The blogosphere is pretty crowded these days and one might think there's no need for less, not more. But in public health, that's not the case. There are a lot of Doctor/Medical blogs but not many public health blogs. So yesterday marked a significant milestone in the public health blogosphere, the First Blogiversary of The Pump Handle. As Jordan Barab, lately of Confined Space fame, notes in a congratulatory comment over at TPH, first year blog mortality is extremely high, so just making it at all is a significant accomplishment.
But TPH didn't "just make it" but made it in real style. They were responsible for breaking stories on diacetyl-related pulmonary syndrome ("Popcorn Workers Long") and have been the go-to source for mine safety stories from the public health perspective. Lots of other stuff, too, you won't find in many other places. While the emphasis is on environmental and occupational health, other topics of public health importance are treated, too. If you don't read the folks at TPH regularly, let me suggest you start checking them. If you are in public health or just interested in public health you'll find their voice to be unique and important.
For those who don't know what the Pump Handle refers to, it come from the work of Dr. John Snow, "the father of epidemiology," who convinced local authorities in the Golden Square neighborhood of London to combat a vicious cholera outbreak by taking the handle off the sewage contaminated Broad Street pump, which Snow had identified as the source of the calamity. "Taking the handle off the pump" has since become a symbol of public health's primary mission: to prevent disease, not just treat it.
This post is not just for purposes of congratulations or bringing TPH to a wider readership. It is also by way of encouragement. Few people who haven't blogged on a daily basis realize how difficult, time consuming and sometimes discouraging it can be. We don't get paid for this, don't get professional recognition for it (sometimes just the opposite), we open ourselves to vigorous criticism (none of which feels good although you learn to ignore it or you don't survive). But the task never stops. Not on weekends or holidays or nights. And it is easy to get tired.
So encouragement, however it comes, is always needed. Just like The Pump Handle.
Congratulations, my friends. La lutte continue.
I've enjoyed TPH for what seems like longer than a year - a great resource and great people. Thanks for reminding us of their blogiversary.
We owe a lot to you, and to others in the science/public health blogosphere, for providing a model of intelligent, thought-provoking coverage of public health issues. And, of course, for proving that it's possible to keep this up day after day, year after year.
Love TPH and Effect Measure. Keep up the good work. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is getting in the game --inaugural blog this month. Lets hope they have something to say!