191368 Privacy Goes Public: From TB to Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 4:50 PM

Amy Fairchild, PhD, MPH , Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
Surveillance is the radar of public health. Without it, virtually no public health action would be possible. Yet surveillance holds out not only the promise of disease control, but also the spectre of the loss of privacy and even liberty. Consquently, it has been challenged since the modern era of reporting began with tuberculosis notification. Yet the debates were limited to public health professionals and physicians. Despite the enduring tension between privacy and surveillance, a remarkable transformation occurred between the late 19th century and the 1970s: The public entered the policy debates in a powerful way. Cancer, occupational diseases, birth defects, HIV: all would be marked by active public engagement in the politics of surveillance.

Learning Objectives:
To recognize the role of politics in the practice of public health and identify the interplay with science. To apply a historical framework to the analysis of contemporary policy regarding the control of infectious diseases.

Keywords: Public Health, Privacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Professor in the Center for the History & Ethics of Public Health and Chair of the Sociomedical Sciences Department at the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health. Her work focuses on the intersection of history and public health policy. She is the co-author, with Ronald Bayer and James Colgrove of Searching Eyes: Privacy, the State, and Disease Surveillance in America.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.