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Making public health history usable: the launch of a new series in JECH
  1. Virginia Berridge
  1. Correspondence to:
 Virginia Berridge
 Centre for History in Public Health, Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT; UK

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The launch of a new series in JECH

Public health is a historically conscious subject, and the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has always published papers that deal with historical topics. In 2004, an editorial appeared which announced the launch of a new series, “Public health past and present”.1 Since then, I have been encouraging historians to present the results of their work to this non-historical audience. After refereeing and reviewing, we are now ready to start the series and the first paper appears in this issue.

The aim is to present the best new historical work to a public health audience, and, in doing so, to bring historical perspectives to bear on current issues, to open up new perspectives on events in the past and thereby to suggest possible avenues for the future.

Public health is already far from history-free. It is common for its leadership to refer to the past in order to provide context or inspiration for the present. Angela Mawle, the UK Public Health Association chief executive, referred to the inspiration provided by Chadwick and the sanitary phase of public health in the 19th century for those battling environmental degradation today, in her introduction to this year’s annual public health forum.2 This is a common way of using …

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