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PubMed for Public Health

Using the Healthy People 2020 objectives pre-formulated searches

If your research topic is related to the Healthy People 2020 objectives you will be able to use pre-formulated search strategies for select Healthy People 2020 focus areas. These easy to use search strategies allow you to search PubMed’s 11 million citations with just one click. This tool is part of a pilot project funded by the National Library of Medicine, with assistance from the Public Health Foundation and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

Follow these steps to use the pre-formulated search strategies: 

  • go to the PubMed database
  • click on Topic Specific Queries under PubMed Tools
  • click “Healthy People 2020” 
  • select the topic area of interest
  • scan the list of objectives to locate your objective of interest (note, searches are not currently available for all objectives)
  • click the PubMed Search button to the left of the icon.
Take a look at this brief video that uses the Healthy People 2020 pre-formulated searches to locate research on Healthy People 2020 Objective D-14: "Increase the proportion of persons with diagnosed diabetes who receive formal diabetes education." This video also demonstrates how to apply limits based on date of publication and language.


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Using Medical Subject Headings

Public Health related research can also be found using PubMed's Medical Subject Headings (MeSH). MeSH is PubMed’s controlled vocabulary, and using these subject headings can help you create a more focused search. Relevant MeSH terms include: 
To execute a search using any of these MeSH terms, simply click "Add to Search Builder," and then "Search PubMed." You can also combine MeSH term, or use MeSH subheadings  to further focus your search. For example, you might want to combine a MeSH term related to public health with a MeSH term for a condition or disease, and the use the disease's "prevention and control" or "epidemiology" subheadings. 

Watch this brief video on how to use MeSH to find articles about obesity and public health practice using the prevention and control subheading, and how to apply date and language limits to your search results.

Other Tools

For further assistance using PubMed, and other library resources, to find public health information, take a look at our Nursing and Health Sciences Research and Database Guides or contact a librarian