The Public's Health: Police and the Public's Health | Public Health Post

Police work is community work. Performed on the street, in public settings and private homes, police work shapes the health context of cities and neighborhoods, and affects the lives and behaviors of countless citizens. While there has been much concern in recent years—appropriately—about how some police activity has harmed health, particularly among minority communities, it is worth focusing on the potential for police work to improve the health of the public.
Most police interaction with the public does not involve major crimes or violence that requires arrest or use of force. Police beat work is filled with low intensity interactions in which officers serve as problem‐solvers. We think of this as public health work; police are one of the forces that generate health in many places.  

The Public's Health: In Social Media We Trust | Public Health Post

We have grown accustomed to social media reading our thoughts. One day we are using Facebook to exchange notes about an upcoming wedding invitation, and the next day Facebook ads highlight discounts on potential wedding gifts. We post photos of a new item of clothing on Instagram and next we are receiving ads from the newest crop of design stars.
Of course our social media apps are not reading our thoughts—they are reading our photos, shopping patterns, and the actual words we write in our emails and posts. We have come to think of this type of targeted advertising as unremarkable, even as, in recent years, we have become aware of the potential havoc this type of micro-targeting can wreak on our democratic process.

The Public's Health: The Illusion of Clinical Success | Public Health Post

As doctors we have both had our fair share of patient success stories. A patient presents herself to our office or emergency room with a problem, we diagnose it, prescribe treatment, and the patient gets better. We can remember Lois who presented with vomiting, whom we diagnosed with gastroenteritis, treated and restored to health two weeks later. And Emmanuel who came to the emergency department with a cut on his forehead because he fell down the stairs. He was sutured up and the cut healed nicely. All clinicians have these stories. They are the reason why many of us went to medical school, to heal people, to make them better.

The Public's Health: Vaccines and Conspiracies | Public Health Post

Near the end of 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data made clear that a small but increasing number of children in the United States were not getting recommended vaccinations. One in 77 infants born in 2017 did not receive any vaccinations; that’s more than four times as many unvaccinated children as we had at the turn of the century. Some of this may be due to lack of access as those without insurance and those living in rural areas have greater rates of non-vaccination. But part of it may be due to the dismissal of science and scientific evidence, the rising conspiracism in America and its move into the White House.

Ahead of Martin Luther King Day, Remembering That Health Is Impossible Without Justice | Fortune


Last month, President Trump signed into law the First Step Act, bipartisan legislation aimed at reforming the criminal justice system. Among other reforms, the Act increases the number of “good time” credits inmates can earn and apply towards a reduced sentence, modifies the “three strikes” rule so people with three or more convictions are automatically given 25 years in prison instead of life, and makes it easier for judges to opt out of delivering mandatory minimum sentences.

While the reach of these reforms is relatively modest, affecting only federal prison inmates—nearly 180,000 of the total incarcerated population of about2.2 million—the Act is nevertheless a step in the right direction. It points towards a justice system that is more what it was always supposed to be: just. It also points towards better health. Mass incarceration is a significant public health challenge in the US.

Read the full piece at Fortune.

The Public's Health: Treating Laura | Public Health Post

Laura is a 42-year-old woman who comes to see her primary physician. She is about 40 pounds overweight and has progressively worsening and painful osteoarthritis in her left knee. She has asthma, which keeps her out of work at least one day a month.
This is not an unusual presentation to any primary physician’s office. Her physician will look after Laura, prescribing inhaled steroids for her asthma, recommending weight loss through better diet and exercise, and prescribing anti-inflammatories for her painful arthritis until she gets to a point where she needs more or different medications, and later a knee replacement.  
And there is nothing wrong with treating Laura in this way: it is in fact good care by a responsible clinician. But why is Laura, at 42, overweight, and why has she long had asthma attacks?

Public Health Means Mental Health | Dean's Note

The World Health Organization defineshealth as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Over the years, public health has made great strides towards improving the health of populations, yet many key health achievements—from vaccination, to better sanitary conditions, to improved traffic safety—have been in the area of physical health alone. Too often, mental health, and the prevention of mental illness, has been an underappreciated public health challenge. At SPH, we have worked to correct this, by doing our part to elevate mental health to the same level of attention as physical health. We are, for example, one of the few schools of public health to offer a certificate in mental health and substance use. Mental health is truly a “first principle” of public health. Simply put, we must apply to the conditions that shape mental health the same population health approach we currently apply to the drivers of physical health. We cannot be healthy if we do not address these conditions, and the stigma that can prevent an honest discussion about mental illness.

University leaders must engage with public debate | Times Higher Education

When Dwight Eisenhower began his tenure as president of Columbia University in 1948, he was immediately thrust into a controversy. The university had appointed renowned scholar Manfred Kridl as an endowed chair for the study of Polish language and literature. The position was funded by the Polish government, but the Polish-American Congress claimed that it was part of a Russian “academic infiltration” campaign and demanded that the funding be rejected.

Eisenhower was new to academia, but did not shy away from the public debate. He stood squarely in defence of academic freedom, saying at his inauguration that “there will be no administrative suppression or distortion of any subject that merits a place in this university’s curriculum. The facts of communism, for example, shall be taught here…no intellectual iron curtain shall screen students from disturbing facts.”