Osler’s Comments ..

It's late Sunday night .. I should be writing the paper that I've promised to the editors of American Family Physician by Tuesday night. 

Last week's Medscape assignment now complete,  (I"ll link to it when published) and the Journal of Family Practice paper on sinusitis now pending publication (July?) …  soo .. what am I doing?  Reading William Osler:

There is no question that the public is awakening, but many State Boards of Health need more efficient organization, and larger appropriations. Others are models, and it is not for lack of example that many lag behind. The health officers should have special training in sanitary science and special courses leading to diplomas in public health should be given in the medical schools. Were the health of the people made a question of public and not of party policy, only a skilled expert could possibly be appointed as a public health officer, not, as is now so often the case, the man with the political pull.

These comments, made in 1914 in reference to Typhoid, could be applied in some ways to the events of the last year or so.   Public health is clearly good politics, but it's more complex than most politicians think.  Tim Bishop's recent post on SARSwatch touches on this concept.  He suggests that CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding is playing the role of an educator – in addition to her role as the key decisionmaker in how US policy is developed and implemented to respond to SARS.

Tim makes a great point.   (btw he's also released a "sars news feed.")