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Public Health Practice: Past and Present, Article Critique Example

Pages: 2

Words: 438

Article Critique

“Don Quixote, Machiavelli, and Robin Hood: Public Health Practice, Past and Present”

In his 2000 article on public health, author Fitzurgh Mullan talks about the role of the public health official, realizing an account of the evolution of this role through history. The author compares the tasks of the ideal public health official to those of important historical figures, Machiavelli, Don Quixote and Robin Hood. The author’s main point is that the public health official must not resume himself at particular administrative tasks, but must also lead the battles for public health and particularly fulfill the ideas put forward by the founders of this domain. The most important claim of the author is that ‘Robin Hood’, which symbolically represents the need to take from the rich and give to the poor, is disappearing as the state refuses to keep its promise.

The author’ methodological approach is historical review, as suggested from the title: “then and now”, past and present”. Mullan (2000) begins with the appearance of public health as a domain, and continues to explain how it evolved and how the three dimensions of the public health practice evolved. In doing so, the author recounts when and why each of these dimensions were incorporated in the philosophical ideas of the public health official. This historical account is employed in order to reach, at the very end of the article, to the main point, namely, that the ‘Robin Hood’ part of the public health official is disappearing today as a result of the debates concerning the role of the public health department in the provision of medical care.

However, the author argues, this is a crucial role and it is essential particularly today, when so many policies and reforms are against the interests of the poor. Methodologically, the paper explored the issue chronologically, and the reason of this recollection was the advent of the 21st century. The author examined the situation of public health at that particularly significant époque and found that the most important threat is posed to this domain is the loss of ‘Robin Hood’s’ voice, a symbol of the public health’s officer duty to take care of the poor, even if that means taking from the public money.  The author examined the issue logically and the paper was well-structured and clearly organized with subheadings and pictures. However, the paper would have benefited from more practical methodological approach, such as a case study, or some practical example that could confirm the author’s claims.

References

Mullan, F. (2000). “Public health then and now. Don Quixote, Machiavelli, and Robin Hood: public health practice, past and present”. American Journal of Public Health. 90 (5), pp.702-706.

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