Public health research, as a function of the public health organization, has a special field, the practical application of existing knowledge to health problems. It is "applied science" rather than "pure science." Its logical scope includes the medical sciences; epidemiology; dental hygiene, control of milk, water and foods; sanitation; vital statistics, and public health education. The most pressing demands on the public health laboratory for research work come, not from the medical branches which are already served by many well equipped agencies of investigation, but rather from the newer and rapidly developing fields which at present are not well provided for.
Past experience indicates that the successful method of creating a research unit in a health department is to build it in the laboratory and extend it to other branches from the laboratory as a nucleus. Unfortunately, most health departments are inadequately equipped for research. Under these conditions, the
TONNEY FO. SUCCESS IN PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCH. JAMA. 1931;97(10):700-702. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02730100024009