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June 1, 1994

Preventive Medicine and Public Health

Author Affiliations

The Task Force for Child Survival and Development, Atlanta, Ga

JAMA. 1994;271(21):1704-1705. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510450076043

Some things are best seen from a distance. Focusing on the major developments of preventive medicine and public health in the past year forces consideration of hantavirus, national health system reform, tracking systems for immunization, the first month without measles in the history of this country, and the like. However, a deliberate attempt to list the major public health developments of the past quarter century made it clear that one of them happens to be a development of recent years and, in addition, is undervalued or even unrecognized, even in public health circles. What is this and what are some of the other major contributions of the last 25 years?

The first is the attempt to plan a rational public health future for the United States. It began in 1978 with a US Public Health Service effort to develop objectives for the year 1990.1 The effort began in meetings

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