Public Health


To the Editors of The Crimson:

The two articles in the Crimson about the Harvard School of Public Health (April 7.8.1982) lack the balance that is to be expected in credible investigative reporting. In the first article major attention is given to intemperate remarks made by a few members of the faculty, omitting the opinions of other faculty and of students who are enthusiastic about the leadership which has moved the School into the forefront of teaching, research, and science on contemporary problems dealing with the health of the public. I would be interested to know the views of Professor Frederick Mosteller, Chairman of Health Policy and Management; of Professor Marvin Zelen, Chairman of Biostatistics; of Professor. Howard Frazier, Director of the Center for the Analysis of Health Practices; of Professor David Bell, Chairman of Population Sciences, to mention but a few. I would like to know also what some of the less-senior faculty would have said, as well as the critically important component of any school, the students.

The second article on the School's finances rightly points out that alumni in public health, unlike the graduates of other schools of the University, are rarely big money makers. Money making is not the incentive for public service, nor is it a measure of its value. The question, then, is whether the School of Public Health should be evaluated on the basis of its endowment or on the contributions it is making to pressing problems of health in our country and elsewhere throughout the world. Despite the shameful federal decrease in support for social programs, including health, the school has continued to address the major national and international problems in public health, and Dean Hiatt's encouragement and remarkable ability to identify sources of financial support have been major factors.

As a visitor rather than a permanent member of the faculty. I suggest that the University should recognize that the School of Public Health, its academic leadership, its faculty, and its students are wonderful and exciting assets which should be treasured rather than tarnished. Alfred Gellhorn, M.D.   Visiting Professor   Chairman, Committee on Community Health