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April 28, 1956


JAMA. 1956;160(17):1450-1453. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960520012004

• The work of the average health department can be divided into two major functions to present the way it works best with the physician; namely, epidemiology and health education.

Epidemiology includes the control of communicable disease, which depends on the interchange of information between physician and health department, the elimination of routes of disease transmission, and the carrying out of such preventive measures as immunization. The health department provides laboratory facilities and other valuable services in this connection.

Health education programs reinforce the efforts of the busy physician to educate his patients and the community at large in accepted preventive health practices. Problems of child health, venereal disease, food handling, and tuberculosis are a few examples of this work.

The practicing physician identifies himself with the local health program in various ways, but especially through the public health committee of the local medical society. In order to have a health department that is an asset to the community and to the profession, the physician must advise, criticize, and participate, both as an individual and as a member of his local medical society.