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My most optimistic moments these days seem to incline towards the future. Public health has won some long hard fights, from the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to the widespread use of seat belts. What inspires me most are notes like this one from a (slim) friend, working in a remote rural village before medical school, who is merely amused by questions from her local colleagues: “So how come you are fat?”, “Do you have friends that are boys? Why?”, “You don’t know how to make chapattis?!! So what will happen after marriage?”.
John M Last, MD DPH, the distinguished emeritus professor of Epidemiology and Community Medicine at the University of Ottawa, has produced a Dictionary of Public Health. A blue-ribbon set of advisors across disciplines and borders supported the effort. His estimable career has included numerous classics, including four successful editions …