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Public health
A chronology of failed advocacy and frustration
  1. I B Pless
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor I B Pless
 Editor; barry.pless{at}mcgill.ca

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The time is long overdue for genuine national leadership

In 1972 I published my first paper on injury prevention.1 I did so in the context of a program of research, one goal of which was to implement what we believed to be proven methods for reducing injuries. In this case, the topic was child restraint use. Without fully realizing it at the time, I was taking the first step in a long and frustrating career of advocacy. This is a topic I have written about before2–4 but it is so important it deserves another airing. Besides, I need to ventilate.

Injury prevention is a worldwide problem and it seems that no country has developed a national system for dealing adequately with this issue. Consequently, wherever we look, advocates and advocacy groups continue to struggle. In some cases the struggle is to overcome opposition; in others the enemy is inertia and indifference. Unfortunately, as Chapman notes, too often even those in public health engage in the battle without adequate training or without even knowing what questions to ask.5 Most certainly my colleagues and I were ill prepared for the struggle, and our successors appear not to be much better equipped.


 In some cases the struggle is to overcome opposition; in others the enemy is inertia and indifference

Three years after my first publication, I returned to Canada and soon became involved in the …

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