Archives For public health

Author Information: Beth Landau-Halpern,

Landau-Halpern, Beth. “The Costs and Consequences of Teaching and Analyzing Alternative Medicine.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 9 (2016): 42-45.

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Image credit: Partha S. Sahana, via flickr

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on Brian Martin’s article “Public Health and Academic Freedom,”[1] written in response to Durrheim and Jones’ “Public health and the Necessary Limits of Academic Freedom?”[2] in which the authors argue that concerns for public health should curtail the operations of normal academic freedom. I am the Canadian mentioned in the article, the instructor of a course at the University of Toronto that the media came to call the “Anti-Vaccination Course” in a series of articles seemingly based on hysteria and ideology, rather than an informed understanding of the content of the course, the ideas presented within that course, or the place of the course within the context of the Health Studies program that offered it.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Brian Martin, University of Wollongong,

Martin, Brian. “Public Health and Academic Freedom.” [1] Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5, no. 6 (2016): 44-49.

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Image credit:, via flickr

In December 2015, Judy Wilyman received her PhD from the University of Wollongong. I was her principal supervisor. On 11 January, her thesis was posted on the university’s digital repository, and soon the onslaught began. A hostile article appeared on the front page of the national newspaper The Australian (Loussikian 2016), the first of several attacking articles. As well, there were hostile blogs and tweets, a petition with more than 2000 signatures, and alteration of Wikipedia entries, among other actions.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi, University of Glasgow,

Katikireddi, Srinivasa Vittal. “Reply to ‘What Constitutes “Good” Evidence for Public Health and Social Policy Making? From Hierarchies to Appropriateness’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 8 (2015): 51-55.

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Image credit: kafka4prez, via flickr

The academic community has long considered how knowledge can and should influence decision-making. The evidence-based medicine movement rose to prominence in the 1990s, with its influence extending from clinical decisions to areas of social policy. Parkhurst and Abeysinghe provide a useful addition to the literature which ambitiously draws on three different disciplinary perspectives—political science, philosophy of science and the sociology of knowledge—to reflect on the limitations of evidence hierarchies for informing policy decisions (2014). Public health is perhaps a natural focus of enquiry, drawing as it does on clinical disciplines as well as the social and political sciences.  Continue Reading…