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Cover for The Contested Boundaries of American Public Health (Critical Issues in Health and Medicine)

The Contested Boundaries of American Public Health (Critical Issues in Health and Medicine)

James Colgrove (Editor), Gerald Markowitz (Editor), Professor David Rosner (Editor), Professor Sherry Glied (Contributions by), Beatrix Hoffman (Contributions by), Nancy Tomes (Contributions by), Dennis Scanlon (Contributions by), Marianne Hillemeier (Contributions by), Phil Brown (Contributions by), Marian Moser Jones (Contributions by), William McAllister (Contributions by), Mary Clare Lennon (Contributions by), Isil ¦elimli (Contributions by), Amy Fairchild (Contributions by), Alvin Tarlov (Contributions by), Christopher Nelson (Contributions by), Mark Rosenberg (Contributions by), Jeremy Travis (Contributions by), Nicole Lurie (Contributions by), Jeffrey Wasserman (Contributions by), Ronald Bayer (Contributions by), Gerald Markowitz (Contributions by), Professor David Rosner (Contributions by)


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The role of public health services in America is generally considered to be the reduction of illness, suffering, and death. But what exactly does this mean in practice? At different points in history, professionals in the field have addressed housing reform, education about sex and illegal drugs, hospital and clinic care, gun violence, and even bioterrorism. But there is no agreement about how far public health efforts should go in attempting to modify behaviors seen as lifestyle choices, or whether the field's mandate extends to intervening in broader social and economic conditions.

The authors of the thirteen essays in this book attempt to understand what are, and what should be, the field's chief goals and activities. Drawing on examples that include September 11th, Hurricane Katrina, the anthrax scare, and more, contributors examine the historical evolution of the profession and show how public health is changing in the context of natural and human-made disasters and the politics that surround them.

Rutgers University Press, 9780813543123, 304pp.

Publication Date: April 25, 2008

About the Author

James Colgrove is an assistant professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University.

Gerald E. Markowitz is a distinguished professor of history at John Jay College, City University of New York.

David Rosner is the Ronald Lauterstein professor of sociomedical sciences and history at Columbia University and the codirector of the Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health.