It should be no secret to anyone reading this that I have a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from an accredited univeristy. What is an MPH? It’s a professional degree in public health that accredits the person who earns it as someone who has done the readings, written the papers, and taken the exams to prove that he or she is trained to look after the public’s health.Some of us, the very idealistic among us, have taken a Public Health Oath:
“I will work to ensure that people have the chance to live full and productive lives, free from avoidable disease and disability and supported in their pursuit of physical, mental, and social well-being.
I will hold myself to the highest ethics, standards, values, and responsibilities as I move forward the science and practice of public health.
I will respect the rights, values, beliefs, and cultures of those individuals and communities with whom I work.
I will rely on evidence to support my decisions and actions, and translate that evidence into policies and programs that improve health for all.
I will add to the body of research and knowledge and share my discoveries freely.
I will continuously seek new information and be open to ideas that can better protect and promote the health of populations.
I will advance health literacy for all and seek equity and justice for vulnerable populations.
With this oath, I commit to the ideals and mission of public health.”
Unfortunately, not everyone who earns — or is looking to earn — an MPH degree agrees with this oath, let alone follows it.
Of course, I’m talking about that kid.
The unparalleled Liz Ditz has put together a dossier of the kid’s writings, and it’s an eye-opener. Talk about someone who does not follow The Oath at all. He is openly anti-vaccine, so there goes the work to ensure that people live free from avoidable disease and disability. He was written some very questionable articles about people he disagrees with, even some about his own handlers in the anti-vaccine camp. So there goes the holding oneself to the highest ethics, standards, values, and resposibilities.
And what can we say about relying on evidence to support his decisions and actions? He is rabidly anti-vaccine, and he will jump on a train and travel several states over to ask the same questions over and over again of the people he likely sees as his enemies. (That’s not stalking, he affirms.)
Adding to the body of research? He’s never been published, unless you are to believe one of his followers who told the kid that posting on an anti-vaccine blog is better than being published in a peer-reviewed paper. It’s laughable, yes, but it is also very, very scary if you really think about it. It’s scary because it tells you that people are taking that blog’s contents at face value, as the highest form of evidence or verification of evidence.
(But what about this blog? I’ll cite my sources, and those sources will cite theirs. And all of it will be peer-reviewed and evidence-based. Just fact check me any time and point it out to me. I won’t delete your comments properly correcting me.)
As for seeking equity and justice for vulnerable populations, the kid shows up at meetings trying to deal with the needs of autistic people and rants and raves against his handlers instead of proposing any solutions. He is a very angry, misguided, and in my opinion dangerous kid.
Just the other day, a British writer living in Texas, and one who has been very critical of Andrew Jeremy Wakefield, asked the kid to not go into public health, to which the kid responded that he’ll do what he wants. And isn’t that the truth? We can do what we want because we live in a country that doesn’t put any restrictions on what career we want to pursue. Fortunately for public health and unfortunately for the kid, he is placing his own restrictions on his career. It will be very difficult for him to work in public health in a career that demands of him allegiance to The Oath or something like it.
Then again, I’ve been surprised before, and there are health departments in dire need of epidemiologists. One of them might be willing to scrape the bottom of the barrel. I hope not.
Speaking of epidemiologists, being that he sees patterns in just about everything, the kid has determined that he knows who I really am:
If you click on that link, it goes to a comment made by Ren, an epidemiologist. I guess two blogging epidemiologists is too much of a coincidence, so I’m Ren? I’ll tell you who I really am… I am Iron Man.
There. So glad I got that off my chest.
While I have the opportunity to go to his [expletive] presentation, a good friend has convinced me otherwise. It wouldn’t do any good. If anything, it would give him ammunition against me and my friends. He would probably accuse me of stalking him. (Heck, he accused Ren of stalking him by the simple fact that Ren replied to the kid’s inane comments online.) And you know what they say about mud wrestling pigs, don’t you? Yes, you end up with cysticercosis. You end up looking like you’re debating someone whose crazy.
With that in mind, I’d like to openly announce that — aside from being Iron Man — I am done with the kid. His anti-vaccine rants, his libelous claims about people based on their degrees of separation from respected scientists and entrepreneurs, and his travel several states over to “question” (*cough* harass *cough* *cough* stalk *cough*) have gotten tiresome. And you, my darling audience, deserve better. You deserve a better type of villain.
He is persona
au gratin non grata in my life, and I strongly recommend that he become so in yours as well, lest he email your employers to tell them how much of a poopy head you are, or that you have a conflict of interest because the wife of your cousin’s best friend is a vaccine researcher.