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[C. Everett Koop examining an infant]. [ca. 1974]. Health & Medicine
Virginia Apgar | Clarence Dennis | Charles R. Drew | Edward D. Freis | C. Everett Koop | William Osler | Wilbur A. Sawyer | Fred L. Soper | Reports of the Surgeon General | Henry Swan | Visual Culture and Health

The 20th century was a time of great improvements in public health. Vaccinations were developed to prevent many infectious diseases, and antibiotics controlled the bacterial infections that had previously made injuries, surgery, childbirth, and childhood diseases so deadly. Social and behavioral interventions reduced workplace accidents and cigarette smoking. Better treatments for common diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer have helped millions to lead longer, healthier lives. Today, the average life expectancy in the United States is approximately 80 years, compared to only 47 years in 1900, and public health specialists continue to work to spread these benefits worldwide.


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