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From The CriticsReviewer: Richard H. Sewell, MPH(University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health)
Description: This book provides an excellent conceptual framework for contemporary public health practice while contributing to a broad understanding, for managers and leaders, of the public health enterprise. A historical context and a flow of logic are presented using the language of current public health reforms. This updates the first edition published in 2001.
Purpose: The editors allow the author of the foreword, Dr. Edward Baker, to express the book's purpose as the provision of tools so that "administration" can be used to translate effective leadership into effective action. This worthy objective is largely met. The tools, however, are presented at a conceptual level and methods and steps are occasionally omitted.
Audience: It is intended for public health leaders and managers, which is an appropriate audience. The contributors are credible authorities on the various public health topics presented.
Features: The second edition offers a population health context for critical topics facing the public health system and public health departments. The best presentations, by topic, are public health definitions and their historical context, workforce, human resources, constituency building, performance management, marketing in public health, and disaster preparedness. The authors of the chapter on defining public health offer a clear progression of public health events and reforms that have shaped the current definition. The workforce chapter is critical reading in understanding the challenges facing the industry. The chapter on public health marketing is fundamental to the development of strategies that overcome systemic public health system problems in changing health behaviors. Throughout the book, tables, figures, and exhibits complement the themes, although some of the longer tables could have been moved to an appendix. In the presentations on the delivery of personal health services in the public health system, insufficient attention is paid to the role of management using an epidemiological framework. The book is contemporary in its treatment of post-reform public health system characteristics, but fails to outline attempts to improve the health of populations through unique approaches to measurement and program design for personal health services. The parallels between closed system managed care systems and public health could have enlightened this discussion. The treatment of assessment and strategic planning in public health failed to adequately distinguish between assessment and planning. The methods component of this chapter is inadequate in guiding readers through the pre-planning phase. Health indicators tended to be limited to health status with inadequate mention of health services measures.
Assessment: This second edition is essential reading for public health managers and leaders. For public health students and practitioners, it is superior to Management Principles for Health Professionals, 5th edition, Liebler et al. (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2008), due to its rich public health content. It is also superior to Essentials of Public Health Management, 2nd edition, Fallon et al. (Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2009), since there is a greater emphasis on the public health system and not just public health departments. The new developments since the previous edition outlined in the book's foreword justify this second edition.