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November 2015

Mass Diseases, Mass Exposures, and Mass Media

Author Affiliations
  • 1The Public Good Projects, New York, New York
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(11):1743-1744. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.5079

In medicine, we gravitate to the microscopic and the personal—microscopic because our understanding of cells has been fundamental to so many cures, and personal because physicians and nurses are caring people who want to touch others and lift away their suffering. But in our enthusiasm for the microscopic and individualized, we have overlooked the macroscopic world in which we live, a world that has profound influences on the health of everyone. In particular, we have a blind spot for the images in the mass media surrounding us that could be harnessed to prevent disease.