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September 13, 1985

Why The Carter Center?

Author Affiliations

Chancellor, University of Maryland at Baltimore

JAMA. 1985;254(10):1360. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360100110025

Prevention of disease and the promotion of health are the highest achievement of medicine. Application of the science and principles underlying these concepts will lead to decreased pain, suffering, disability, and premature death. The evidence for this is clear, but, unfortunately, the application does not occur consistently. Hence, the American people experience needless pain, suffering, disability, and premature death. Yet, such simple things as the use of seat belts, sensible eating, not smoking, and moderation in the use of alcohol would benefit literally millions of people. Can anything be done?

In November 1984, I was privileged to cochair, with former President Jimmy Carter, a "consultation" at The Carter Center, located at Emory University. The results of studies indicating the needless deaths from failure to heed prevention principles and practice were clearly and completely related. A variety of topics (violence, digestive diseases, injuries, smoking, and others) were covered, and the data