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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Shedding Light on Lyme

Thank you for "Two Takes on Lyme," [Fall 2013]. It is refreshing to read an accurate description of the Lyme disease controversy in a publication bearing the name of a respected academic research center.

The groundbreaking work of professors Ying Zhang and Valeria Culotta deserves wide coverage. It reflects well on you and Johns Hopkins for encouraging this important work.

Sherrill Franklin
West Grove, Pennsylvania

Targeting Fake Drugs

I congratulate Gaurvika Nayyar for a lovely article in The Lancet and the nice follow-up by Johns Hopkins Public Health ["A Plague of Fake Meds," Fall 2013].

She has really helped to bring this seedy issue to the fore, and it is now recognized as a global problem of huge proportions--not just in malaria drugs but other medications as well. This could be the beginning of greater global surveillance for drug quality that is clearly needed.

Roger I. Glass, MD, PhD
Director, Fogarty International Center, NIH
via Magazine Comments

A Fitting Tribute

The Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities ["Open Mike," Fall 2013] is a superb and timely multidisciplinary effort, suited well to the Hopkins tradition. What a great way to honor the memory of Wendy!

Jorge F. Trejo, MD, MHS
Jacksonville, Florida
via Magazine Comments

Surgery and Public Health, Part II

Dr. David Bishai's response ["Letters to the Editor," Fall 2013] to the article "Operation Health" [Spring 2013] is alarming and represents a significant denigration of the important advancements that have recently been made in marrying surgery and public health.

Only in the last few years have we begun to recognize and appreciate the important role that surgery and surgeons play in public health. Surgical public health has involved reducing racial, gender and geographic disparity in surgical care, providing safe and effective surgical care in low-resource environments, addressing the surgical workforce shortage through innovative solutions such as task-shifting, and advocating for important public health policy measures that affect surgical patients.

Furthermore, traumatic injury now accounts for more deaths in the developing world than tuberculosis, malaria and HIV combined. Trauma surgeons have the important task of identifying risk factors, advocating for safety measures, developing evidence-based interventions, improving outcomes … under increasingly stretched economic circumstances. These actions are essential to global public health.

Surgery (and surgeons) are crucial to the public health effort at home, where disparity in surgical care is on the rise, and abroad, where surgery can save the lives and improve the well-being of pregnant women, postpartum mothers, survivors of trauma, and many others.

Lily DiGiacomo, MD, MPH '11
Surgical Critical Care Fellow
Oregon Health & Science University

David Bishai, MD, PhD, MPH, responds: There is no disagreement about whether the practice and progress of surgery is essential to the health of people. Dr. DiGiacomo and I are in full agreement here. However, the article blurred boundaries between the terms "practicing surgery" and "practicing public health regarding surgical issues." Both are wonderful things, but they are not the same.

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Launching the Food Issue

Launching the Food Issue

Here’s a taste of the talks at Johns Hopkins Public Health magazine's food issue launch event. The speakers included a farmer, a dean, a researcher and our own former-fry-cook-turned-editor.

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