For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

From the Dean's Desk

  • Public Health and the Right to Clean, Safe Water

    1/25/2016 2:26:49 PM

    Over the past few weeks we have been reminded once again of the critical links between water and public health. The residents of Flint, Michigan, have been exposed to water contaminated with lead. Residents now have no choice but to utilize bottled water for drinking, cooking, and washing. The economic costs of refitting the Flint water system so that the pipes no longer leech lead into the water supply are astronomical and the repair will take many months, but the potential long term health consequences are in human terms much worse. The community has, rightly, lost any trust it had in those in charge of ensuring that they are protected from environmental hazards, a key responsibility of government.

    Environmental injustice is not only about exposures to toxic substances (important as is this) but also about the many often subtle ways in which disadvantaged communities are repeatedly exposed to environments that are not conducive to good health, including things like limited access to healthy foods and pleasant public spaces, poor quality of housing, lack of well-maintained sidewalks, lack of safety, and even simply poor aesthetic quality and absence of trees and green spaces. Some of these health effects may be subtle, but they add up and potentiate each other, and likely contribute to the large social inequalities that we continue to see.

    Read More

  • Assuring the conditions for health

    12/21/2015 12:33:11 PM

    This past year illustrated perhaps even more intensely than ever the ways in which population health is influenced by upstream factors. Countries all over the world continue to grapple with the health consequences of sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets linked to the ways in which we have organized transportation, work, and the production and distribution of food. At the same time a mind blowing number of people all over the globe lack something as simple as access to clean water. Average world temperatures continue to increase at an alarming pace (just here in Philadelphia last week over 60 degrees in December!). Inequalities in health by race, ethnicity or social class remain unacceptably large in many countries including the United States. But these challenges also present opportunities for public health. As we end 2015 take a minute to read about some of the ways we at the Dornsife School of Public Health are working to improve population health through evidence and action, here and abroad. And as we start a new year, let us redouble our commitment to create the policies and environments necessary for the health of all of us.

    Read More

  • The power of old fashioned (“little”) data

    11/17/2015 10:45:59 AM

    At a time when there is so much talk of the promise of “big data” it is sobering to see the striking patterns and findings that can emerge from  “simple data”, and the classic approaches of demography and epidemiology that have formed the basis of public health for centuries. Just over the past few weeks, two studies reported extensively in the media have demonstrated the insight that can be gleaned from the simple analysis of mortality data.

    Read More

  • Reimagining Health in Cities

    10/1/2015 9:56:00 AM

    Just a few days ago, here in Philadelphia, we had an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine our very own city. For four days on the occasion of the visit by Pope Francis, a large part of the city was closed to traffic. It made me wonder about the health impact of this new city: what might happen to asthma rates, to traffic-related injuries? Cities, the way we design and operate them, the way we distribute resources within them are of our own making, and it is within our power to transform them. Our goal to improve health in cities is closely linked to the founding principles of our School: that health is a human right and that social justice is critical to improving population health. We at the Dornsife School of Public Health invite you today to come on a journey with us, to reimagine health in cities, to work together to create a city that is more livable, more fulfilling, and yes, healthier for all.

    Read More