The Promising Future of Public Health
Epidemiology originated during the Middle Ages when science-based medicine arose and medical schools were established. Clinically trained epidemiologists began to advance knowledge on human disease through intensive observations of their patients over time. Modern computing was quickly adopted by epidemiologists as an essential tool of modern medicine.
Despite its key role in medicine, epidemiology-based teaching and research is now faltering, as professors emphasize the difficulties, rather than the advantages, of this critical branch of medicine. No other medical specialty can accurately track diseases in populations at risk, or evaluate the cost and quality of medical care. It can create clinical information systems for practising physicians, assess health risks in large population groups and evaluate unique subgroups at risk of disease.
A major lesson from the COVID-19 experience is that enhancing the work of medical epidemiologists is crucial to the future of public health and clinical medicine. How this goal can be achieved is the central theme of this volume.
Dr Irving I. Kessler, an internationally recognized epidemiologist, served as Tenured Professor at Johns Hopkins University, and as Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Maryland. His studies include the first assessment of artificial sweeteners in humans, the effect of coffee on the pancreas, the herpes virus’ role in cervical cancer, the biochemical basis of Parkinsonism and the promising role of nicotine in its control. He was the first to demonstrate the failure of oral hypoglycemic drugs to improve the longevity of diabetics. A founder and past president of the Maryland Gerontological Association, Dr Kessler served as Director of the Maryland Medical Research Institute and as a Premier Member of the Governor’s Council on Toxic Substances in Maryland. He was a consultant to the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Medical Association, and was honored by the American Cancer Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Society of Sigma Chi.
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