President Barack Obama addressed improvements that will be made in the public health sector, "...Americans can trust that there is a strong system in place to ensure that the medications we give our children will help them get better, not make them sick; and that a family dinner won’t end in a trip to the doctor’s office." [Full text] Our safety potentially lies in the hands of those who regulate our foods, vaccines and medications as well as the physicians who intervene locally.
It is nice to see correlates between medical school and the real world from time to time. We recently started a course that looks at our current public health care, how to produce the greatest benefits for the community as a physician, and how to interpret the information researched by others.
Although the system is not perfect, public health policy has an agenda to provide a safe environment from illness through detecting, reporting and treating diseases that arise among the general population. By tracking the spread of illness and providing interventions such as vaccines or prophylactic support, physicians can impact individuals and communities alike. It is important that public health research be performed in an effort to educate health care providers concerning the diseases they fight.
There are cases highlighted around the world that reiterate the importance of contributing to the overall public health in our communities. Below are some valuable resources for both the aspiring and practicing physician (most can be downloaded in portable document format):
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention - Online health resource
- Guide to Clinical Preventive Services - USPSTF recommendations on screening, counseling, and preventive medication topics including clinical considerations
- Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report - CDC reports available in text and podcast
- Immunization Scheduler - Children 0 to 6 years, provides personalized dates
- Child Immunization Schedule - 0 to 18 years of age
- Adult Immunization Schedule - 18 years and older