• Book

Dissecting American Health Care: Commentaries on Health, Policy, and Politics


Kamerow, D. (2011). Dissecting American Health Care: Commentaries on Health, Policy, and Politics. (RTI Press Publication No. BK-0008-1109). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. DOI: 10.3768/rtipress.2011.bk.0008.1109


The intersection of health care, politics, and policy is a controversial one, and this book of lively essays takes on many of today’s hot health topics: alternative medicine, health care reform, screening mammograms, taxes to change behavior, gun control, and many more. Former Assistant Surgeon General Douglas Kamerow, a family doctor, journal editor, and NPR commentator, combines evidence, opinion, and humor in 47 essays from his health policy columns in the medical journal <em>BMJ</em> and his nationally broadcast radio commentaries.

Author Details

Douglas Kamerow

Douglas Kamerow, MD, is a family physician and a specialist in preventive medicine. After graduating from Harvard College, the University of Rochester Medical School, and Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, he spent 20 years in the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service. In the PHS he worked as a general practitioner in the National Health Service Corps, as a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, and in health policy and leadership positions at both the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health and at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. He retired from the PHS in 2001 with the rank of Assistant Surgeon General. Since then, Dr. Kamerow has been a chief scientist at the nonpartisan research institute RTI International, an editor of the international medical journal BMJ, and a professor at Georgetown University, where he teaches medical students and family medicine residents. Starting in 2007, he wrote the health and health care commentaries in this book, which appeared first in the BMJ or on National Public Radio (NPR).


“One of the giants of medicine and public health ... takes on the most critical issues we face, with clarity, brevity, and yet depth. I enjoyed reading this book, and so will you.”

– Dr. David Satcher, former US Surgeon General

“Doug Kamerow shares with Atul Gawande and Malcolm Gladwell keen insight, lucid writing, and accessible brilliance. You don’t need to be an insider to clearly understand what he’s talking about.”

– Dr. Jay Siwek, Editor, American Family Physician

“Dr. Kamerow’s essays are witty, informed, curious, exasperated, provocative, constructive, and just plain human. Kamerow writes in a way that invites general readers to realize that they have a stake here too—that these are their stories as well.”

– Dr. Ranit Mishori, family physician and past Health Editor, Parade Magazine

“Sharp, witty, and personal observations about preventive medicine and public health in the US.”

– Dr. Jessie Gruman, author of AfterShock—What to Do When the Doctor Gives You a Devastating Diagnosis, and President, Center for Advancing Health