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The importance of the past in public health
  1. Gabriel Scally,
  2. Justine Womack
  1. Regional Public Health Group, Government Office for the South West, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr G Scally
 Regional Public Health Group, Government Office for the South West, 2 Rivergate, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6ED, UK;


Study objective: To explore the role of history in public health and its relevance to current practice and professional development.

Design: An analysis of the issues surrounding the poor attention paid to the history of public health by its current practitioners.

Setting: The paper is written from the perspective of practitioners in the UK but has wide applicability.

Main results: The paper makes the case that the current neglect of public health history is to the detriment of public health practice.

Conclusions: There is a strong case for more attention to be paid to public health history in professional formation, development, and communication.

  • history
  • public health
  • professional development

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

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