Many of the dominant public health topics of the past two years, including smallpox, SARS, avian influenza, and mad cow disease, illustrate the complex relationship between the science of public health and infectious diseases and the practice of public health and politics.
Emory University administrator and former CDC director Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH, will bring his personal views and experiences to bear on the critical interactions among government and the scientific and public health communities as he delivers a plenary lecture at the 4th International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases on Tuesday, March 2 at 8:30 am at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
Dr. Koplan's lecture will illustrate how outstanding public health achievements can be realized through the convergence of innovation, persistence and luck, combined with the necessary political will and public policy to support change. He will focus on three major themes:
o A blending of science, public health and politics is not incompatible, and is in fact necessary to improve the public's health
o The impact of politics on public health becomes dangerous only when a subtle line is crossed in which policy is dictated by ideology
o Every field of public health, including infectious diseases, must acknowledge that progress is related to the strength of other public health fields, including health education, epidemiology and statistics, and health economics.
Dr. Koplan will discuss ways in which the linkages among scientific innovation and public policy have converged to support major public health accomplishments, and he will outline present-day challenges that threaten to undermine the effective practice of public health.