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Rethinking the Meaning of Public Health

Rethinking the Meaning of Public Health Rethinking the Meaning of Public Health Mark A. Rothstein ublic health is a dynamic field. Outbreaks of new more than the absence of illness and disease. Yet the concep- diseases, as well as changing patterns of population tual value of considering the health of a population in light P growth, economic development, and lifestyle trends of a wide array of factors does not necessarily translate into a practical framework for implementing policy The term “pub- all may threaten public health and thus demand a public health response. As the practice of public health evolves, lic health” is a legal term of art, and it refers to specifically there is an ongoing need to reassess its scientific, ethical, delineated powers, duties, rights, and responsibilities. Even legal, and social underpinnings. Such a reappraisal must con- beyond its legal usage, public health applies to specific insti- sider the disagreement among public health officials, public tutions and individuals, such as public health departments health scholars, elected officials, and the public about the and public health officials. proper role of public health and the distinctions, for ex- The “human rights as public health” definition has been ample, between public health and clinical care, and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics SAGE

Rethinking the Meaning of Public Health

The Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics , Volume 30 (2): 6 – Jun 1, 2002

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References (15)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 2002 American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics
ISSN
1073-1105
eISSN
1748-720X
DOI
10.1111/j.1748-720X.2002.tb00381.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Rethinking the Meaning of Public Health Mark A. Rothstein ublic health is a dynamic field. Outbreaks of new more than the absence of illness and disease. Yet the concep- diseases, as well as changing patterns of population tual value of considering the health of a population in light P growth, economic development, and lifestyle trends of a wide array of factors does not necessarily translate into a practical framework for implementing policy The term “pub- all may threaten public health and thus demand a public health response. As the practice of public health evolves, lic health” is a legal term of art, and it refers to specifically there is an ongoing need to reassess its scientific, ethical, delineated powers, duties, rights, and responsibilities. Even legal, and social underpinnings. Such a reappraisal must con- beyond its legal usage, public health applies to specific insti- sider the disagreement among public health officials, public tutions and individuals, such as public health departments health scholars, elected officials, and the public about the and public health officials. proper role of public health and the distinctions, for ex- The “human rights as public health” definition has been ample, between public health and clinical care, and

Journal

The Journal of Law Medicine & EthicsSAGE

Published: Jun 1, 2002

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