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Editorial
May 22/29, 2002

Health in America—The Sum of Its Parts

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ.

JAMA. 2002;287(20):2711-2712. doi:10.1001/jama.287.20.2711

The late Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill is often remembered for his observation that "all politics is local." That observation also applies to progress in public health, where priorities, capacity, and results vary widely from place to place. Recently, the anthrax outbreak dramatically underscored shortfalls in the US public health system, the failure to support that system, and the consequences that can follow being caught unprepared for a health emergency. But, just as important, public health is also about the ability of state and local agencies to monitor and attend to the everyday health problems that all Americans face, regardless of where they live.

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