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Center for Law and the Public’s Health


Report of the Sanitary Commission of Massachusetts
In 1849, Massachusetts appointed teacher Lemuel Shattuck, Nathaniel Banks, Jr., and Jehiel Abbott to draft a report on public health conditions in the Commonwealth. Their report asserted that a significant proportion of morbidity and mortality is wholly preventable and that prevention disease will save more lives than finding a cure. When republished in 1948, C.E.A. Winslow noted in the forward that the Shattuck Report is "one of the most remarkable documents — perhaps the most significant single document — in the history of public health.” The link above will take you to a full-text version prepared by Delta Omega, a public health honor society.

  On the Mode of Communication of Cholera
The Broad Street pump incident is one of the most told case studies in public health. In 1854, an outbreak of cholera swept through a district in London. Within 250 yards of the intersection of Cambridge and Broad Streets, over 500 people died from the disease within a 10-day period. Physician John Snow, using epidemiological methods, traced the source of the outbreak to a single water pump on Broad Street. To stop the disease from spreading, the pump handle was removed – an enduring reminder of the preventative power of simple interventions. The John Snow pub, located near the original pump site in London, claims to possess the original pump handle. The Broad Street pump and Snow’s other cholera-related findings are presented in On the Mode of Communication of Cholera. The link above will take you to a full-text version prepared by Delta Omega, a public health honor society. Also of interest is the UCLA School of Public Health’s multimedia web site devoted to Snow and his work.


The Future of the Public’s Health in the 21st Century
Released in November 2002, this report by the Institute of Medicine considers the state of public health in light of the nearly 15 years of significant events that have transpired since the Institute last considered the subject. This influential report outlines the achievements, challenges, and future directions of public health in the United States. An executive summary of the report is also available.


  Healthy People 2010
Healthy People (1979)
In 1979, the Surgeon General published Healthy People, a report discussing the health status of the American people and outlined a series of prevention-based health objectives. Since then the Healthy People program has expanded considerably and has produced Healthy People 2000 and Healthy People 2010. The Healthy People 2010 web site contains a wealth of information about the nation’s health in the 21st century. The Healthy People 2010 report, which outlines 467 health objectives to be met by 2010, and related publication are also available in a variety of formats. Also on the site are descriptions and links to many of the 190 public health data sources used to track progress toward the objectives. In addition, the 2000 report and bound copies of most Healthy People documents may be purchased from the publications page.

  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the federal government’s top public health agency. Comprised of 12 offices, centers, and institutes, the CDC addresses a diverse array of health topics ranging from HIV and infectious diseases to violence prevention. The CDC publishes a variety of documents, including Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and Emerging Infectious Diseases. Also of interest are WONDER, a one-stop source for public health data, and WISQARS, a web interface to a variety of injury related statistics and cause-of-death information. In addition, the CDC maintains a sizable collection of public health photographs and historical images in its Public Health Image Library. Their recently published report, Health, United States, 2002, provides a wealth of data on epidemiology, health economics, and resource utilization.

  World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the public health agency of the United Nations and administers a variety of programs to promote health and prevent injury and disease in both developed and developing nations. Among WHO’s current projects are the eradication of polio and the negotiation of an international tobacco control treaty. The Pan American Health Organization is WHO’s regional office for the Americas.


American Public Health Organization
Association of Schools of Public Health
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
National Association of County and City Health Officials

The Center for Law and the Public’s Health web site maintains an extensive list of international organizations, federal agencies, state and local agencies, and academic institutions.






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