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CDC Director Addresses “The Future of Public Health”

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, presented the Shattuck Lecture at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Medical Society in May. The text of his remarks were published in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Frieden discussed the “Building of a Public Health Pyramid” and the relationship between clinical care and public health, separately considering addressing infectious and noninfectious conditions. He also discussed chronic diseases and the strategy for tobacco control.

He concluded his address by saying, “The involvement of many parts of society, including government agencies, health organizations, nongovernmental organizations, clinicians, the private sector, and communities, is increasingly important for success. Everyone benefits when people are healthier. Accountability for outcomes is essential — public health’s obsession with denominators can reduce the number of people missed by interventions that improve health and save lives. Working together, clinical medicine and public health can ensure that people live active and productive lives far longer than was ever thought possible.”