Preventive medicine

Preventive medicine

Preventive medicine, branch of medicine dealing with the prevention of disease and the maintenance of good health practices. Originally, preventive medicine was largely concerned with understanding and preventing infectious disease. Today, however, its scope has widened. The aim of preventive medicine is to preserve good health; to prevent disease, injury, and disability; and to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment of illness.

How to become a preventive medicine specialist

Preventive medicine has become a very diverse and challenging medical specialty. Preventive medicine physicians are trained in the sciences of epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental and occupational health services, administration, as well as clinical prevention. They are uniquely qualified to work with both individuals and the community to promote health and prevent disease, initiating programs in infectious disease prevention and control, sexually transmitted diseases, and in chronic disease prevention. They use scientific methods to identify health hazards in the workplace and work to prevent occupational illness and injury.

Nature of the work

A preventive medicine specialist focuses on the health of individuals and defined populations in order to protect, promote and maintain health and well-being, and to prevent disease, disability, and premature death. Physicians practicing in the field of preventive medicine most often specialize in aerospace medicine, occupational medicine or public health and general preventive medicine.

Aerospace Medicine: focuses on the health of a population group consisting of the operating crews and passengers of air and space vehicles.

Occupational Medicine: focuses on the relationships among the health of workers; the arrangements of work; and the physical, chemical, and social environments of the workplace.

Public Health and General Preventive Medicine: deals with the health promotion and disease prevention in communities and in defined populations.


The annual salary for preventive medicine specialists ranges from $84,500 to $206,000.