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Some key public health reading

For those of you lucky enough to still be on holiday (or procrastinating at your desks!) a selection of informative and topical public health reading from around the interwebs…..

Forget giving up chocolate and putting in more hours at the gym, the New Year’s resolutions for Tom Frieden, head of the USA’s head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include eradicating polio from the globe and mounting an effective fight against new anti-biotic superbugs.  This article discusses how he plans to go about achieving these goals and other public health priorities for 2014.

Despite their life-saving potential, public health interventions rarely receive the same accolades as the latest medical and pharmaceutical breakthroughs.  This piece in the American Journal of Public Health analyses how a combination of ‘epidemiological and policy-centered research, powerful personal stories, and the active advocacy of prominent academics, cancer organizations, and grassroots community campaigners’  run by public health advocates in Victoria achieved a total ban on tanning beds in all states and territories.

The complex ethical and practical issues involved when public health advocates also work for industries with an interest in health issues are covered in this article from the Center for Public Integrity.  The article discusses the work of Patricia Buffler, a highly esteemed public-health scientist and former dean of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health who also worked for the chemical industry.  

Youth mental health service headspace has been the subject of some (often very personal) criticism from within the mental health sector.  This paper in the Medical Journal of Australia outlines the findings from research into the program which finds that headspace centres are providing a point of service access for young Australians with high levels of psychological distress and need for care in the early stages of the development of mental disorder. Of particular interest is the finding that young people from regional areas and of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background were particularly well represented among headspace clients.

Finally, those with an interest in health promotion in relation to soft drinks may be interested in this message from Tonga Health Tongahealth Softdrink