Magazine article The Nation's Health

Come Together to Build New Vision for Public Health and Prevention

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Come Together to Build New Vision for Public Health and Prevention

Article excerpt

DURING a recent visit to one of APHA's affiliated state and regional public health associations, I was asked what I thought was today's greatest hazard to health. Dozens of topics flooded my mind, from HIV/AIDS to obesity, but instead of narrowing down to a single issue, I wanted to lift up an underlying threat or prime mover. Considering the menu of possible answers--such as racism, economic inequity or lack of education--I decided to talk about our lack, as a nation, of a culture of health.

During the past 20 years of my travels to Washington, D.C., I have been struck by the depth of understanding on health issues that nearly all of the taxicab drivers I encounter seem to have. The day health reform legislation passed I was in D.C., and found that every cabbie had an opinion, and a remarkably detailed analysis compared to the pablum I was hearing every day on the news. The drivers ranged from wildly enthusiastic to supportive but cautious.

But this does not just happen in D.C. I recall a long cab ride in Mexico City in 2004 that featured an in-depth discussion with my driver about the international health implications of a second George W. Bush presidency. And a visit to study black infant mortality in Cuba when I was having my visa checked by the "migracion" officer who asked me what kind of doctor I was; when I told him public health, he said, "oh yes, you save women and children." I also remember my airport shuttle driver in Oakland, Calif., who engaged me in a discussion about school food and its tie to his children.

Anecdotal as these remembrances may be, all of these conversations were about the "big health" perspective and all of the individuals engaging me in these conversations had lived most of their lives outside of America. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.