January 21 is the anniversary of the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade, striking down restrictive abortion laws across the US. At the time I was the Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in London. I still remember a surprised phone call from New York. My friends and … More >
Let’s think the unthinkable. Let’s do the impossible. We have a Tobacco-Free Campus: why not a Football-Free Campus?
Just as tobacco-free Campus took 50 years to arrive, so could the football-free campus. But it will come, just as assuredly. Why not now?
I was lucky enough to know Sir Richard Doll, the … More >
The recent Ebola scare in the U.S. has raised some important questions about what is the appropriate response to a public threat. The two most obvious ones have to do with what is the appropriate response that we as individuals should take and what is the appropriate response that the … More >
Over a long professional life in global health, I have learnt a bitter lesson: it seems almost impossible for decision-makers to recognize and respond to slowly unfolding threats that take two or three decades to unfold and can involve millions of people. Sadly, big organizations with big money have a … More >
As I write this post, it has been about three weeks since Thomas Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in Texas. The media and political hysteria that has ensued in this country is amazing, statistically and historically. Unlike, say, tuberculosis or the flu, it is extremely hard to get infected with … More >
Last week, over at The Atlantic, Jacoba Urist wrote about a truism in journalism: deaths closer to home matter more.
This sounds ugly but makes sense intuitively. We feel the death of a loved one in a completely different way than a death across town, let alone a death across the … More >
Ebola’s natural reservoirs are animals, if only because human hosts die to too quickly. Outbreaks tend to occur in locations where changes in landscapes have brought animals and humans into closer contact. Thus, there is considerable speculation about whether ecological factors might be related to the current outbreak. (See this … More >
State of Obesity, a joint project of the Trust for America’s Future and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has released a fascinating report about adult obesity. There are large national disparities. The obesity rate is over 35% in West Virginia and Mississippi, but only 21% in Colorado.
Despite these disparities, obesity … More >
According to a report released last week in the widely-respected health research journal, The Lancet, the United States now ranks 60th out of 180 countries on maternal deaths occurring during pregnancy and childbirth.
To put it bluntly, for every 100,000 births in America last year, 18.5 women died. That’s compared to 8.2 women who … More >