Introduction: An Overview of the US Healthcare System and US Health Disparities at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century



The health of the citizens of the USA improved in many ways during the twentieth century with advances in public health practices, expansion of the scientific basis of medicine, and improvements in the training of America’s health professionals. Average life expectancy at birth increased from 47.3 years in 1900 to 77 years in 2000. Smallpox was eliminated from the world with a worldwide comprehensive vaccination initiative. By 1982, poliomyelitis had been eliminated from the western hemisphere, although a few foci of this viral disease remain in the developing world. Many other infectious diseases, which were prevalent in the USA in 1900, are much less frequent today, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, diphtheria, and others.


Rheumatic Fever Minority Student Average Life Expectancy Health Reform Public Health Practice 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.WashingtonUSA

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