By treating risky behavior like a communicable disease, the public health establishment invites government to meddle in our private lives. In the introduction to the first major American book on public health, U.S. Army surgeon John S. Billings explained the field's concerns: "Whatever can cause, or help to cause, discomfort, pain, sickness, death, vice, or crimeand whatever has a tendency to avert, destroy, or diminish such causesare matters of interest to the sanitarian; and the powers of science and the arts, great as they are, are taxed to the uttermost to afford even an approximate solution to the problems with which he is concerned."
American Public Health Association
Dr. Whelan presented this speech on November 10, 1992 upon her acceptance of the Calver Award presenter by the Environmental Division of the American Public Health Association. This lecture pays tribute to Homer Calver and his crusade against premature death and disease during the first decades of this century. Calver's greatness came because of the time in which he lived.