Sociology and the Field of Public Health

Sociology and the Field of Public Health

Sociology and the Field of Public Health

Sociology and the Field of Public Health

Excerpt

The present work is the fifth in a series of bulletins on the applications of sociology to various fields of professional practice prepared under the joint sponsorship of the American Sociological Association and Russell Sage Foundation. Previous bulletins have dealt with applications of sociology in the fields of corrections, mental health, education, and military organization.

As Dr. Suchman points out, there is a natural convergence of research interests in public health and sociology that has been evident for some time. This convergence has become much more visible with the mastering of the major contagious diseases and the growing concern with the chronic diseases. When contagious diseases were the major threats to the health of the community, cultural, social-structural, and social-psychological factors, while recognized as certainly present, appeared less strategic than the more specific causal factors as foci of preventive effort. With the rise of the chronic diseases as the major health concerns, the social processes that are the objects of sociological theory and research loom large as strategic elements in control and prevention. What is more, these factors are crucial in the formulation of the programs that must necessarily depend heavily on the intelligent participation by the community whose health needs are to be met.

Dr. Suchman has performed an important service in his clear delineation of the great potential sociology and related disciplines have for sharpening our understanding of the social factors in health and disease, for intelligent planning and mounting of appropriate action programs, and for improving the organizational structure and institutional mechanisms of the health professions themselves.

To this illuminating discussion he has added a perceptive analysis of the problems of cross-disciplinary collaboration between . . .

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