Thursday, July 07, 2005

Blogrolling on Tobacco Control and Public Health

In the few months since I initiated The Rest of the Story, I have become aware of a number of outstanding tobacco control and public health blogs, and I am starting to see how these blogs have now become an important communication tool in public health. Here is a brief review and index of the blogs I have become aware of. It is by no means comprehensive, but should give readers a sense of what is available out there.

Tobacco Control Blogs

Perhaps the premiere tobacco control blog is Gene Borio's Tobacco on Trial blog, which has eloquently and exquisitely chronicled the DOJ tobacco trial since Day 1. Gene Borio is also the genius behind the website, probably the top international website for tobacco control news.

I recently became aware of a number of excellent tobacco control blogs available through Globalink (they are called Blogalinks):

Ruben Israel's blog informs readers of the most important international tobacco control conferences and resources.

Cameron Norman's eTobacco Blog chronicles the eTobacco Project, "an initiative that explores ways to effectively use information technology to create knowledge networks within tobacco control." The blog "will chronicle some of the initiatives we undertake and serve as a very modest means of knowledge transfer to the tobacco control community."

Philippe Boucher's New Media and Tobacco Control blog provides a wide range of tobacco control news and resources, including a focus on blogging itself and weekly summaries of the most important tobacco control news stories.

Philippe Boucher also has an even more extensive and incredibly well-indexed tobacco control blog, in French.

Finally, Ruben Israel just initiated a blog for the 2006 World Conference on Tobacco or Health to be held in Washington, D.C. Information about the Conference will be posted there.

Public Health Blogs

Perhaps the premiere general public health blog is Revere's Effect Measure, modestly described by the editors as "a forum for progressive public health discussion and argument as well as a source of public health information from around the web." Effect Measure has been far more than that. Most recently, it has been one of the primary sources for public information on the potential threats of the bird flu and the urgent need for U.S. public health agencies to acknowledge and deal with this threat. Effect Measure has also treated its readers to an elegant presentation of the work of George Lakoff on framing and its implications for public health communication and practice.

Cervantes' Stayin' Alive is an outstanding public health policy blog that includes "Discussion of public health and health care policy, from a public health perspective. ... The economics, politics and sociology of health and illness in the U.S. will be examined from a critical perspective." The topics covered are wide-ranging and you never know what will be covered next, but it will be done in an incisive way, laced with dark humor.

Health Care Renewal is a health care policy blog, authored by a number of scientific and health care contributors, that addresses "threats to health care's core values, especially those stemming from concentration and abuse of power."

Impact Analysis is a more focused blog, but it deals with a wide-range of topics within the field of environmental health. Exquisite documentation and extensive links and resources make the site extremely valuable.

Confined Space is an occupational health blog, portraying workplace safety and health issues from a labor perspective, with just enough political analysis mixed in to make the blog informative yet piquant. It presents extensive coverage of occupational health news and even has its own mailing list.

Brooklyn Dodger combines both occupational and environmental health, presenting "research and other knowledge developments in occupational and public health and current events in politics related to public health, occupational health, and the environment." The posts are written from a scientific angle with extensive documentation from the environmental health literature.

The Genetics and Public Health Blog covers a wide range of topics within that area, including genetic engineering, genetic testing, genetically modified food, genetics and the law, and the genetics of disease.

The U.S. Food Policy blog covers "U.S. food policy and economics from a public interest perspective." The author, Tufts University food economist Parke Wilde, offers a huge index of food and nutrition blogs and websites.

The American Lung Association of Minnesota offers a blog that covers respiratory health issues, with a focus on tobacco control.

The editors of the American Journal of Bioethics offer a bioethics blog that aims to "cover as much of the world of bioethics as we can, identifying the most interesting stuff in, about, and relevant to bioethics, from newspapers, journals, magazines, books, etc."

The CDCer is a "community Weblog for CDC employees, families, friends, and a healthier world. Ladies, gentlemen, heros, cowards, and anyone interested in public health or science/technology are welcome to this part of the blogosphere."

Perhaps the newest public health blog is Healthmongers, a student-led public health blog that grew out of the Defining the Future of Public Health progressive student summit that was held at the Boston University School of Public Health in April of 2005. The goals of Healthmongers are to "contribute critically and constructively to the online discussion of public health and related political issues, provide news and perspective on different schools of public health with an eye to helping prospective students of public health choose a program that is a good fit for their interests, and to share resources to students of public health who are heading out into the workforce by identifying progressive public health employers."

Finally, Todd Seavey at the American Council on Science and Health edits FactsandFears, an important blog that emphasizes the need for public health policy and practice decisions to be based on sound scientific information.

I apologize about missing other tobacco control and public health blogs that are certainly out there, but I will add such sites to my links as I become aware of them.

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