10 Dumb Ways We Miss the Mark in Public Health
Humans are simple beings, some are complex, some are critical, some are dumb, some are intelligent.
BUT, we generally altogether suck when it comes to how we choose to communicate and think about complex topics.
We wish it was simple.
We want it to be an easy blame name and shame game, but it is not.
Anyway... here's my list.
Feel free to add to it!
1. Smoking Cigarettes causes Lung Cancer
TRUE. It can... but What causes people to use cigarettes?
Is it trauma, stress, exploitive marketing, or something else?
2. Chewing Tobacco causes Mouth Cancer
TRUE. but... What causes people to use chewing tobacco?
Fun flavors, “ma’ daddy duz it,” or household acceptance, poor parental guidance?
3. People Die from Heart Attacks
True. BUT... What causes Heart Attacks?
Stress, panic, high blood pressure, poor sleep?
Is it too much salt?
Many many more things add up to the progression for Heart Attack risk.
4. Obesity is Bad and Leads to Premature Death, Here's a Surgery to Help
What causes obesity?
Obesity is a far downstream effect of a life-history pattern.
5. Diabetes is Expensive
What causes Diabetes?
Who decides the price for medications, for amputations, for hospitalizations and pharmaceuticals?
Is it because of Wendy’s, Merck, Mott’s Apple* Juice, Nova Nordisk or Eli Lilly?
6. Street Drugs Kill People
Who puts drugs on the streets?
Who puts the idea of using drugs in the minds of users?
Has anyone talked opportunity risk in this population?
7. Pharmaceutical Drugs have too many Side Effects
What causes side effects?
What causes drugs to be passed without proper safety precautions?
How might we improve drug research, drug safety, drug application efficacy, drug marketing and transparency to consumers?
8. Germs are the Enemy, “We must kill them all! Sanitize! Sanitize! Sanitize!”
“germs?” Really... are we sure??
Do we want to live your life in fruitless, frivolous, rampant fear and hostility?
Do we want to isolate ourselves from the world?
9. The Grass is Always Greener
“Infinite innovationism will lead us out of darkness.”
Maybe we should import new grass seeds, use new fertilizer, use green dyes to color the grass with spray paint?
Maybe we need glasses, maybe we need therapy to change the lighting on our lawns as we look them in the mirror.
10. We Need More Money. More Money will Help Us Find a Cure
Will more money really help?
How well are we spending funds currently?
Where does our money come from, where is it going, and how effective and efficient are our current projects?
11. .... Bonus: What We Can Do to Swim to Progress
We must pay attention to the cause of causes.
We must look Upstream, and swim Upstream if we want to see more and better understand the downstream effects.