Ethics. Research. Community.

Public opinion about public health--United States, 1999.

MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
Previous surveys have documented a substantial gap in the public's understanding and attitudes about public health (1). The Pew Charitable Trusts, a Philadelphia-based philanthropy that supports nonprofit activities in the areas of culture, education, the environment, health and human services, public policy, and religion, commissioned two firms, the Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies, to conduct both qualitative and quantitative research in 1999 to characterize the public's attitudes about public health. In particular, the Pew Charitable Trusts asked the groups to explore 1) perceptions about public health in general, including levels of support and importance compared with other national priorities; 2) opinions about environmental health and its role in causing disease and promoting health; and 3) opinions about the public health infrastructure. This report summarizes the results of this survey, which indicate that the term "public health" is misunderstood, persons are concerned about the quality of the public health system, increased government spending for public health is a greater priority than other key national concerns, and that the public regard environmental factors as important contributors to certain health problems.
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