John W. Murphy


Epidemiology has been a regular part of traditional social planning. In this case, the general idea is to determine the level of a problem in certain geographical or social region. Calculations are oft en made, for example, of the incidence and spread of a disease 1. Typically these estimations are based on the presence of various empirical referents, particularly certain demographic and environmental factors. The so-called “new public health” arose against this strategy to design and implement more socially sensitive assessments and interventions2. Some critics contend that this approach can be traced to the Lalonde Report issued by Marc Lalonde, the minister of health in Canada during the early 1970s. In this document the idea was broached that the medical model may have severe limitations, specifically with regard to prevention 3 . Too much emphasis, in short, is devoted to the individual and disease. Accordingly, the focus should be on the “health field” – a more holistic and community-sensitive approach – thereby encouraging a more encompassing strategy to health assessment and the creation of interventions.


Community-based interventions, epidemiology, philosophy

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236