Witnessing history: a personal view of half a century in public health

An interesting journal article has been published by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh focusing on developments of public health in the last 50 years from a personal perspective.

The paper examines five decades of developments in public health, focusing on some of the most influential events of the period, and was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the graduation in medicine of one of the authors Former Chief Medical Officer Sir Kenneth Calman. It commemorates selected highlights from his career and, in so doing, documents a key period of challenges and transformations, predominantly from a Scottish perspective. 

It was a period which saw the evolution of the public health agenda from communicable diseases to diseases of lifestyle, the change from a hospital-orientated health service to one dominated by community-based services, and the increasing recognition of inequalities as a major determinant of health. 

This paper documents selected highlights from Sir Kenneth Calman’s career including the Aberdeen typhoid outbreak, AIDS, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, foot and mouth disease, radioactive fallout, the invention of computerised tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, and draws parallels between the development of the modern understanding of public health and the theoretical background to the science 100 years earlier.

The Journal paper can be access here

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