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June 25, 1997

The People's Health: A Memoir of Public Health and Its Evolution at Harvard

Author Affiliations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Ga

JAMA. 1997;277(24):1979. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540480079044

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Harvard School of Public Health, freelance writer Robin Marantz Henig has written a book describing the school's contribution to the health of the nation and the world. Ms Henig concentrates on the school's last half century, picking up where a 1970 book by Jean Alonzo Curran left off.1 The author states that the current book's "goal is to answer for the general reader that first and most important question: What is public health?"

The author chronicles major public health issues of the past 50 years by telling stories, often in the words of the public health professionals who confronted the problems. The author organizes the book to reflect the evolution of public health in the United States. She begins with the "biological environment," covering malaria, polio, smallpox, the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, and other infectious diseases. The next section examines occupational and environmental health