From public health science to prevention policy: Placing science in its social and political contexts

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.23). 11/1997; 87(10):1603-6. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.87.10.1603
Source: PubMed
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The article discusses the construction of public policies for cancer control in Brazil from the 1940s to the late 1980s. It examines the process that led to the creation of the National Cancer Service in 1942, the agency’s initial paths and the issues that have guided its trajectory. It analyzes the state actions against the disease in the 1960s and the creation of the National Cancer Control Program, in 1974. From a historical perspective, based on analysis of institutional documents and relevant literature, the authors show the relation between the expansion of public policies in this area, the development of a new medical community — the oncologists — and sociopolitical and economic transformations in Brazil.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Contemporary human biology research employs a unique skillset for biocultural analysis. This skillset is highly appropriate for the study of health disparities because disparities result from the interaction of social and biological factors over one or more generations. Health disparities research almost always involves disadvantaged communities owing to the relationship between social position and health in stratified societies. Successful research with disadvantaged communities involves a specific approach, the community partnership model, which creates a relationship beneficial for researcher and community. Paramount is the need for trust between partners. With trust established, partners share research goals, agree on research methods and produce results of interest and importance to all partners. Results are shared with the community as they are developed; community partners also provide input on analyses and interpretation of findings. This article describes a partnership-based, 20 year relationship between community members of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation and researchers at the University at Albany. As with many communities facing health disparity issues, research with Native Americans and indigenous peoples generally is inherently politicized. For Akwesasne, the contamination of their lands and waters is an environmental justice issue in which the community has faced unequal exposure to, and harm by environmental toxicants. As human biologists engage in more partnership-type research, it is important to understand the long term goals of the community and what is at stake so the research circle can be closed and 'helicopter' style research avoided. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    American Journal of Human Biology 11/2014; 27(1). DOI:10.1002/ajhb.22652 · 1.93 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Although policy approaches are traditionally an important element of public health efforts to address major health problems, public health policy around physical activity remains poorly defined and developed. Methods: After extensive literature searches and reviews of policy frameworks developed for other public health issues such as tobacco control and injury prevention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted a series of workshops and discussions on physical activity policy. Results: A simple model describing relationships among policy, the environment, behavior, and health was developed, a framework for organizing and conceptualizing policy interventions was described, and priorities for public health efforts to promote physical activity were proposed. Conclusions: An expanded focus on physical activity policy interventions is warranted, and such efforts can complement physical activity promotion efforts at other levels. The addition of researchers with expertise in the policy sciences will enhance the work of existing multidisciplinary teams.


Available from