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October 19, 1984

The Administration of a Public Health Agency: A Case Study of the New York City Department of Health

Author Affiliations

Seattle-King (Wash) County Department of Public Health

JAMA. 1984;252(15):2074-2075. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350150068032

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The New York City Commissioner of Health has one of the toughest public health jobs in the United States. Reading about the experience of the commissioner and the New York City Department of Health can be useful for public health professionals in large cities everywhere.

The author worked with the department during the 1970s and served as commissioner from 1977 to 1978. Because of remarkable social, political, and economic changes that occurred between the middle 1960s and 1980, he and the department had notable experience. However, experience, according to Aldous Huxley, "is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you." The Administration of a Public Health Agency reports events that have affected the Department of Health, but describes regrettably little about the experience stimulated by the events.

The contents of the book fit into two categories: the evolution of organized public health activities