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HPH Weekly: The U.S. public health data system is weak. Here’s how we fix it.

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Written by
Jo Zhou
January 18, 2024
Read Time
2 min

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The U.S. public health data system is weak. Here’s how we fix it.

Illustration: Green binary code on a black surface with an earthquake-like crack through the center.
Source image: wildpixel / iStock

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many weaknesses in the U.S. health system. Perhaps the most glaring was our inability to effectively collect, share, and use data to save lives. Michelle A. Williams and Gabriel Seidman lay out a path forward. It won’t be cheap, they acknowledge, but the life-saving benefits will be well worth it.

Review: Death in Custody by Roger A. Mitchell and Jay D. Aronson

Book cover: "Death in Custody: How America Ignores the Truth and What we Can Do about it." By Roger A Mitchell Jr MD and Jay D Aronson, PHD. The book cover is of jail cell bar shadows and the text is in bright red. The cover is on a red speckled background.
Book cover: Johns Hopkins University Press

In their new book Death in Custody, Jay D. Aronson and Roger A. Mitchell Jr. argue that a more rigorous and transparent process of collecting data about how people die while in custody is critical to fighting racial injustice. Public health as a field has thrown its weight behind tracking health inequities for pretty much every group except people who are confined. Aronson and Mitchell want to change that. “Death in Custody … highlights that injustice extends into how we record, remember, and tell the story of the deceased,” writes our reviewer, C. Brandon Ogbunu. He thinks the book may inspire a new field: death equity studies.

Climate change’s hidden mental toll on children

Two boys and other family members stand in the bed of a vehicle, watching wildfires in the distance in their neighborhood of Benito’s village, Spain. The sky glows orange and a blue glow is cast on the figures’ faces.
Arturo Rodriguez / AP Photo

The climate crisis affects nearly every aspect of human life—including, as Burcin Ikiz reports for Think Global Health, the long-term neurological and mental well-being of children. As kids are exposed to extreme weather events, air pollution, and other side effects of climate change, their still-developing brains may suffer lifelong damage.

This article was originally published in Think Global Health.

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Filed Under
Jo Zhou
Jo Zhou is the social media manager and audience engagement specialist at Harvard Public Health. Read more from Jo Zhou.