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While We Were Sleeping

Success Stories in Injury and Violence Prevention

David Hemenway (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 248 pages
ISBN: 9780520258464
May 2009
$32.95, £26.00
Public health has made our lives safer—but it often works behind the scenes, without our knowledge, that is, "while we are sleeping." This book powerfully illuminates how public health works with more than sixty success stories drawn from the area of injury and violence prevention. It also profiles dozens of individuals who have made important contributions to safety and health in a range of social arenas. Highlighting examples from the United States as well as from other countries, While We Were Sleeping will inform a wide audience of readers about what public health actually does and at the same time inspire a new generation to make the world a safer place.
List of Tables
Poem: The Ambulance in the Valley, by Joseph Mahin

1. Car
2. Home
3. Work
4. Play
5. Nature
6. Violence
7. Medical Treatment
8. Models of Injury Prevention
9. Future Successes
10. Summary

Appendix: Scientific Injury Studies
David Hemenway is Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and Director of the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center. His previous books include Private Guns, Public Health.
“Faculty teaching courses in injury prevention will find this a useful addition to their syllabi. Any one of the vignettes could serve as the basis for a more complete case study. . . . This book is perfect to help your parent, partner or offspring understand what you do—and why you do it. It also may help inspire the next generation of researchers and practitioners so that we may all enjoy future gains in reducing the toll that injuries take.”—Injury Prevention
“This book is well written and shows that public health covers a lot of areas, some of which are just not obvious, but once presented make complete sense.”—Annuals Of Emergency Medicine
While We Were Sleeping brings the stories of injury prevention alive. The stories link research to successful advocacy for change and highlight the need to translate data—to put a face on it—in order to make change. These are stories of creativity, courage, and commitment.”—Linda C. Degutis, DrPH, MSN, Yale University

"'While we were sleeping,' things were happening—good things!—that most of us were not aware of. Injuries of almost all kinds, to children, teenagers, elderly, disabled, and ordinary folks were being drastically reduced. David Hemenway documents this progress, some of it in the nineteenth century, most of it in our lifetimes, with analysis of what brought it about and, in some cases, who the heroes were. It's exhilarating to read—instructive and exhaustively documented by an author who has devoted a career to this kind of analysis." —Thomas C. Schelling, 2005 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Harvard University

"I wish I had written this book. It is astute, inspiring, full of fascinating ideas, and it shows precisely how success in public health is achieved. David Hemenway has given us a story of heroic grit and remarkable achievement—indeed, a whole compendium of reasons for optimism about what people and society can do."—Atul Gawande, author of Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance

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