This Friday, the 15th March 2013, as an environmental health professional and member of the John Snow Society (www.johnsnowsociety.org) I will be raising my commemorative mug (complete with Soho map – nerd alert) in celebration of Dr Snow’s 200th birthday and his considerable epidemiological achievements.
On Saturday, our bicentenary celebrations will continue at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (http://johnsnowbicentenary.lshtm.ac.uk/) with a series of talks on Snow and his work. They include my environmental health historian hero, Professor Christopher Hamlin, author of my favourite EH history book, Public Health and Social Justice in the Age of Chadwick (nerd alert – part II)
I remain angry that cholera persists in many areas of the world to this day, but we societies and individuals owe a considerable debt to Snow’s work and I encourage those not very familiar with his achievements (or who are only familiar with his water pump handle removal intervention) to read more about his pioneering public health struggles. The John Snow Society’s website (link above) is a great place, particularly the links to UCLA’s archive where you can download the complete ‘On the mode and communication of cholera – 2nd edition’ for free!
Revisiting these archives I’m reminded that, in 1849, Snow’s 1st edition cost him £200 to produce but his income was only £3.12s and his research was largely ignored or rejected by the establishment. Beyond his epidemiological achievements, what I admire most about Snow was his determination to challenge the status quo of his time.
This brings me to our eBook guide to research and publication for EH professionals. Our quest to get research on environmental health agendas remains a lonely and frustrating one at times, but I think we’re making steady progress and I take comfort from people like Snow that such experiments are years, perhaps decades in the making.
I hope that in time we will make more than the 2013 equivalent of £3.12s (we are a non-profit organisation – all proceeds go towards supporting our research work) but for the near future our eBook is available for £0.99 (plus VAT). Do please spread the word about Snow and our eBook, happy researching!
With best wishes, Rob