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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael C. Sharp, MD (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine)
Description: This book addresses a number of child public health issues from the perspective of the healthcare system in the United Kingdom.
Purpose: The purpose is to bridge the gap between child health and community pediatrics as practiced in the U.K. The notion of learning how to do this is an exciting one for U.S. readers; our gap appears so much larger than in the U.K.
Audience: The audience includes public health officials, policy makers, managed care administrators struggling with issues of child health promotion and disease prevention, child health advocates, and health and medical educators.
Features: The book is compact and attractive though with rare illustration. The references are current and the contributors are authoritative. The topics chosen for inclusion in this first edition include such traditional ones as vision screening. These are the least thought provoking, dealing with technical issues rather than such major barriers to universal screening as the organizational ones. A chapter on parental involvement reveals a parallel development to the one in the U.S. on parent-professional collaboration. It appears that the unfortunately slow developments in the U.S. are similar to the rate of true partnership development in the U.K.
Assessment: Chapter one states "child public health thus implies a very broad concept, taking professionals away from the narrow experience of specialized institutions into the community, making them aware of the social context in which children live to better understand their health problems, and also the need to promote genuine interdisciplinary and inter-professional team working." The book reveals the difficulty in realizing such a vision and largely fails to help define the strategies for forging such collaboration. The last chapter finally claims the territory that deserves exploration, "strengthening community action...enabling people (listening to them, increasing their skills, making them self confident), mediating and advocating.