HLTA02 – Fall 2015
Assignment 1 (Annotated Bibliography) Exercise
James Colgrove, MPH. The McKeown Thesis: A Historical Controversy and Its
Enduring In!uence. 2002, Vol 92, No. 5. American Journal of Public Health.
James Colgrove wrote this article about Thomas McKeown. McKeown
was a physician and demographic historian who wrote many articles and
books. McKeown attributed the modern rise in the world population from the
1700s to the present to broad economic and social changes rather than to
targeted public health or medical interventions. Many people disagreed with
him. In 1980, his work was discredited by the Cambridge Group for the
History of Population and Social Structure and Simon Szretar. Still, his thesis
remains popular today. Although his research was biased and the
methodology was not appropriate, many believe that “his underlying ideas
regarding the e3ect of poverty and economic wellbeing on health were
essentially correct” (Colgrove, 2002:5). The main debate is if public health
should use narrow interventions focused on individuals and communities, or
broad interventions that attempt to redistribute resources.
Colgrove J. 2002. The McKeown Thesis: A Historical Controversy and Its
Enduring In!uence. American Journal of Public Health. 92:5.
This article is an analysis of McKeown’s work, and the in!uence it had on
public health. McKeown theorized that the increase in world population since
the 1700s is a result of economic and social changes (improvements in living