Abramson, J.H. (1992). Survey Methods in Community Medicine. NY: Churchill. Good basic text on public health research methods.
Ahlbom, A. (1993). Biostatistics for Epidemiologists. Boca Raton: Lewis Publishers. Good explanations of biostatistical procedures used by epidemiologists: p-value/confidence intervals; incidence/prevalence; crude/stratified analyses; multivariate models; exposure levels; meta-analysis. If you don't like mathematical formulas, skip it.
American Geological Institute. (2011). Environmental Science: Understanding our Changing Earth. Cengage Learning. An excellent textbook that provides a basic foundation in earth science that you can use to better understand what needs to be done to ensure environmental health. Easy to understand.
Bauman, K. (1980). Research Methods for Community and Health and Welfare. NY: Oxford University Press. Good research text.
Cartin, T.J. (1993). Principles & Practices of TQM. Believe it or not, Quality is not only a health-based concept. It became the foundation for an engineering perspective that seeks to proactively address poor manufacturing processes by taking a preventive rather than just a corrective approach. (Hmmm, sounds like Public Health to me.) Quality became the core concept for a whole industry philosophy known as Total Quality Management (TQM). Though written by an electrical engineer, it's actually not that technical that you wouldn't understand it without an engineering degree. A good in-depth but not too overwhelming intro to the whole concept of TQM as it is being applied in Industry today. If you happen to be working in a setting that's trying to adopt TQM, don't be too surprised that it's not being done right. According to Cartin, it can take up to 5 years to implement, and that's with the cooperation of everyone in the entire organization. But, it does work and makes any company that adopts it a lean and mean machine that's competitive enough to survive in a lean and mean competitive marketplace.
I can't see TQM happening in any bureaucracy with more than two levels in the hierarchy (and that's a rarity if there ever was such an organization that would consider itself a bureaucracy). You should thank your lucky stars that the Government Performance and Results Act ever got passed in 1993. Now at least government agencies will have to make an effort to be accountable to the Public. Though not exactly TQM, it will probably take at least 5 years, if not longer to see some results.
TQM probably works best when a business that started off as a mom and pop enterprise turns out to be a smashing commercial success that it can't help but expand. In this kind of fertile environment TQM can really provide a good framework for business growth so that bureaucracies do not take over and snuff out the originality and creativity of the moms and pops who started them out to begin with. Milwaukee, WI: ASQC Quality Press.
Cottrell, R.R., Girvan, J.T., McKenzie, J.F.(2009). Principles and Foundations of Health Promotion and Education. CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings. The definitive basic textbook that covers what health promotion and health education is all about. Early chapters provide a background of health education as a profession, a history of health and health education, philosophical and theoretical foundations as well as ethics and health education. A chapter covers the credentialing of health educators, and subsequent chapters cover settings where health educators may work in, agencies they may deal with, health education literature and future trends regarding the health education profession. If you are thinking of becoming a health educator, then you should read this textbook.
Dever, G.E.A. (1997). Improving Outcomes in Public Health Practice. THE BEST TEXT FOR USING TQM METHODOLOGIES IN PUBLIC HEALTH. Simply the best in applying the principles of total quality management to public health practice. Generous examples of how to apply such methods as control charts to evaluating the effectiveness of public health programs. MD: Aspen Publications.
Fairbanks, J., & Wiese, W.H. (1998). The Public Health Primer. CA: Sage Publications. BEST INTRODUCTORY TEXT TO PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTICE. Indisputably the most readable text I've read on public health practice. While Scutchfield & Keck's Principles of Public Health Practice is more detailed about the various disciplines of public health, Fairbanks & Wiese take a more comprehensive approach to providing the best overview I've seen of what it's like to work in Public Health. You can tell the authors have been in the field, and have managed to distill what's most important to know if you want to be a public health professional. Don't miss Chapter 10's magnificient overview of what health planning entails, and a very easy-to-understand section on the various health behavior theories, paradigms, etc. Presenting these concepts in typological fashion is the way these concepts should be taught.
Fitz-Gibbon, C.T., & Morris, L.L. (1987). How to Design a Program Evaluation. #3 of The Program Evaluation Kit, 2nd Edition. CA:Sage Publications. A how-to on designing evaluation studies. Covers Control Group, Time Series and Before-After designs. An excellent chapter on randomizing your population using the HRD (handy randomizing deck) technique.
Friis, R.H. & Sellers, T.A. (1996). Epidemiology for Public Health Practice. MD:Aspen Publishers. A comprehensive reference text for any public health professional, detailing the application of Epidemiology to every day public health tasks. Very good.
Gladwell, Malcolm (2000). The Tipping Point. NY: Little, Brown and Company. A great book that looks at the social phenomenon of cultural change using the analogy of disease epidemics. Connectors, salesmen and mavens are people who spread, by word-of-mouth, societal change. And, the next time someone brags that s/he knows over 150 people you will be able to call her/him a liar. Gladwell's tipping point is the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back. Perhaps, public health practitioners may benefit from the author's contention that you can bring about behavioral change by using the right people to spread your message. A must-read.
Green, L.W., Kreuter, M.W., Deeds, S.G., & Partridge,K.B. (1980). Health Education Planning: A Diagnostic Approach. CA:Mayfield Publishing Co. The Community Health Education classic that is a must-read for anyone who wants to a certified health education specialist (CHES). The emphasis on the theory behind program planning will allow you to understand much of the health education research being conducted today.
Hale, C.D., Arnold, F., & Travis, M.T. (1994). Planning and Evaluating Health Programs. A Primer. NY:Delmar Publishing Inc. An excellent basic text for the certified health education specialist. How-to chapters on writing proposals, budgets, planning documents. Will help you to understand how all SCSU's courses contribute to the theory behind the skills needed to be a health educator. Covers program planning, evaluation; health planning methods: demography, epidemiology, health services research, budgeting, implementation strategies; management information systems. Includes two sample written plans.
Halperin, W., Baker, E.L., & Monson, R.R. (1992). Public Health Surveillance. NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold. This book can be viewed as a companion text to Teutsch & Churchill's theoretical approach to surveillance. Provides a good overview of the practice of surveillance in public health today. Written mostly by CDC staff, and a few involved with surveillance in the non-public health sector, this text will give you a good idea of just how much theory can actually be applied to real-life situations, and what can and cannot be accomplished with surveillance activities.
Hallinan, Joseph T. (2009). Why We Make Mistakes. NY: Broadway Books. An excellent insightful look at all the different kinds of mistakes that are made, which according to Hallinan can be corrected if we would only look at them objectively. An excellent example is how surgical deaths were reduced simply when anesthesiologists became aware that manufacturing differences caused mistakes in how the anesthesia were administered, and that just by standardizing the knobs reduced deaths. The author finds many examples in our daily lives that cause one to wonder why errors are constantly made when they don't have to be. Excellent read about the human foibles that plague us all.
Institute of Medicine. (1994) Health Data in the Information Age. Uses, Disclosure, and Privacy. WASH,DC: National Academy Press. As usual, IOM takes on another issue with health policy ramifications that will continue to plague us into the next century. A good scholarly book on what health data are, the problems with storing such data in national databases, and some ideas on what can be done to safeguard such data for the sake of privacy. Read my review in Data Quality.
Institute of Medicine, Committee for the Study of the Future of Public Health. (1988) The Future of Public Health. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. The DEFINITIVE CRITIQUE ABOUT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM. If you are interested in Public Health, you should read this book so you know what you are getting into. If you are already in Public Health, well, it's not all in your head....
Kazandjian, V.A. (1995). The Epidemiology of Quality. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers. A good text that covers what is currently known about outcomes research - theory and practice. While the author pitches the use of epidemiologic methods in organizing health data, he doesn't effectively support his contention by the way the chapters are organized. Chapter 8 is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand what Continuing Quality Improvement is all about.
Kimball, M.A. (2003). The Web Portfolio Guide. Creating Electronic Portfolios for the Web. NY: Longman. A manual that tries to meet the needs of several audiences - students, graduates and teachers - on how to create an online portfolio. Though Kimball devotes only one chapter to the academic professional, the entire book reads like it was meant for the teacher rather than for students. For sure, to make the most of this textbook, if it were to be used in class, the teacher must be Net-saavy enough to provide the technical expertise needed to make the most of the manual. Though repetitious on some points, it does provide a sequential approach to the planning, designing and revising of a Web portfolio, and does provide information about graphics and the hands-on tasks needed to keep the portfolio current. Provides insight on what to think about in putting together any portfolio (now being preferred over just a mere resume or CV for some professions) to show off what you can do to a potential employer.
Kosecoff, J., & Fink, A. (1982). Evaluation Basics. A Practitioner's Guide. CA: Sage Publications. Excellent for research design.
Lorig, K., Stewart, A., Ritter, P., Gonzalez, V., Laurent, D., & Lynch, J. (1996). Outcome Measures for Health Education and other Health Care Interventions. CA: Sage Publications. The appendices are the most useful part of this text, which extrapolates from the authors' experiences with the Chronic Disease Management Program. Samples of various health measurement surveys are included with some information about how to use them for evaluating health education programs.
Luntz, F. (2007). Words that Work. It's not What You Say, It's What People Hear. NY: Hyperion. Luntz is a political consultant whose sideline is studying how language impacts the message. Through the use of focus groups and other qualitative methods, he has come up with ways to get the message across to the audience he wants to reach. But his manta throughout the book is "It's not what you say, it's what people hear," which is sage advice for any health educator trying to get a message across. The book is worth reading if you can overlook his partisan views.
Mailbach, E., & Marrott, R.L. (editors) (1995). Designing Health Messages. CA: Sage Publications. An excellent literature review approach to developing health education/health promotion campaigns to get your health message across. An excellent attempt in showing how to apply health behavior theory to the real-world application of health education in a world of the multiple subpopulations you want to reach. Can we change health behavior? It depends.
McKenzie, J.F., Neiger, B.L, & Thackeray, R. (2009). Planning, Implementing and Evaluating Health Promotion Programs. A Primer. Fifth Edition. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings. Remains the definitive textbook for program planning, implementation and evaluation. This textbook contains updates from previous editions regarding the revised areas of responsibility and competencies for certified health education specialists, expanded sections about the Generalized Model for Program Planning, intervention mapping, program rationale writing, new data collection processes, measurement and sampling, the Health Action Process Approach (HAPA), the Community Readiness Model (CRM), best practices and intervention development, mapping community capacity, budget preparation, grant funding, safety and ethical issues surrounding program implementation, purposes for evaluation, process evaluation and pre- and pilot-testing.
McKenzie,J.F, Pinger, R.R. & Kotecki, J.E. (2005). An Introduction to Public Health. Fifth Edition MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers. An excellent introductory textbook to the practice of Public Health. Comprehensively covers the scope of what Public Health is all about. Best textbook ever!
Mukherjee, Siddhartha. (2010). The Emperor of All Maladies NY: Scribner. The DEFINITIVE history of cancer! Mukherjee, a physician, is a gifted writer who made reading about the most dreaded disease to plague mankind for centuries a must-read. As he provides an historical narrative of how cancer has been around for so long, he also provides a companion narrative of the various treatments for various cancers over time. He offers the hope that we may someday conquer the dreaded disease in its many manifestations because of how our medical knowledge has changed Man's approach to conquering the disease. Reading this book will help you appreciate that cancer cells, like humans, will do anything to survive. We just have to survive longer than they do.
Muraskin, L.D. (1993). Understanding Evaluation: The Way to Better Prevention Programs. U.S. Department of Education: Westat, Inc. While the emphasis is on drug abuse prevention programs, it is really a manual for developing program process/outcome/impact evaluations. Straightforward approach by outlining what questions you want to ask when evaluating the effectiveness of any social service/public health program.
National Cancer Institute. (2005). ; This free publication, based on the work of Drs. Barbara K. Rimer and Karen Glanz, provides a succinct, yet comprehensive textbook on health behavior theories and concepts that everyone working in Public Health should read and know. Explanations are to the point and supported by examples that practitioners can relate to. What I found most useful are Table 11, "Summary of Theories: Focus and Key Concepts" and Figure 10, "Using Theory to Plan Multilevel Interventions." Both will provide basic information, at a glance, of what you need to think about when planning a public health program.
Page, R.M., Cole, G.E. & Timmreck, T.E. (1995). Basic Epidemiological Methods and Biostatistics: A Practical Guide Book. Boston, MA:Jones and Bartlett Publishers. 1995. THE BEST EPIDEMIOLOGY/BIOSTATISTICS TEXTBOOK FOR LEARNING ALL THE BASICS. Besides providing the best history of Epidemiology I've seen in print, the authors take the reader through epidemiologic investigations, and give the best explanation of hypothesis testing that can be found in a biostatistics text.
Reagen, P.A. & Brookins-Fisher, J. (2002). Community Health in the 21st Century. CA: Benjamin Cummings. A decent, broad introduction to the world of Public Health, with an emphasis on women's health.
Roueche, B. (1988). The Medical Detectives. NY: Truman Talley Books.A great read about epidemiologists at work. Makes me want to get back to Epidemiology.
Royse, David (1995). Research Methods in Social Work. 2nd Edition. Chicago:Nelson-Hall Publishers. BEST RESEARCH METHODS BOOK FOR SOCIAL SCIENCE. Takes a very easy-to-understand view on how to conduct research. Excellent chapters on survey research, questionnaire development, how to collect, analyze data and report your findings.
Schneider, M. J. (2011). Introduction to Public Health (3rd ed). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. A very good textbook about the basics of Public Health practice, the various issues facing practitioners today. Excellent coverage of everything pertaining to public health practice.
Scutchfield, F.D., & Keck, C.W. (1997). Principles of Public Health Practice. NY: Delmar Publishers. THE DEFINITIVE TEXT ON PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTICE. Though Public Health has been around for over a hundred years, practitioners have only decided to come together recently to document what we should be doing if we are to call ourselves public health professionals. Why it has taken so long is anyone's guess. The impetus for this effort can be probably attributed to the Institute of Medicine (IOM)'s 1988 critique of public health practice as it existed in the early 80s - which the book does reference and tries to address the problems IOM has identified. A must for ALL public health practitioners.
Skloot, Rebecca (2010). The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks NY: Crown Publishers. This is the fascinating story of an African American woman who died from an extremely rare aggressive form of cervical cancer, but her cancer cells continue to live on even today, some 50+ years later. These cells have been used for medical research all these years and have tremendously enhanced Science's understanding of many diseases and phenomena that would not have been possible without the availability of living human cells that can be grown outside the human body.
Skloot has done a wonderful job in raising the reader's awareness of who this woman was and the contributions her cells have made to Science and Medicine. You will also get to learn about her life, her family and what happened to her children and grandchildren. And, you will really want to know all about Henrietta, and how wonderful she was to people who knew her, and how great the loss was when she died, at the age of 30.
You will also develop an appreciation of the lives of African-Americans growing up in the South and the kinds of family relationships they grew up in. And, you will understand why it is so important to communicate clearly what it is you want to say to avoid any misunderstanding. Perhaps, the saddest lesson to come out of this book is how no one in the medical establishment ever bothered to explain to Henrietta's family what happened to her. It took this writer to right the wrong experienced by this family for so many years. If I could request an author to write my biography, I would request Skloot. Great book, not to be missed!
Stroup, D.F., & Teutsch, S.M. (1998). Statistics in Public Health: Quantitative Approaches to Public Health Problems. NY: Oxford University Press. THE BEST FOR USING STATISTICS IN PUBLIC HEALTH. An excellent textbook on the appropriate use of statistics in solving public health problems. An excellent chapter on the basic principles of statistics is worth buying the book for. Covers everything from conducting needs assessments to program planning and development and how to best use statistics in such tasks. A companion text for Teutsch's other great book, Principles of Public Health Surveillance.
Tenner, Edward (1996). Why Things Bite Back. Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences. NY: Vintage Books. Is a futurist only as good as his predictions realized? A decade after its publication, Tenner's book is still as relevant as ever. Though I didn't mean to "test" his hypotheses, it just took me this long to get to this book, in 2005, and it was worth all the time I could spend with it (among everything else I had to do and read along the way). All the "ghosts in the machines" we nonchalantly refer to when things don't work right may be "spirits" we need to appease, after all!
Tenner posits that while Man has made the most of Technology to improve our lives, our creations have come back to haunt our peace of mind. Unlike God's creations, which are basically self-perpetuating and ecologically appropriate, what Man creates, however, through Technology cannot sustain themselves, but must be nurtured with vigilance. When all we were looking for were time-saving devices to make our lives easier (i.e., washing machines), the broader outcome turns out to be the need to use the time we have saved in doing tedious tasks of daily living to maintaining the systems we thought would take care of themselves (self-correcting, right!).
Tenner sees the development of systems (which is the basic idea behind quality assurance and quality management) as not the blessings we thought they would be, but a way to complicate our need to sustain them by spending more time keeping them running smoothly, or heaven help us all if something should break down. Because Technology is so good at standardizing things, personalization has lost its edge to the point that we no longer own things, but they own us. He is probably right we may never see the paperless office we envisioned when computers and fax machines replaced typewriters, and we will always need the car mechanic (who must now be computer saavy) when the dream machines being developed are electronic systems that cannot be tinkered with by the weekend mechanic. Can "I, Robot" be far behind?
Tenner actually spends several chapters on how Technology has affected Medicine and Public Health (this book covers everything, believe me), and actually provides a very insightful explanation as to why medical errors have become the par for course, when we think that an MRI will reveal everything we will ever need to know about our health. To some extent, this is true, but we will need someone now who knows how to read those MRIs.... As Health Care becomes more reliant on machines to diagnose and treat, we can only suffer from the revenge effects of complicating the whole process of diagnosis and treatment.
Perhaps, Tenner's perspective explains why the fracturing of health services we are seeing today is really a result of our growing and unrealistic expectations of what Medicine should be doing for us - that Technology can surely cure everything that ails us, regardless of how we treat our bodies and minds. And, what about Public Health? The ability to build high smokestacks allowed industries to comply with local clean air standards only to spread their pollution over a broader geographic area...
Tenner is the 21st Century Renaissance Man who will hopefully not meet the fate of Cassandra. His book is a must-read for developing a mindset that will be needed to understand the sometimes self-defeating approaches Civilization takes towards Life. Technology must be understood in order to be harnessed. While Technology's children has brought much joy into our lives, they must be disciplined so they will grow up to be productive adults that will contribute than be a weight on society.
Teutsch, S.M. & Churchill, R.E. (1994). Principles of Public Health Surveillance. NY: Oxford University Press. An in-depth look at the practice of public health surveillance and how to analyze surveillance data. Bound to be a classic for the discipline.
The American Geological Institute. (2011).Environmental Science: Understanding our Changing Earth. Cengage Learning. A great introduction to Earth Science that provides a basic understanding of why humans need to be stewarts of the environment.
Tsiaras, Alexander (2005). The Invision Guide to A Healthy Heart. NY: HarperCollins Publishers. A visually stunning book about cardiovascular health illustrated with medical imaging graphics. If you want to read about how to have a healthy heart, what disease does to the heart, and how to prevent disease, this book will captivate you from beginning to end.
Tufte, E.R. (1997). Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. CT: Graphics Press. An art historian look at how data are presented in a variety of formats. Not very technical, heavily illustrated. Has one chapter about statistical analysis. Has the best write-up (of all textbooks) about Snow's investigation of the 1854 London Cholera Epidemic.
U.S.H.H.S./U.S. Public Health Service/CDC. (1992). Using Chronic Disease Data. Handbook for Public Health Practitioners. Using available US government statistics for research: mortality data, hospital discharge data, behavioral risk factor data; age-adjustment techniques; categorizing diseases; legislative mandates regarding data.
Weiss, M.J. (2000). The Clustered World.Boston: Little, Brown and Company. Here is the primer about Geodemographics, a new up and coming approach to marketing that can probably be used to great advantage in public health. The premise of geodemographics is we are where we live, and what we consume. This is really an ideal approach for targeting populations for public health interventions when most of what affects our health include where we live and what we consume (almost common sense if you think about it). Highly recommended.
Aday, L.A., Begley, C.E., Lairson,D.R. & Slater, C.H. (1998). Evaluating the Healthcare System. Effectiveness, Efficiency and Equity. IL: Health Administration Press. Slightly dated when I read it - like it's now AHRQ and not AHCPR, and HEDIS is no longer 2.5 (1/2002), it still remains an excellent basic textbook on how to develop rational health policy. The authors take a truly Public Health approach by looking at health services as part of a more global picture of what Health is all about. It introduces the "Deliberative Justice" paradigm to ensuring equitable health policy that makes more sense than the distributive justice approach of health services and the social justics approach of public health. Don't miss this book if you are interested in health policy.
Howard, P.K. (1996). The Death of Common Sense. How Law is Suffocating America. NY: Random House. Written by a lawyer, with integrity, who obsessess over the loss of what Law is supposed to accomplish in society. A good look at how environmental laws (unfortunately) have become so complicated that they no longer serve the original purposes they were intended for. Also, an insider's account of why proliferation of laws justifies a similar proliferation of lawyers and bureaucrats to make sense of it all while the public mourns the death of....
Institute of Medicine (1993). Access to Health Care in America. WASH,DC: National Academy Press. One of IOM's weaker studies concerning the development of indicators to assess to health services. This study was undertaken by those in IOM who were troubled by what they perceived as problems of health services access, particularly those who are part of disadvantaged groups. While the indicators they have selected are useful, the rationale for using these indicators is muddled by biases that are understandable but inexcusable for reports of this nature. Appendices are in-depth looks at access problems for those with HIV, drug abuse and the homeless. Unfortunately, these looks are more essays than evaluative in their approach and may turn off those who are looking for "harder" facts to support what may seem obvious but unfortunately cannot be used to develop good health policy.
Monheit,A.C., Wilson,R., Arnett,III,R.H. (editors) (1999). Informing American Health Care Policy. The Dynamics of Medical Expenditure and Insurance Surveys, 1977-1996. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. A thoughtful collection of historical essays that serve to document the development and utilization of surveys for policymaking. Really provides an inside look at how federal bureaucrats do their best to conduct survey research while dealing with the ever-changing tide of politics and uncertain funding. This book will definitely provide a good background as to why you can forget about ever getting any trend analyses done with health insurance data as it has been collected for close to a quarter of a century, and why the complexity of health insurance today is just begging for a one-payor solution that would streamline health services research that can be used for good policy making.
U.S. G.A.O. (May, 1997).(GAA/HEHS/GGD-970138) Managing for Results. Analytic Challenges in Measuring Performance. An evaluation of how federal agencies are doing in trying to meet the GPRA (Government Performance and Results Act of 1993) requirements. While it is understandable why federal agencies balk at coming up with performances measures, it is an important step towards professional accountability to those who pay the bills.
Winchester, S. (2005). A Crack in the Edge of the World. America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 NY: HarperCollins Publishers. A truly fascinating read about an event that happened 100 years ago. It is easy how fast we can forget the catastrophic events that happened to those who lived through it long enough to give eyewitness accounts of such happenings. Winchester is a wonderful writer who manages to make an historical event interesting and suspenseful. He spends the first half of the book providing the various perspectives that will serve as a firm foundation for the reader to appreciate the final description of the actual event.
You get learn about geology (if Geology was taught this way in the schools, maybe there would be more geologists), the cultural temperature of the 1800s, a mini history lesson of the wild West (if History was taught.....), and a wonderful history of the city of San Francisco itself, and its place in California history and politics. Those interested in Public Health may find this book useful in studying the aftermath of natural disasters, and all the problems that affect the Public Health in such instances.
However, the spirit of this book is a travelogue of a passionate geologist who travels the wonders of the Western U.S., taking in the wondrous sites of places that will eventually succumb to the eventual catastrophic outpouring of the tectonic plates that move under us, most notably the infamous San Andreas Fault. Don't say that you have not been warned.... Excellent read.
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