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Am J Public Health. 2002 May;92(5):722-5.

Rethinking McKeown: the relationship between public health and social change.

Author information

1
Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England. srss@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

Thomas McKeown was a rhetorically powerful critic, from the inside, of the medical profession's mid-20th-century love affair with curative and scientific medicine. He emphasized instead the importance of economic growth, rising living standards, and improved nutrition as the primary sources of most historical improvements in the health of developed nations. This interpretation failed to emphasize the simultaneous historical importance of an accompanying redistributive social philosophy and practical politics, which has characterized the public health movement from its 19th-century origins. Consequently, the current generation of public health practitioners are having to reconstruct such a politics and practice following its virtual dismantlement during the last 2 decades of the 20th century.

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PMID:
11988434
PMCID:
PMC1447152
DOI:
10.2105/ajph.92.5.722
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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