Public health surveillance in the United States: evolution and challenges

In its 1988 report, a committee of the Institute of Medicine highlighted assessment as one of the three core functions of public health along with policy development and assurance. The committee recommended that every public health agency regularly and systematically collect, assemble, analyse, and make available information on the health of the community, including statistics on health status, community health needs, and epidemiologic and other studies of health problems. Public health surveillance, often called the cornerstone of public health practice, is an essential element of the assessment function.

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