Physicians have always played leading roles in the initiation and development of public health work. Together with collaborating scientists they have contributed most of the scientific discoveries which have made the prevention of disease possible, and in cooperation with other public spirited citizens they have fostered movements to have these scientific developments incorporated into public practice. As a result, it has frequently been said that the medical profession, unlike any other professional group, has initiated and supported activities the object of which is to make its own services unnecessary.
By virtue of their training, physicians have occupied most of the positions of major responsibility in the field of public health work. Some of these have long been career positions on a full-time basis, but the majority of physicians engaged in public health work have been on a part-time basis and have had to depend primarily on the private practice of
DIEHL HS. MEDICAL CAREERS IN PUBLIC HEALTHCHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS. JAMA. 1940;115(5):343–345. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810310001001