may be defined as the process through which collective goals in a community are pursued,
and appropriate means to accomplish these goals are resolved systematically. Public health
(PH) activities and policies are a subset of this social choice process which supposedly
consists of a series of systematic steps, phrases, or stages. These planning phrases,
stages, or steps typically include or result in the design and formation of certain
administrative structures of PH at various government levels.
It is through and by these
administrative structures and contexts that a community is to fulfill its PH goals and
mission. That is, it is social choice that determines the type of PH activities, policies,
and regulations to be adopted, which in turn determines the type of administrative
structures to be formed to carry out the community’s PH goals and mission. It is
important to note that while society’s interest in PH can be more global and maybe even
abstract, its social choice is resource-limited and often times either quite culture-bound
or very political in nature.