When better surveillance confounds public health statistics

In public health and epidemiology settings, ‘surveillance’ refers not to sinister and intrusive monitoring of the population, but keeping records on trends in health. Some infectious diseases, for example, are subject to mandatory reporting, so public health agencies can follow their rise and fall over the course of time to determine if education, treatment, and […]

A failure of public health: The resurgence of HCV and HIV

As the United States is collectively gripped by the reappearance of measles and other childhood diseases caused by poor vaccination rates — a direct consequence of disinformation campaigns aimed at a population that seeks ready opportunities to fear and distrust the medical community — there’s another issue currently flickering in the background that’s likely to […]

Why needle exchanges matter

The United States has a relationship with addiction and treatment that is simultaneously frustrating, narrow-minded, self-defeating, and regressive. Unlike almost every other nation in the West, we lack a comprehensive approach to handling addiction with respect and compassion, and it, along with the failing war on drugs, costs the nation millions a year. The United […]

Smart, Targeted Public Health

One of the biggest challenges in US public health is that this is a huge nation, with numerous regional and demographic public health challenges. It’s not possible to locate easy, one size fits all solutions to public health issues, and relying on standardized practices inevitably leaves people in the dust. Troublingly, because the practice of […]

Bigotry and Public Health

This has been a big year for stigmatisation and criminalisation of queer communities across the globe, perhaps most notably in Russia, where this summer a vicious anti-gay law stirred up angry sentiments and led to anti-gay vigilante groups, hate crimes, and a variety of social problems. Jamaica, likewise, experienced an uptick in anti-queer hate crime, […]

Gather ’round the Broad Street Pump: Poverty and Public Policy

In 1854, cholera flashed across London in a vicious wave, following a series of outbreaks that had claimed lives, disrupted households, and shaken society. The germ theory of disease hadn’t been developed yet, and there was much speculation on how cholera was spreading. Much of that speculation involved now-laughably unscientific concepts like ‘miasmas’ as well […]