Public health officials contributed to the early 20thcentury campaign against Mexicans and Filipinos in Los Angeles. In 1914, the newly established city and county health departments confronted the overwhelming task of building a public health infrastructure for a rapidly growing population spread over a large area. However, for several years public health reports focused almost exclusively on the various infectious diseases associated with Mexican immigrants.
Afghanistan’s health system is severely limited in terms of preventive and curative services, referral systems, and human resources. Most of the country’s citizens reside in rural areas, a majority of which are served by “basic health units” (small and simple facilities that provide primary care), and these rural residents face additional challenges regarding timely access to quality health care.
We explored the perspectives and experiences of low-income, predominantly African American families regarding children’s school-readiness. Our research, which involved qualitative interviews, ethnographic case studies, and “photovoice” methods, focused on families participating in the national evaluation of Early Head Start. While valuing academic skills, study parents emphasized the importance of social and emotional health in regard to both children’s and parents’ readiness to begin school. These developments are especially critical given the challenges parents perceive in local school environments. On the basis of a social ecology framework, we argue that psychological and environmental dimensions of school-readiness are public health matters and that understanding the perspectives of low-income and minority parents on such issues is a critical aspect of health communication dedicated to eliminating health disparities.
Advertising has a dual function for British public health. Control or prohibition of mass advertising detrimental to health is a central objective for public health in Britain. Use of mass advertising has also been a more general public health strategy, such as during the initial government responses to HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.
American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) children are disproportionately affected by oral disease compared with the general population of American children. Additionally, AIAN children have limited access to professional oral health care. The Indian Health Service (IHS) and AIAN tribal leaders face a significant problem in ensuring care for the oral health of these children.
The growing use of social science constructs in public health invites reflection on how public health researchers translate, that is, appropriate and reshape, constructs from the social sciences. To assess how 1 recently popular construct has been translated into public health research, we conducted a citation network and content analysis of public health articles on the topic of social capital.
Global trade and international trade agreements have transformed the capacity of governments to monitor and to protect public health, to regulate occupational and environmental health conditions and food products, and to ensure affordable access to medications. Proposals under negotiation for the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the regional Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement cover a wide range of health services, health facilities, clinician licensing, water and sanitation services, and tobacco and alcohol distribution services.
Public sector health systems that provide services to poor and marginalized populations in developing countries face great challenges. Change associated with health sector reform and structural adjustment often leaves these already-strained institutions with fewer resources and insufficient capacity to relieve health burdens.
Harm reduction strategies involve promoting a product that has adverse health consequences as a substitute for one that has more severe adverse health consequences. Smokeless tobacco low in nitrosamine content offers potential benefits in reducing smoking prevalence rates. Possible harm arises from the potential for such products to serve as a gateway to more harmful tobacco products, public misinterpretation of “less harmful” as “safe,” distraction from the public health goal of tobacco elimination, and ethical issues involved in advising those marketing these harmful products. We offer a research agenda to provide a stronger basis for evaluating the risks and benefits of smokeless tobacco as a means of reducing the adverse health effects of tobacco.
During the American occupation of Japan (1945–1952), young public health officers from the US Army Medical Corps were posted in local US Army military government teams. These young doctors (aged 25 to 27 years), who had not absorbed the strong anti-Japanese tradition of the US military during World War II, seem to have alleviated the initial resentment felt by the Japanese toward the new governors of their homeland. The case of the Kyoto Military Government Team illustrates the Kyoto citizenry’s positive view of some American-directed public health measures. The team’s services helped to counter widely held negative views on colonialism, occupation, and public health; lessened resentment toward the unilateral command structure of the occupation forces; and contributed to improved relations between the United States and Japan at the local level.
The challenges facing efforts in Africa to increase access to antiretroviral HIV treatment underscore the urgent need to strengthen national health systems across the continent. However, donor aid to developing countries continues to be disproportionately channeled to international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) rather than to ministries of health. The rapid proliferation of NGOs has provoked “brain drain” from the public sector by luring workers away with higher salaries, fragmentation of services, and increased management burdens for local authorities in many countries. Projects by NGOs sometimes can undermine the strengthening of public primary health care systems. We argue for a return to a public focus for donor aid, and for NGOs to adopt a code of conduct that establishes standards and best practices for NGO relationships with public sector health systems.
Annual influenza vaccination for health care workers has the potential to benefit health care professionals, their patients, and their families by reducing the transmission of influenza in the health care setting. Furthermore, staff vaccination programs are cost-effective for health care institutions because of reduced staff illness and absenteeism.
In the United States, Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Thus, there is a need to understand the challenges facing health departments and community-based organizations responding to the HIV epidemic among this population. We interviewed 71 AIDS program directors, health department staff, and leaders of community-based organizations in 9 states and the District of Columbia. Participants identified psychosocial factors, a lack of capacity-building efforts, and stigma as barriers to HIV prevention responses targeting Black MSM. Participants identified culturally competent staff and culturally sensitive interventions as facilitating prevention responses. To ensure that HIV/AIDS interventions targeting Black MSM are effective, it is imperative to solicit the perceptions of frontline workers in health departments and community-based organizations.
Researchers have posited that social ties and social support may contribute to better-than-expected health outcomes among Mexican immigrants vis-à-vis their US-born counterparts. However, in our review of studies examining social ties and health by immigration-related variables among this group, we found little support for this hypothesis. To better understand the social factors that contribute to the health of Mexicans in the United States, we conducted a qualitative analysis of social relationships and social context among first- and second-generation Mexican women. Our results highlight the interplay between immigration processes and social ties, draw attention to the importance of identity support and transnational social relationships, and suggest ways to reconceptualize the relationship between social contexts, social ties, and immigrant and Latino health.
Current theoretical approaches to bioethics and public health ethics propose varied justifications as the basis for health care and public health, yet none captures a fundamental reality: people seek good health and the ability to pursue it. Existing models do not effectively address these twin goals.
Faculty members of schools of public health contribute to better health largely through their teaching, research, and community service roles. We suggest attention to another role: exerting their influence to ensure effective public health policy.
This review explores the relationship between engagement with the creative arts and health outcomes, specifically the health effects of music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing. Although there is evidence that art-based interventions are effective in reducing adverse physiological and psychological outcomes, the extent to which these interventions enhance health status is largely unknown. Our hope is to establish a foundation for continued investigation into this subject and to generate further interest in researching the complexities of engagement with the arts and health.
This article describes the development since 2000 of the State Public Health Laboratory System in the United States. These state systems collectively are related to several other recent public health laboratory (PHL) initiatives. The first is the Core Functions and Capabilities of State Public Health Laboratories, a white paper that defined the basic responsibilities of the state PHL. Another is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Laboratory System (NLS) initiative, the goal of which is to promote public-private collaboration to assure quality laboratory services and public health surveillance.
There have been increasing calls for community–academic partnerships to enhance the capacity of partners to engage in policy advocacy aimed at eliminating health disparities. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a partnership approach that can facilitate capacity building and policy change through equitable engagement of diverse partners. Toward this end, the Detroit Community–Academic Urban Research Center, a long-standing CBPR partnership, has conducted a policy training project. We describe CBPR and its relevance to health disparities; the interface between CBPR, policy advocacy, and health disparities; the rationale for capacity building to foster policy advocacy; and the process and outcomes of our policy advocacy training. We discuss lessons learned and implications for CBPR and policy advocacy to eliminate health disparities.
Complex systems approaches have received increasing attention in public health because reductionist approaches yield limited insights in the context of dynamic systems. Most discussions have been highly abstract. There is a need to consider the application of complex systems approaches to specific research questions. I review the features of population health problems for which complex systems approaches are most likely to yield new insights, and discuss possible applications of complex systems to health disparities research. I provide illustrative examples of how complex systems approaches may help address unanswered and persistent questions regarding genetic factors, life course processes, place effects, and the impact of upstream policies. The concepts and methods of complex systems may help researchers move beyond current impasse points in health disparities research.