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 >
The National Lampoon once put out a mock edition of a newspaper from the fictional city of Dacron, Ohio. There was a screaming headline reading: TWO DACRON WOMEN MISSING. A much smaller subheading read: Japan destroyed by tidal wave.
We are now seeing something similar in the U.S. reaction to Ebola. … 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 >
If you’re inclined to doubt science, why not start with the germ theory of disease? After all, isn’t it implausible that illness, death, and even mass epidemics are caused by tiny invisible organisms that invade our bodies?
19th-century French scientist Louis Pasteur, as painted by artist Robert Thom
And what’s the … More >
In my professional role, I am interviewed by the media to explain why this flu season is so “deadly.” I have a more mathematical explanation here (which is challenging to simplify). However, Rob Roth from KTVU Channel 2 interviewed me and suggested the term “susceptible list” to describe the people … More >
Cooking dinner, as it turns out, is one of the most serious public health and environmental problems in the world. There’s a common misperception that environmental concerns are just a First World luxury. But the cookstove example shows that the global poor, too, are in need of better, more efficient, … More >
If you ask young Americans how good their health is, they’ll tell you it’s great. The U.S. ranks #1 among 17 affluent, western countries in that regard, in the percentage of people aged 5 to 34 who rate their health as good. Unfortunately, when doctors look at people’s actual health, … More >
Anderson Cooper’s coming out was important for the shaping of the discourse around sexual orientation. Public figures’ attitudes around same-sex couples (including President Obama’s) have real psychological power to change the public’s own attitudes. A turn in attitudes in this domain is evident even in Robert Spitzer’s apology for his support of a … More >