[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 26, 2010

Retooling the Uniformed US Public Health Service for the 21st Century

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Health Policy and Preparedness, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Arlington, Virginia (Dr Donahue); University of Pittsburgh Center for National Preparedness, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Dr Donahue); 17th Surgeon General of the United States, 2002-2006 (Dr Carmona); and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson (Dr Carmona).

JAMA. 2010;303(20):2080-2081. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.673

The history of public health in the United States is marked by great advances interspersed with periods of benign neglect—eras of maintaining the status quo ended by a significant epidemiological event. Cholera, tuberculosis, plague, polio, and malaria have catalyzed significant advances in public health. These problems are now largely banished from the US landscape, but not from the global perspective. In developing countries, millions of individuals die annually from largely preventable or treatable diseases. Some of these diseases could be transported to developed countries in a new form.