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Who We Are

About Public Health Nursing

Public health nursing is the practice of promoting and protecting the health of populations using knowledge from nursing and social and public health sciences.

Public health nurses are directly engaged in the core public health functions of assessment, assurance and policy development. In any setting, the role of public health nurses focuses on promoting health, maintaining of the health of populations and preventing illness, injury or disability.

Public health nurses interpret and articulate the health and illness experiences of diverse and often vulnerable residents to health planners and policymakers as well as assist members of the community in talking about their problems and aspirations. Evidence and data drive the practice of public health nurses, who translate knowledge from the health and social sciences to individuals and population groups through direct care, programs and advocacy. 


Public health nursing leads the way in building healthy communities, achieving health equity and social justice and improving quality of life for all communities. 

Mission Statement

Public health nurses advance the health of the population in partnership with the community through evidence-based practice, education and research. Serving as a national voice for public health nurses, the APHA Public Health Nursing Section:

  • provides a national forum for nurses to discuss and exchange ideas and knowledge;
  • facilitates research on matters related to public health and nursing;
  • plans and coordinates activities with other APHA Sections to achieve organizational goals;
  • serves as a repository for public health nursing history and traditions;
  • promotes the inclusion of public health nurses in all deliberations about health policy and research in which nurses have expertise, interest and a unique perspective to contribute;
  • fosters the personal and professional development of members through advocacy training and policy development;
  • serves as an advocate for populations at risk and in need of health and related services; and
  • advocates for health for all by promoting of a broad view of health and forming partnerships across multiple sectors.

Strategic Priorities

Public Health Nursing Section strategic priorities:

  • Ensure social justice and eliminate health disparities.
  • Strengthen the public health workforce.
  • Actively engage students.
  • Promote environmental health.