Key Concepts in Public Health identifies fifty key concepts used across the discipline of public health in order to give the reader a broad perspective of the core topics relevant to training and practice. From epidemiology to health promotion, and ethics to leadership, the book offers an exciting guide to the multiprofessional field. Each entry features a snapshot definition of the concept, a broader discussion addressing the main issues and links to practice, key points relevant to the entry, case studies to illustrate the application to practice, and examples of further reading.


JanHardy, and TinaBarrows


The term vulnerable can mean different things to different people. Originally it was derived from the Latin verb vulnerare which means to wound (Aday, 1993). A review of health literature reveals how often the term ‘vulnerability’ appears in text, yet there is no comprehensive consensus on the precise definition, which leaves it open to individual interpretation and consequently makes application to practice problematic (Costello and Haggart, 2003).

Key Points

  • Vulnerability is dependent upon an individual's internal and external factors.
  • Vulnerability can be demonstrated within a lifecycle continuum.
  • Vulnerability is closely linked with the concept of risk and susceptibility.


Vulnerability is not an unusual phenomenon; there are times in our lives when we all feel vulnerable, whether through illness or injury (Sellman, 2005) or in situations that allow ...

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