Technology, particularly the Internet, has done phenomenal things for the field of public health. Public health draws from a variety of disciplines including medicine, and epidemiology. The difficulty with these fields, public health included, is that access to information can often impede action. Infectious diseases are global killers and have the potential to spread, and often do, like wildfire. According to the World Health Organization 90 percent of infectious disease deaths worldwide are caused by only six diseases. Therefore waiting for information can be fatal. This is where the Internet has been such a force of good for public health, and for all health disciplines. Instant exchange of information from around the world has allowed health professionals to access life-saving information, and provide updates on the state of global health.  Globalization has done great things for the world economy but aids in the spread of disease in a way that no other generation has seen before. Movement such as this is a great concern among public health experts, but tracking efforts aid in stopping the spread of disease. is one such tracking effort. The site uses public access news and information sites to offer a comprehensive view of infectious disease in world. Using information from sources such as the World Health Organization and ProMED lends to healthmap’s authority, as these sites provide up-to-date expert information on global health news. Healthmap can be a wonderful tool for good in fighting infectious disease.
Tracking diseases around the world is no small task and requires extensive collaboration. Compiling, evaluating and posting information like the healthmap team does helps to focus a wealth of information about infectious disease.
For health workers around the world, volunteering or working with organizations like the World Health Organization or Doctor’s Without Borders, the need for information is paramount. Access to recent health information is important and the need for a way to filter such information is crucial to the way health information is disseminated. This is where healthmap comes in. Users can use the map to examine particular disease in certain countries, a particularly helpful feature if you happen to be researching one disease or one particular area.
The news sources and information healthmap uses are not only global health authorities but offer a wealth of information on the state of international health. Healthmap’s newsfeed feature allows users to obtain up-to-date, accurate information for a particular region, or disease. The cornerstone of effective disease prevention is communication. Relaying information, ideas and research is crucial for stopping the spread of disease, as well as prevention.
Today the fields of medicine and public health have shifted, rightly so, from treatment to prevention. Due to the fact that infectious disease disproportionately effects minorities and developing nations the responsibility falls upon those developed nations to lead the charge against infectious diseases around the world. Imagine what could have been done if applications like healthmap had exists twenty years ago during the beginning of the AIDS pandemic. The sheer speed and capacity of the Internet has helped tremendously
Disseminating correct and current information is vital not only to preventing the spread of disease but more importantly imparting the severity of the state of disease worldwide. Without an appropriate appreciation for how devastating the spread of disease can be, there will not be an effective response. Ultimately, the cost of treatment is far greater than the cost of prevention programs. Applications like healthmap represent what will hopefully be a continuous trend in the collaboration of health and technology.
The advent of a technologically connected age has allowed health professionals to connect with people and information around the world. With the help of continued advances in technology, and the ways in which people stay connected, tremendous strides can be made in the fight against the spread of disease. was introduced as a means of tracking infectious disease around the world. The website offers a comprehensive overview of the state of disease in the world, using a variety of news sources offered in four different languages, English, French, Spanish and Russian. Healthmap began as a joint effort by Clark Freifeld and John Brownstein, both from the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, a division of Children’s Hospital Boston. Freifeld, a computer software developer has almost ten years of experience with web applications while Dr. Brownstein is a professor of Pediatrics as well as an Epidemiologist at Children’s Hospital. The two are joined by four experts, Mikaela Keller, a computer scientist, Kenneth Mandl, a Harvard Medical School professor, Ben Reis, also a Harvard professor, and Isaac Kohane, director of the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program. This team of six have come together to evaluate news information on the current state of disease in the world and provide that information to the public. Central to healthmap is the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program which conducts research across a variety of disciplines to investigate how public health, medicine, biomedical research, and information science intersect. This kind of collaboration makes the site a wonderful resource for anyone with an interest in infectious disease.
The site utilizes Google Maps as well as xajax, a public site which allows people to create web-based applications. Vital to the site are the public access news sites. ProMED mail or the Program for Monitoring Emerging Disease, is produced by the International Society for Infectious Disease and is a global reporting system for new disease outbreaks. The International Society for Infectious Disease strives to maximize the exchange of information on infectious disease in the hope of curbing the spread. Healthmap also uses information from the World Health Organization, a division of the United Nations, which acts as a global authority on health information and delivery. EuroSurveillance, another healthmap source, is published by the European Centers for Disease Control and is a source of information on the control and surveillance of communicable disease across Europe. Finally the site uses Google News and Moreover, both news feed aggregation services.
The healthmap page shows a picture of the world flagged with various square and bubble shaped tags. These tags are national (square) or regional and local (bubble) markers, which when scrolled over indicate the infectious diseases in that particular area. Choosing a country or region will produce the latest headlines, using healthmap’s news sources, about disease there. The site allows one to search only for a particular disease or  diseases in a given region, country or continent. Another feature allows for the choice of news sources. For example if I only wanted alerts on infectious disease from ProMED or the WHO I can choose those particular sources. Finally, another feature of the site allows users to sign-up for e-mail alerts, which can be general or specific to a country, disease or news source. So if I were interested in yellow fever, cholera and tuberculosis in Kazakhstan using only information from the ECDC and the WHO I could receive those specific e-mail alerts.

The features of this application make it an incredible tool for health research and information. The importance of current information, and easy access underscores what a helpful application healthmap is. Healthmap and applications like it will only help to improve the state of disease around the world.

Perhaps the greatest complaint I have heard about government is that people often feel disconnected from the process. That is the nature of our country, the United States is not a democracy it is a republic. People do not make the decisions, we elect the people who make decisions. This is why I was very excited when I came across the Hill’s Congress Blog. The blog, sponsored by the Hill Magazine, a publication on the workings of Washington, offers our elected officials the opportunity to blog on a variety of topics. Politicians blog on legislation, policy initiatives, the election and various topics of interest. After reading this blog I was excited to discover that our legislators are taking the time to blog at all of any topic! I must admit however, that my excitement over the site is quelled by my skepticism. After reading through, I began to wonder, what is the likelihood that the Senator or Representative is writing this and not simply some staff assistant? Secondly, this is a public site therefore how much of what is written can be taken at face value? If nothing else, reading the Congress Blog offers insight into what lawmakers are focusing on or interested in. People need to participate in the process, and with only 20 percent of Americans voting we can all participate a little more. Decisions are made by those who show up, and I think people need to start showing up.

I must admit that before two weeks ago I had no idea what an RSS feed was. I am certainly not totally technologically illiterate but I also do not have any truly extensive knowledge of the Internet and its many wonders. When I was introduced to pageflakes I was a bit confused and then, like a light switch going off in my head, I began to understand how helpful it could be.

The wonders of the Internet have done phenomenal things for the field of public health. Easy access to information, news and updates is particularly important in health care. That being said, in creating my pageflakes page I realized that access to a site, which could organize your favorite news sites, and blogs was genius!

RSS Feeds

My pageflakes page is an amalgamation of news sites such as BBC World News (my absolute favorite) and The New York Times, as well as several public health sites. I have even included a wikipedia flake for any search I may be compelled to do. What is so wonderful about public health is the fact that it is not limited to one thing. An interest in public health can really mean an interest in anything that affects, positively or negatively, the health and well being of a population. Topics ranging from disease control, global warming, and health disparities are just a few of those topics.

I have organized my pageflakes into three columns. The first column houses the blogs I enjoy reading as well as my universal blog search flake. The Caucus is The New York Times blog on politics and the election. I am always interested in different perspectives on politics and more recently, the election. The race for the White House has brought healthcare front and center, adding to the debate over the crises that face America today. The blog I profiled earlier, Fixin’ Healthcare by Marcus Newberry also appears on my pageflakes. Reading Newberry’s blog offers a wonderful perspective on health and healthcare delivery. Perhaps the most interesting blog in this column is one sponsered by The Hill, a well-regarded, non-partisan publication about the workings of Washington regarding both issues and policy makers. The Hill’s Congress Blog is a blog for different Congressmen and women, Senators and policy experts. When I stumbled across this blog I was immediately intrigued. This blog offers a forum for our legislators to talk about what they are working on, or offer their insights into certain issues. This is, in my opinion, a great resource to connect people to the workings of Washington.

The second column on my page is where I have put the government agency websites I visit. First up, the Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The MMWR, as it is referred to, is published by the CDC and it outlines epidemiological news of note. I enjoy reading through the report to keep myself updated on the newest reports from the CDC. Just below that I have a flake for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I put this on my page simply because the site details what our government’s priorities are regarding health, and it provides a wealth of information on health policy. Finally in that column I have a flake for the BBC World News Health Page, and below that a universal news search. I included it in this column because, in my opinion, BBC World News offers very comprehensive news coverage, often covering stories people might not be exposed to if they read strictly U.S. publications. This is particularly helpful for anyone interested in international health. The BBC health page details stories from countries around the globe, which helps me stay updated on global health issues.

My Active Searches

I have handy blog and news searches on my pageflakes, which enable me to quickly search for a blog or recent news updates. The beauty of a field like public health is, it is of interest to so many so there is no shortage of applicable sites on the web. Searching “health” “global health” or “health disparities” (which are some of my most common searches) generates several useful sites, both blogs and news searches. These search terms have helped me generate many of the blogs and sites on my pageflakes page.

My Zotero Bibliography

A search for academic work in any scientific field will generate an innumerable amount of results. That is the beauty of science; there will always be thirst for knowledge. That being said, using a tool like Zotero can be immensely useful, particularly in a scientific field when research is so important and keeping track of your research is even more important. New findings in the field of science occur daily, and Zotero makes examining that research much easier. My bibliography items include one article on a nationwide survey conducted in South Africa on behavioral responses to the AIDS epidemic. Also included is a book I found while exploring the Norris Medical Library website. The book examines epidemiology in a public health context. As much as reading a textbook can be a bore at times, much of what we learn studying public health is the foundation for current studies and research. These fundamentals provide a context through which we can analyze new information.

My Diigo Bookmarks

I feel as though I don’t appreciate Diigo enough but I think it is the need to download it each time I open my browser (on a different computer) that dissuades me from using it more. My bookmarks on Diigo are varied, everything from news articles on updates in the health field to the election to websites I find interesting.

My Bookmarking Soulmate

What makes bookmarking so nifty is the propensity to find something you were not even looking for. That is why my CiteuLike soulmate appears on my pageflakes page. Gareth, as he is known, offers just one more perspective on my field of interest and more often than not I am pleasantly surprised at what I find.

What makes pageflakes so handy? Compiling, organizing and centralizing the websites I frequent is immensely helpful! Science is ever-evolving, and keeping oneself up to date and informed is seminal. I think the organization of my pageflakes page helps my focus on what it is I am interested in at that moment, whether it be news or someone’s most recent thoughts on a blog. I can focus on my blog column, my news and information column, visit my Diigo bookmarks or see what my bookmarking soulmate is reading. The possibilities are endless!

Of the mounting concerns among people in the public health and medical field, people opting out of potentially life-saving tests because of their insurance should not be one of them. Unfortunately, that trend is increasing. The New York Times article Insurance Fears Lead Many to Shun DNA Tests offers a saddening look at this problem. More and more people are choosing not to receive genetic tests for fear that the results will make them ineligible for health insurance. What’s more, and perhaps more dangerous, people are opting to undergo home testing or genetic testing without informing their doctors of the results. In my opinion, there is nothing more disheartening than people choosing not to be proactive about thier health because they are afraid of insurance companies. Such strides have been made in the field of genetics for the singular reason of preventing, or at least being prepared for, the onset of genetic disease.

Medicine is a business now. Knowing that, and how costly treatment can be, preventive medicine has become so important. That is not to say preventive medicine is not crucial to health care delivery. Without even focusing on cost, the aim of preventive medicine is just that, to prevent. To avoid longer, more painful and yes more costly treatment later on. With all of this focus on the cost of health care we have lost site of what medicine really is, helping people. That people would opt not to know if they have a potentially fatal genetic condition should be cause for great alarm.

We have entered a digital age. Gone are the days of superficially judging someone by the way they look, their job, how much money they have or make. Now, in the time  of facebook, youtube and the internet in general, we can judge based on someone’s social bookmarking practices! Perhaps judge is not the right term. In my perusal of various social bookmarking sites I did not judge but rather appraised user’s bookmarking “libraries” for compatibility with my own interests. Public health has many subdivisions, and components which enables one to find any number of interesting topics or issues within it.
My examination of the bookmarking website, CiteULike, brought me to gareth. Who needs crowded bars or online matchmaking? I say social bookmarking connections are the way of the future! In all seriousness, bookmarking sites provide a wonderful way of connecting people with similar interests. Which brings me back togareth. Browsing CiteULike, and my tags of interest, brought me to the same user and thus I found my social bookmarking soulmate.
CiteULike, which deals in scientific and scholarly journals and articles categorizes each user’s article tagging into libraries. gareth has quite the library, 871 articles! What ultimately led me to gareth was his tags. Tags are, in my opinion, a wonderful way to find not only articles or websites of interest, but can connect people through bookmarking practices. What one might consider a tag for a particular article might be the necessary catalyst to spark someoneelse’s interest in that same article. Browsing the various tags gareth used for the articles in the his library I encountered many words which grabbed my attention. My chosen field of public health certainly has its fair share of “trigger” words which spark ones interest.CiteULike organizes the tags alphabetically and I suppose for aesthetic reasons arranges the tags in a variety of font sizes, so that certain tags are more prominently displayed. This is clever on the part ofCiteULike , not only aesthetically but it also encourages visitors to perhaps choose tags randomly, visiting various user’s libraries and the articles they tag.
gareth’s tags, which range from the research based to the issue-specific are certainly varied. Some which captured my attention such as epidemiology, inequality, intervention, prevention and the list goes on! My only complaint or suggestion rather would be that perhaps the tags could be issue-specific, or more organized based on issues, research rather than simple tags on anything and everything. That being said, there is little among the tags he does have which I don’t find share some interest of my own. Additionally, he offers no comments on the articles he has tagged, which is perhaps where the site lacks one more connection for its users. This is perhaps where the site’s “Discussion” feature comes in handy. Rather than commenting on each particular article in one’s library, users can join in on or create discussion topics.
Among the 871 articles in his cite library, and I must admit I did not go through all of them, I discovered many articles of great interest to me, simply by perusing the list. After discovering his name after several tag searches on the website I scrolled through the list of articles and discovered several which piqued my interest. After that I discovered mynew found appreciation and love for social bookmarking! Particularly among those in the public health field social bookmarking can be a remarkably useful tool. Connecting people with common interest in particular topics or issues is not only helpful in public health it is necessary. Staying connected and informed about current events, ideas and particularly problems, is so important in any discipline but especially in public health because the issues we face affect everyone, not just those who study or work in the field.
Thus we have the story of how I came to find my social bookmarking soulmate. Bookmarking has become a wonderful way to connect people, and that is really what it does, connect people. These connections are made over shared interest in a particular topic or issues, which is where the strongest human connections tend to lie.

How powerful can one blog be? Can one’s words or thoughts on a subject be a powerful tool for social change? Voice, or an author’s unique manner of writing, can be a powerful tool for persuasion, or to incite debate which is particularly true for the topic of healthcare in the United States.

Fixin’ Healthcare is Marcus Newberry’s blog on healthcare in the United States. Newberry is a physician from North Carolina whose blog offers his own thoughts on the ever-changing field of healthcare. Healthcare, particularly in the United States, has become a hotly debated subject in recent years. It is now estimated that 46 million Americans are without healthcare coverage.
This astounding number has made many people stop and think about what can be, and what should be done to our healthcare system. Dr. Newberry’s bog provides a unique perspective because as a physician he offers insight into what real change might be effected. His posts range from the more theoretical to those on specific topics relating to healthcare delivery.
One of his most interesting posts “Prevention Where TheyLive” offers a wonderful message on prevention.

“Build prevention into the community and get it out of the medical setting wherever possible. Certainly, convenience and culture are important considerations. Patience, persistence and knowing the lay of the land count for a lot. Keep smiling and never give up. Prevention is a different ball game than diagnosis and treatment.”

Newberry’s writing is wonderfully unique. His stream of consciousness style poses questions for his readers and he offers insightful answers before the reader even has a chance to really probe the depth of the question.
While he writes well he is perhaps a bit esoteric at times. In his most recent posts, those which appear on the first page of his blog, he muses, rather generally, about societal structure, human/environment interaction, and about prevention.
As Dr. Newberry so aptly notes, prevention is the cornerstone of any real change in our healthcare system.
He writes that history, however recent, gives us too many examples of how incidences of disease might have been prevented.
In his post “The Quest Goes On” he writes about history’s ever-changing points of view on humanity and societal direction.

“Every age contains those who believe the human race is moving in the wrong direction.
The basis for their concern, or alarm, takes various forms depending upon the events of the times.Bettering the world, saving souls, spiritual growth, salvation, social justice, personal and sexual morality, peace, health, poverty, race, environment, climate, theological orthodoxy, evolution,abortion, stem cell research, homosexuality, feminism, good for all versus good for the few, lobbyists, national self-destruction, and hope versus doom are a sampling of the list that goes on and on.Every issue is a cause and every cause is a call to arms.”

While such a topic might produce a cynical vantage point, Newberry notes that as a country we choose our national priorities and as a society evolves so do the issues it tackles.He argues that real societal change can occur, and positive changes can be made, and this occurs when there is overwhelming popular support.
A lack of such support may be disheartening, but it is the possibility of it that makes Newberry’s post a positive one. We are an issue-driven society as he notes, which can only change direction with the emergence of a new topic of conversation. Within the topic of healthcare there are certainly issues which necessitate more serious responses, but despite that Newberry remains generally positive.
That being said, perhaps positive is not the right word to describe his writings. Newberry never writes discouragingly although it would certainly be easy to write on the atrocious state of healthcare and disease in this country and complain about what is not being done. Newberry steers away from such writings, offering instead a critical analysis with sometimes necessary emphasis placed on more serious issues.
Some of his posts dabble with irony and sarcasm but overall he writes well, offering his analysis while emphasizing the weight of many of these issues.
His positive style is a result of his continual probing of the questions he poses.
Dr. Newberry’s diction simply highlights his level of education. Generally, his posts are clear and succinct although he can tend to be verbose on certain topics. Although what I like most about his posts is the fact that he offers both analysis of his particular topic while also diverting to the implications of the particular issue, on a personal, social, even global level.
The format of the blog, while not particularly aesthetically pleasing, it does offer helpful, relevant links to various websites. He categorizes the links, such as “National and International Health” “News and General Information” as well as links to sites which promote physical activity. That is perhaps where his blog is most helpful.
His own thoughts on various health promotion topics are insightful, and in providing links to a host of other sites, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Healthy People 2010, he enables his readers to take his musings and perhaps find some kind of practical application.
What is so important in Dr. Newberry’s blog, from a public health perspective, is his emphasis on prevention and education. As he notes, it is through those kinds of efforts that the best strides against disease are made. In his writings he never offers analysis of a particular topic without offering some insight into how it might be changed or what it might take to affect such change.
I would be interested to read his thoughts on issues, which are at the forefront of national attention, such as a proposed universal healthcare plan.

Overall the blog offers an interesting perspective, delving into issues in the public health field with insight and a great deal of knowledge. He seems to write rather simply, in that his posts do not assume he is offering any great insight into the complexities of not only healthcare but society in general, but that he is simply doing so in his own voice.
Even the title of his blog seems to downplay his authority.
In removing the g from fixing one conjures thoughts of a southern accent (he is from the south after all), and in doing so it seems as if he is simply offering his thoughts on the issue rather than presenting them as ideas from someone of great authority.
That is where his blog is most successful. His rich writing style invokes enables his readers to ponder his thoughts while inevitably probing the deeper questions that arise.

The issue of universal health care has become a hotly debated topic in the race for the White House. Before it became Hillary v. Obama for the Democratic ticket, every dem in the race touted their plan for some form of universal coverage. That being said, the idea of a universal health care system raises an enormous amount of questions. First and foremost, how will we pay for it? Aside from education, this issue will become a major factor on Election Day. Making health care coverage mandatory, as Hillary Clinton proposes, does not solve the problem. Many things in this country are “mandatory” adhering to laws is “mandatory” but it does not mean every American will be covered. No Republican candidate supports a push for universal health care, although each is quick to point out how “broken the system is.” Perhaps Obama has the right idea, in providing a national insurance plan for those that do not already have employer-provided coverage. Something to consider, can we say categorically that universal health care works? No, we cannot because as with almost an government sponsored program there are problems. Look at countries with universal coverage, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, Canada even Cuba! America is the only wealthy, industrialized country without it. While it may be embarrassing to say we fall behind Cuba in this area we have to ask, is universal health care a real possibility in this country? Personally, at this point in time, I do not think it is. That is not to say I do not believe it to be a wonderful possibility and a beautiful idea. In 2005 the National Coalition on Health Care estimated that approximately sixteen percent of the population or 47 million Americans are without health insurance. Since 2000 the number has increased by almost 7 million. With the problems that plague this country, and the bureaucracy and politics, is it realistic to hope that one candidate can single-handedly reform the broken system?

Students, no matter what they study, are unique instruments for social change. is a blog created by a group of public heath graduate students as a result of a student summit at Boston University. The students, current or recent grads, the “mongers” as they call themselves, post on no regular basis. The authors post based on new information and studies conducted in the field.
The site itself has no tracking of its popularity, although there is some indication as to the frequency of visits based on comments visitors make, and the number of comments made to each blog post. Each of the most recent blog posts has at least two comments made from visitors. These comments suggest not only the site has frequent visitors, but more importantly the posts incite discussion.

The site offers a unique look at issues in the field of public health because it is student run. As students, who are currently gaining knowledge of public health, they have a distinct perspective. The analysis of these current issues offers a fresh point of view and another examination of public health issues which are so important nationally and internationally. Perusing the site I uncovered two interesting posts, one of which commented on the documentary Boys of Baraka a documentary about a group of adolescent black males in inner city Baltimore and their experience in a Kenyan school district.
I discovered another interesting post on how much human behavior can be linked to genetic origins and how much is influenced by one’s environment. The post, Gene-environment interaction: a red herring? poses questions on how much we can really “blame” ones genes for the diseases people get.

“In other words, is it fat people’s problem that they are fat? Gay people’s problem that they are more at risk for HIV? Sorry, it’s not the cigarettes that have caused your lung cancer, it’s your genes. It’s not too big of a leap to end up thinking of susceptibility as personal responsibility (in the U.S. at least, we live in an “ownership society”, right?).
And once we’re there then couldn’t health insurance companies start jacking up rates for people with a certain predisposition to cancer? That doesn’t seem like a road we want to go down.”

What is so wonderful about discovering this blog is how much it parallels what I hope my own blog will be. Students, who must constantly question what they know in order to learn, can be the next generation’s best hope for change. Within the field of public health issues are not only relevant for those professionals and students, but for everyone as these are issues, which are in are national interest to address. Facing the spread of disease, lack of access to care, an increasingly bureaucratic and frustrating health care system, and a continuing clash between government and public health officials it is very important Americans are aware of the topics being discussed.
As students, the writers of the healthmongers blog offer a unique academic and scholarly perspective. Without forums such as this, where students can come together to discuss their thoughts and ideas how could one be encouraged to think critically and thoughtfully about the field of public health and what we are currently facing within it. Additionally, the blog frequently cites scholarly articles and studies recently published which shed light on issues and generate discussion, like their post on the issue of how genetics and environment interact. 

What is unique about this blog is its ability to marry the scholarly with the more contemporary popular issues. That being said, the same is true for the field of public health in general. So much of what is discussed and researched on a daily basis are issues, which effect people each day. Therefore as students their advanced study of the field paired with their perspective as members of a younger generation offers an intriguing examination of public health and issues that face each of us, issues ranging from healthcare coverage, to disease. They are members of a generation uniquely poised to tackle these issues. The posts offered by the authors are not extremely detailed, never offering too much analysis. Short, general posts on major topics offer readers the chance to think. As students they are encouraging their readers to be students. To take what they have learned, even if it is brief, and question it. Examine it from all sides, kick it around and play with it until the reader has drawn his or her own conclusions from it.
The “mongers” have it right. We need more forums for discussion on the topic of public health, certainly not less. Blogs like theirs provide, in my opinion, a public service. How else can we be expected to challenge the problems we face without questions and open dialogue? Students are our last best hope. At the cusp of a new era in American history we have the power to effect change. These students are doing that the best way they can with this new fangled technology called blogging.

There is an old Haitian proverb, beyond mountains there are mountains.
The origins of it are unknown. I came across this proverb at the beginning of a book that changed my life.
The book, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, is about Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard educated physician who set out to save the world.
We live in cynical times, there is no denying it. Gone are the days of the idealistic belief that one person can change the world; we have entered the time of cautious optimism.
We believe that people can do good, can effect change, but only to a point.
I think this is why Kidder’s book inspired me. Paul Farmer took the education he had, the training and his own ego and set out to rid Haiti of infectious disease.
After putting the book down, I thought, “the world needs more people like this!”
I have always been too idealistic for my own good, I am the kind of person who thinks all people are basically good. Kidder’s book reaffirmed my belief.
It inspired me to be passionate about healthcare, particularly for those who have none.

Beyond mountains there are mountains.

Are the problems we face insurmountable? This is perhaps one meaning behind this proverb.
When we climb one mountain, are we simply faced with the realization that there are more problems on the horizon?

Beyond mountains there are mountains.

Is it better than to take the opposite view?
Does climbing one mountain simply present the opportunity to climb more, are our opportunities to change the world inexhaustible?

Beyond mountains there are mountains.

Perhaps it is a little of both.We can see what lies in front of us, the challenges we face in the field of public health, and find renewed strength in knowing the chances to change what we see abound.
I have a hope for the world. I hope that my generation can effect great change. I hope that I can be a part of that.
I believe that prevention and education are the cornerstones of changing how disease affects the world.
I hope that my blog will offer some insight into issues in public health that impact us all.
Perhaps I am too idealistic for my own good, but I see that beyond mountains there are mountains and I will continue to climb.