The Pump Handle

Piketty & Public Health

Thomas Piketty’s prediction that wealth inequality will grow in the future has been everywhere in the media. Piketty’s methods would help public health efforts to reduce health inequality.

Paradoxically the US anti-trust laws intended to protect competition and keep prices down for consumers could kill more Americans when it comes to the merger of two of the three largest tobacco companies.

One of our public health heroes, Ciro de Quadros, 74, a public health physician from Brazil died last week. We need his attitude, skills, and persistence more than ever today.

Evidence from decades of research has convinced many public health professionals that there is no single factor more important to healthy living than a minimum standard of income and no single factor more harmful to health than persistent poverty.

by V. Tinney, J. Paulson, and E. Webb In recent months, spikes in birth defects, and stillborn and neonatal deaths in drilling-dense regions of Colorado and Utah has raised the attention of local communities, researchers, and public health officials. There is still much to be studied to be able to determine if there is in…

New happenings on public health intersecting with activities of U.S. espionage agencies.

By Sara Satinsky: Should pregnant women who use drugs be charged as criminals or given help? From a public health perspective the choice is clear: provide treatment to help women quit drugs before their use harms their child. Less than a year ago, Tennessee adopted a progressive policy to provide such treatment, but now is on the brink of taking a big step back.

Cholera had spared Haiti for a century or more, so it was not unreasonable that people asked where did the pathogen come from in 2010. But public health people might have explained that the question was a distraction. Why so? Very simply, knowing how Vibrio cholerae arrived in Haiti would not help control its spread or prevent future outbreaks.

By Jonathan Heller. Author Nicholas Freudenberg advocates that we “return to the public sector the right to set health policy and to limit corporations’ freedom to profit at the expense of public health.” We should also think specifically about obligations corporations have to their workers, at a time when the minimum wage is inadequate, wage theft is common among low-wage workers, and millions of US workers lack paid sick time.

Genocide is a Public Health Problem

The New York Times editorial page warns that genocide looms in the Central African Republic. It’s worth re-reading a Commentary from Elihu Richter in the Journal of Public Health Policy, which focuses on the Rwandan genocide but is relevant today.