Jonas Salk developed a vaccine against polio in 1955, reducing the number of U.S. cases from 58,000 in 1952 to just 5,000 in 1957.
In the History of Public Health we will examine the historical experience of health and illness from a population perspective. This material seeks to reveal how the organization of societies facilitates or mitigates the production and transmission of disease. It also asks how do populations and groups of individuals go about securing their health? One key theme is the medical management of space in one form or another – from the public space of the environment through institutional spaces such as schools and workplaces to personal/individual body space. The progression of the lectures reflects this, working “inwards” from the environment to individuals.
The content provides an historical interpretation of how the theory and practice of public health in today’s world has come to be what it is. We will concentrate primarily on the modern world (i.e., 1750 onwards) and omit detailed examination of public health in antiquity and the middle ages, although these time periods will be alluded to frequently. A thematic rather than chronological structure will be adopted so that comparisons can be made across the centuries and between different parts of the globe.