: Public health awareness existed in the practice of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) long ago. In the process of Shanghai’s modernization and in competition with Western medicine, TCM in Shanghai has gradually accepted the modern public health awareness, fostering its strengths, circumventing its weaknesses and playing an important role in the local public health service. To study the vicissitude of TCM public health awareness at this time will be helpful to further understand the modern history of TCM and also provide useful reference for further participation of TCM in modern public health enterprise. In this paper, the authors used literature analysis and historical research to analyze the medical practice and writings of representative TCM practitioners, medical groups and journals. The results showed that the public health awareness of TCM in Shanghai has evolved from its traditional pattern to the modern pattern seen today; the traditional pattern was characterized by individual health care and some degree of medical collaboration, whereas the modern pattern is characterized by public health education. This process was propelled forward throughout by intense national spirit. TCM has made significant contributions to the local public health service in Shanghai in the late Qing Dynasty, which promoted the modernization of public health awareness of TCM in the People’s Republic of China. The authors also found that one of the ways of modernizing TCM is to diversify the ways of publicizing TCM and make it easily understood, which can shed a new light on promoting the development of TCM.