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May 12, 1993

Sentinel for Health: A History of the Centers for Disease Control

Author Affiliations

University of Michigan School of Public Health Ann Arbor

JAMA. 1993;269(18):2425-2426. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500180117048

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This lively, informative, and comprehensive history covers in a highly readable way the story of a major innovation in the history of our federal public health service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—CDC. Fitzhugh Mullan's 1989 Plagues and Politics dealt with the US Public Health Service as a whole, but most books over the years, whether fact or fiction, have concentrated on specific diseases or groups of diseases of humankind. Elizabeth Etheridge in this volume reviews a special phenomenon, the birth, growth, and development of a unique organization. By dealing extensively with individual personalities and how each brought a different influence to bear, she brings in a human element that adds interest to the story. Of course, not all the players, nor all readers of this book, will agree with the author's interpretations, but they add spice to the telling.

What is now officially the Public Health Service of