PPHR’s annual print edition magazine for the 2015-2016 term, which features exclusive student-produced content and research, is finally completed and uploaded after a year of hard work from our editors, writers and contributors. Click here to access the magazine online or click the image below.
Science has brought us many innovations that have greatly increased life expectancy and reduced the burden of disease. From the development of the first vaccine in 1796 to the recent 3D printing of human organs, biomedical research has continuously provided innovations that improve quality of life. Modern medicine is capable of reconstructing limbs and restoring sight to the blind, and some say that we will soon be able to create completely artificial bodies. But disease and disability are keeping up with the pace of scientific development, and this past year has seen new diseases develop, even though others are long extinct. Moreover, the world’s burgeoning population means that disparities in healthcare are rampant, leading to public health issues that made national and international news this year.
Exciting technological developments occurred this year, including the publicizing of the CRISPR gene-editing system, which made it possible to insert, delete, and change information in our genetic codes. But along with CRISPR came the global spread of Zika virus, a poorly understood mosquito-borne disease that can cause severe birth defects. Closer to home, Princeton University continued to battle the threat of meningitis, mandating the vaccination of all students and carrying out follow-up studies to assess immune responses to the vaccine. While these “acute” diseases gained media attention, the world still suffers from rarely mentioned “chronic” diseases like the neglect of mental health in prisons and the disparity in the availability of medical treatment. Despite the progress of science, there is still much that needs to be done.
The Princeton Public Health Review has been keeping Princeton undergraduates informed about all these public health events this year, a job it has been doing since 2010. Our newly-designed website incorporates weekly news briefings done by our writers, and this print issue features research papers and portions of senior theses submitted by the entire undergraduate population spanning issues like reproductive health and infectious disease. The improvement of human health is a task common to all peoples, not just doctors, researchers, and other healthcare workers. By picking up this issue, we hope that you will become acquainted with the pressing public health issues today and learn to protect both yourself and others. Perhaps you may even decide to conduct further research on prenatal care or join an organization to alleviate global malnutrition.
Public health is ultimately about discussion, not about the technology or medicines. Conversation brings health needs to light, disseminates scientific knowledge, and gets laws passed. The diversity of the Princeton undergraduate population means that future doctors, journalists, politicians, scientists, and lawyers can all be found eating at the same dinner table or engaging in the same discussion in class. We ask you to pick up this issue, find a story you are interested in, and talk to your classmates about it. Maybe that conversation will eventually lead to a law that will end poverty once and for all!
Kevin Zhang and Aastha Chokshi