Security and Public Health

By Dr. Sidel, Victor W.; Dr. Levy, Barry S. | Social Justice, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview

Security and Public Health


Dr. Sidel, Victor W., Dr. Levy, Barry S., Social Justice


Introduction

Freedom from danger. Safety. Freedom from fear or anxiety. Freedom from the prospect of being laid off Measures taken to guard against espionage or sabotage, crime, attack, or escape. These are some components of the standard dictionary definition of "security" (Mish, 1994).

THE WORD "SECURITY" IS EASIER TO DEFINE BY ITS ABSENCE THAN BY ITS PRESENCE. For example, the expressions "Freedom from Fear" and "Freedom from Want," two of the Four Freedoms enunciated by Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, expressed the desire of people for security against fear and want even though the word "security" was not used. Such expression of desire for security, and the use of the word in descriptions of programs like "Social Security" in the United States, generally cast "security" as positive, something that people desire.

However, at times "security" may be viewed as negative. Shakespeare (1605) describes the false sense of security given by the three witches in the advice to Macbeth. Another witch, Hecate, warns that these false feelings of security,

...by the strength of their illusion

Shall draw him on to his confusion.

He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear

His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace and fear;

And you all know security

Is mortals' chiefest enemy.

"Security" is often used to mean prevention of or protection against violent attacks, as in "national security," "homeland security," or "personal security." The word "security," in this sense, is used by those advocating warning systems, alarms, guard dogs, armed guards, and other methods of preventing personal or property intrusion and by those advocating military responses to threats of war and terrorism. This concept of security has been interpreted as security of territory from external aggression, protection of national interests in foreign policy, or "deterrence" of attacks by weapons of mass destruction.

Public health has much to do with security. In fact, a standard definition of public health implies that public health and societal security are inextricably linked. Public health, as defined in the 1988 Institute of Medicine report entitled The Future of Public Health, is what we, as a society collectively, do to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy (Institute of Medicine, 1988). This article explores how public health and security are intertwined and highlights specific aspects of security as they pertain to public health.

In the United States, we have come to expect protection from certain dangers. We expect safe supplies of food and water, safe medical care and safe pharmaceuticals, relatively clean air, safe consumer products, safe neighborhoods, and protections to ensure opportunities to participate in the decisions that affect our lives and those of our families and communities. However, our expectations are not always met. And our whole concept of vulnerability was forever altered on September 11, 2001 (Levy and Sidel, 2002).

It is increasingly evident that the safety and security of people in the United States is closely tied to the safety and security of people elsewhere in the world. In the age of globalization, the failure of economies in Asia affects the economy here in the United States. The development of multiply resistant strains of microorganisms, such as multiple-resistant tubercle bacilli, has global ramifications. Inadequate public health measures to control a localized epidemic of viral hemorrhagic fever in Africa may lead to serious epidemics of fatal, untreatable diseases in the United States. Poverty and social injustice undermine the conditions in which people can be healthy and they reduce political, social, and economic security. Moreover, inadequate measures of security to control weapons of mass destruction - biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons - can have profound adverse consequences for us all. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Security and Public Health
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.