June 1974

Infant Death: An Analysis by Maternal Risk and Health Care, vol 1 of Contrasts in Health Status.

Author Affiliations

Division of Epidemiology Columbia University of Public Health 600 W 168th St New York, NY 10032


By David Kessner, MD, James Singer, Carolyn E Kalk, Edward R Schlesinger, MD. Price, $6. Pp 203. Institute of Medicine National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, 1973.

Am J Dis Child. 1974;127(6):914. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110250140032

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One begins this widely heralded study (it received lengthly initial notice in the New York Times) with some skepticism, but much hope. Investigators of high competence have been associated with the work; the sponsoring group, the Panel on Health Services Research of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and the study's principal consultants, are a Who's Who of scientific investigation in American public health; the foreword by Robert Coles, MD, one of the most humane and felicitous writers among contemporary physicians, sustains the mood of hope; and the message of the piece is a siren song for those of us committed to equitable distribution of effective health care, especially in these times, what with our national government seemingly deaf to privation, and opposed to social action for its amelioration.

The message is simple: health care matters. Women who receive adequate prenatal care have infants with lower

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