Opinion: Fixing U.S. public health will require a health-systems revolution — and for physicians to take a backseat

The marginalization of non-biomedical knowledge within public health administration has had catastrophic consequences for population-level health.

A classic warning in public health goes like this: “A society that spends so much on health care that it cannot or will not spend adequately on other health enhancing activities may actually be reducing the health of its population.”

No nation is as guilty of this practice as the United States, with its extremely high health expenditures alongside abysmal population-level health outcomes. But the medical field’s corrosion of public health doesn’t stop at budgets and policies. Through its stranglehold on resources and institutional power, the U.S. medical profession has also come to distort the very definition of public health and what is now widely believed to constitute relevant knowledge.

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