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Public Lecture with Lawrence Wallack
Public Lecture with Lawrence Wallack
WhenWednesday, Feb 6, 2019, 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Campus locationKane Hall (KNE)
Campus room120
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsThe Graduate School, School of Public Health, Department of Communications, School of Social Work

Advancing the First Language of Public Health: Community, Prevention, and Social Justice

The mission of public health—improving the health of populations—focuses on creating conditions in which people can be healthy and is fundamentally about social change. The goal of social change—creating a fairer, more just society—is difficult to advance in public discussion because a language to express the values animating that goal has not been adequately developed.

The first “language” of American culture is individualism. A second American language of community— rooted in progressive social values that are common to the American experience—serves as the first language of social change and the first language of public health. These values resonate with many Americans but are not easily articulated. Also, there is a very strong tradition of not trusting government, particularly “big government,” that is embedded our first language. Consequently, personal-behavioral, individualistic understandings of public health problems prevail. Advancing a social change/public policy approach to the nation’s challenges such as prevention requires invigorating America’s second language by recognizing the underlying core social justice values that are the basis for public health.…
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