Patients are often referred to medical specialists by their family doctor, a general practitioner, or clinic. This procedure is intended, in part, to screen the patient through general examinations to get an overview of his or her health and detect related or unrelated health problems that the specialist may or may not be concerned with or qualified to treat. Therefore the availability of special medical services which do not require a preliminary general health screening may represent a hazard to public health. One example is the public's recourse to opticians and ophthalmologists for correction of eye problems that may by caused by disease. Another example is dental practice which establishes no relationship to the patient's medical history, sometimes with serious consequences. The public has direct access to psychologists and some psychiatrists for personality disorders, but medical screening might show a physiological cause and offer appropriate treatment. Other therapies for which general practitioner referral is not required are physical therapy, massage, chiropracty, acupuncture, hearing aids, some prosthetic services, and nutritional and diet regimes. Holistic medical services for the public are obstructed by tradition and economic considerations, as most holistic methodologies are not covered by insurance policies.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.