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Epilepsy Behav. 2006 Nov;9(3):386-93.

Living Well II: a review of progress since 2003.

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  • 1Distinguished Professor, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.


Epilepsy as an issue for the public health community has a relatively short history in the United States. Not since the 1970s, when Congress established the Commission for the Control of Epilepsy and Its Consequences and the publication of its formal report, "Plan for Nationwide Action on Epilepsy," has significant attention been paid to the public health implications of epilepsy. In fact, until the U.S. Congress established a small epilepsy program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 12 years ago, the condition was practically invisible at all levels of organized public health. Since then, two major conferences, and the recommendations arising from them, have generated a substantially increased level of activity in research, surveillance, and the production and distribution of public education materials, as well as a national initiative to improve access to care and to prevent epilepsy's negative social impact. Even at the state level, long devoid of any attention to epilepsy in public health planning or provision of services, things are beginning to change, and new demonstration programs designed to identify and serve vulnerable populations with epilepsy are underway. This review highlights these activities, reflects a new and heightened level of attention to epilepsy, and speculates on what may lie ahead in the ongoing effort to give epilepsy greater visibility and higher priority in the public health arena.

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