[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 1995

Disease Prevention and Health PromotionA Clinical Primer

Author Affiliations

Baltimore, Md

Arch Ophthalmol. 1995;113(4):419-420. doi:10.1001/archopht.1995.01100040033022

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


THIS MONTH, the Archives joins its nine fellow publications of the American Medical Association in addressing the common theme, "Disease Prevention and Health Promotion." For many, the very title is off-putting: some woolly-headed Fabian notion beyond the precise medical paradigm in which we were trained. We are, after all, successors of a long tradition of healers. Preventing illness is someone else's concern, and what is health if not the absence of disease?

In reality, our clinical forebears (of less than a century ago) primarily practiced preventive medicine for the simple reason that there was little they could effectively treat. Life expectancy has nearly doubled over the past 100 years; lest we forget, to our peril, this has largely resulted from the prevention of disease and promotion of health, not from the treatment of disease once it has occurred. Death rates from typhoid and blindness

Rothman SM. Living in the Shadow of Death . New York, NY: Basic Books; 1994.
US Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services: Report of the US Preventive Services Task Force . Washington, DC: US Dept of Health and Human Services; 1989.
Sommer A.  Glaucoma screening: too little, too late? frontiers in disease prevention . J Gen Intern Med . 1990;5( (suppl) ):S33-S37.Article
US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives . Washington, DC: US Dept of Health and Human Services; 1991. DHHS publication (PHS) 91-50213.
Sommer A.  Health (care) reform, managed care, and ophthalmology . Arch Ophthalmol . 1994;112:1417-1418.Article
Javitt JC, Canner JK, Frank RG, Steinwachs DM, Sommer A.  Detecting and treating retinopathy in type-1 diabetes mellitus: a health policy model . Ophthalmology . 1990;97:483-495.Article
McGinnis JM, Foege WH.  Actual causes of death in the United States . JAMA . 1993;270:2207-2212.Article
Javitt JC, McBean AM, Nicholson GA, Babish JD, Warren JL, Krakauer H.  Undertreatment of glaucoma among black Americans . N Engl J Med . 1991;325:1418-1422.Article
Sommer A, Tielsch JM, Katz J, et al.  Racial differences in the cause-specific prevalence of blindness in East Baltimore . N Engl J Med . 1991;325:1412-1417.Article