The elusiveness of representation

During the early hay days of international development in the 1980s, the limits of conventional top-down, expert-oriented approaches were gaining attention. Before long, the likes of the World Bank, UNDP and Oxfam began to implement cross-cutting participation requirements for their international programs.

By making “people” central to development and ensuring beneficiary participation, development could be more responsible, effective and accountable. Increasing participation also meant that projects had a greater chance of being sustained over time and more relevant to community needs and wants.

This line of thinking was important given alternatives at the time, but how far has it gotten us? Read More...

How our methods shape our work in community health research

On September 16, 2007, Gary Taubes published an editorial piece entitled “Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy” in The New York Times. His paper reviewed the relative public health benefits brought forth by the field of epidemiology, and in addition contrasted the strength of evidence via randomized controlled clinical trials and observational epidemiologic studies. In one concluding statement, Taubes writes “In the process [of trying to make sense of common chronic diseases], the perception of what epidemiologic research can legitimately accomplish– by the public, the press, and perhaps by many epidemiologists themselves– may have run far ahead of the reality.” Read More...

An important new commission targets root causes of health inequity

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced recently that they will launch a “Commission to Build a Healthier America”, becoming the first national, consensus-seeking group to consider solutions outside the medical care system for improving Americans' health Read More...