Fresh off the oven

Public Health, Science, and Policy Debate: Being Right Is Not Enough.

Kenneth Camargo Jr, MD, PhD, and Roy Grant, MA


"Public health is usually enacted through public policies, necessitating that the public engage in debates that, ideally, are grounded in solid scientific findings.

Mistrust in science, however, has compromised the possibility of deriving sound policy from such debates, partially owing to justified concerns regarding undue interference and even outright manipulation by commercial interests. This situation has generated problematic impasses, one of which is the emergence of an anti-vaccination movement that is already affecting public health, with a resurgence in the United States of preventable diseases thought to have been eradicated.

Drawing on British sociologist Harry Collins’ work on expertise, we propose a theoretical framework in which the paralyzing, undue public distrust of science can be analyzed and, it is hoped, overcome."

(Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print December 18, 2014: e1–e4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302241)


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