Is social medicine merely a synonym for public health? Ryle thought not. He identified three differences. First, while public health focused on the environment, social medicine concerned itself with the person, “and endeavours to study him in and in relation to his environment”. Whereas public health confined itself to housing, safe water, and sanitation, social medicine included “the whole of the economic, nutritional, occupational, educational, and psychological opportunity or experience of the individual or the community”.
A second difference lay in the scope of disease interest. Public health was mostly identified with communicable disease. By contrast, social medicine had a broader reach—non-communicable diseases, mental health, and injuries. A third distinguishing mark was the embrace by social medicine of the medical social worker: “the organisation of after-care, and the readjustment of the lives of individuals and families disturbed or broken by illness”. Social medicine united the clinical with the public. Ryle summarised the difference between social medicine and public health in this way: “social medicine extends the interest and alters the emphasis of the older public health, just as social pathology extends the interest and alters the emphasis of earlier epidemiological study.”
Do these differences of emphasis matter? They do, although I doubt that anyone today would define “public health” in the narrow terms that Ryle thought appropriate in the 1940s. Still, the proposition of social medicine deserves emphasis, and especially so today—its intellectual breadth, its political and economic depth, its essential humanism. These are the values that underpin this conference.
Our goals are two-fold. To celebrate great work, for sure. The UK has a vibrant socially and politically motivated health research community. It is a community that is inspired by using the best scientific evidence as a platform for political advocacy. This is the great contribution of UK social medicine to global health. A second goal has more to do with using science as an accountability mechanism—holding decision-makers accountable for their promises and commitments. Read the abstracts. They provide a startling running commentary on policies, their successes and often their failures, ranging from the corporate capture of health to the effects of the controversial Health and Social Care Act on the NHS.
The UK is truly fortunate to have such a successful public health (or social medicine) research community. There is only one sadness. It is that those in positions of great power—in Royal (or not) Colleges, professional medical associations, or prestigious academies of medical sciences—repeatedly fail to recognise, let alone use, the products of the research community to advocate for political, economic, and social change. Here is where the comparative advantages of social medicine become clear—engaged, innovative, and visionary. That is what this conference is about.

Research Topics

#publichealth #publichealthnurse #publichealthnerd #PublicHealthAdvocates #publichealthsuffers #publichealthnightmare #PublicHealthVideos #PublicHealthNursing #publichealthsuperhero #publichealthemergency #publichealthheroes #BreastCancer #Breastfeeding #Previvor #BreastCancerAwareness #CancerCommunity #Cancer #CDC #PublicHealth #BringYourBrave #science #cannabis #research #functionalmedicine #integrative #medicine #doctors #metabolism #keto #health

Meet Our Team

The CIDH Public Health Projects

Peter Dunn, MD

Discharge Prediction App

Discharge Prediction App
Discharge Prediction App
Discharge Prediction App
Discharge Prediction App

Kyan Safavei, MD (with MIT)

Discharge Prediction App

Discharge Prediction AppDischarge Prediction AppDischarge Prediction AppDischarge Prediction AppDischarge Prediction App

Justine Cohen, DO

Digital Alert System

Digital Alert System to Notify Patients if their Providers are Running Behind (Ether Dome Challenge)

Kim Blumenthal, MD

Allergy Passport

Allergy Passport: capture and document information about food and drug allergies to help families and make clinical allergy visits more efficient

Lourdes Barros

Virtual Support Groups

Virtual Support Groups that Could be Offered at Varying Days/Times (Ether Dome Challenge)

Justin Jordan, MD, MPH

Virtual Support Groups

Virtual Support Groups that Could be Offered at Varying Days/Times (Ether Dome Challenge)