Date of Award

2014

First Advisor

David Myers

Second Advisor

Paul Naamon

Third Advisor

Mohammad Moeini-Feizabadi

Abstract

This thesis explores several areas of preventive medicine and public health in the United States. Each chapter will provide a detailed investigation of the scientific evidence of the benefits and harms of a given topic, as well as a discussion and critique of the relevant U.S. policies. Potential improvements are suggested, often based on strategies used by other countries. The first chapter focuses on vaccination, which acts as an example of high-quality evidence being used to inform effective policies. The second chapter centers on smoking, specifically cigarettes, where strong evidence of the harms is not matched by strong public health policies. The third and final chapter discusses cancer screening, in particular cervical, breast, and prostate cancer, where conflicting evidence makes it difficult to determine beneficial policies. Taken together, these topics provide a broad overview of preventive medicine in the U.S. and emphasize the need for both highquality evidence and effective communication among scientists, the government, and the public.

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