Prevention and health promotion are broad and far-reaching concepts in the health field. They involve both clinical and public health concerns, although with somewhat different scopes. Prevention activities are focused on illness, as they attempt to preempt its emergence, identify it as early as possible and minimize its disabling consequences. Health promotion is focused on the positive aspects of health and involves the participation of a broad range of health and social professionals as well as, prominently, of the individuals themselves.
Within the framework of the clinical field, namely that of professionals who help individuals presenting disorders or health problems, diagnosis is one of the most central concepts. Clinical diagnosis, however, does not need to be restricted to identifying, describing and differentiating disorders, but it may also usefully cover the context of illness and the positive aspects of the individual's health. An internationally emerging model of diagnosis encompasses a contextualized and standardized formulation of the patient's overall clinical condition, as well as an idiographic or personalized formulation. The major purposes of our paper are to outline evolving perpectives on diagnosis, prevention and health promotion, and then to articulate the relevance of comprehensive diagnosis, an iminently clinical concept, to key public health activities.
J.E. Mezzlich, MD, PhD (1), M.M. Schmolke (2)
(1) Professor of Psychiatry and Director,
International Center for Mental Health,
Mount Sinai School of Medecine, City University of New York
(2) Clinical Psychologist,
Dynamisch-Psychiatrishe Klinik Menterschwaige, Munich