Philadelphia—While last fall's anthrax mail attacks laid bare significant deficiencies in the US public health system, those in the know have long realized that problems were brewing. A 1988 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that "the governmental public health infrastructure is in disarray." Fourteen years later, a broader report—which tackles public health players both inside the government and out—reaches much the same conclusion.
"Public health . . . is taken for granted and the system continues to be in disarray," said Jo Ivey Boufford, MD, dean of the Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and cochair of the committee that issued the new IOM study. "Especially disturbing is the continued failure to have a consistent investment plan."
Vastag B. IOM Public Health Report Urges Massive Change. JAMA. 2002;288(22):2807-2808. doi:10.1001/jama.288.22.2807