What is the overall context within which public health is operating? What has been happening to the health of the public? ‘Current challenges’ considers the many challenges facing public health and how it operates at local, national, and global levels. It examines the current range of public health activities by first considering the ideology and tactics of public health, followed by public health personnel and professions, and then the institutions and state locations of public health. The daunting challenges facing public health have presented political choices and dilemmas. Public health strategies have also developed to deal with the issues, including a sizeable research community developing in many countries alongside the professional workforce.