recognised. Communities, corporations, and individuals are promoting healthier lifestyles for reasons other than health. Healthier lifestyles reduce medical costs: it is far less expensive to prevent illness than it is to treat it. Preventive care physicians, like doctors in other medical fields, are an ageing population. As doctors retire, there will be a greater need for preventive care specialists. According to a July 2020 report from the Association of American Medical Colleges, one-third of US physicians are 60 or older, with well over half—57 percent—being over 50.

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Related resources:

  • MD Program
  • Community Affairs
  • AUC Students Screen for Health at Annual Community Fair

Preventive Medicine associations

  • American Medical Association [AMA]
  • Administration on Aging
  • American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology
  • American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
  • American Academy of Dermatology
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Neurology
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
  • American Academy of Pain Medicine

Sub-Tracks Preventive Medicine

  • Abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias
  • Aorta disease and Marfan syndrome
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Coronary artery disease (narrowing of the arteries)
  • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy)
  • Heart valve disease
  • Pericardial disease