Sustained Investment in the nation’s public health system is critical to safeguarding the nation’s health security and achieving health equity
(Washington, DC – December 2, 2021) – Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) applauds and strongly endorses the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) report, Public Health Forward: Modernizing the U.S. Public Health System, released today. The report describes the ways COVID-19 exposed weaknesses in the nation’s public health system and pervasive disparities in conditions that affect Americans’ health. It outlines a five-year vision and actionable framework for how state, territorial and local elected and public health officials can enhance their jurisdiction’s public health infrastructure. TFAH’s President and CEO J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., MSCE and Distinguished Visiting Fellow David Fleming, M.D. served on the report’s Public Health Advisory Group.
The infusion of pandemic relief funds is an opportunity to address the community conditions that negatively impact health, according to the report. And public health has a critical role to play by addressing health inequities, working to reverse the surge in the number of Americans living with a chronic disease, promoting healthy eating and active living, controlling infectious disease, and preventing injuries.
“BPC’s report is critical reading for policymakers. It provides a roadmap for the public health system our nation’s needs to protect everyone’s health, including communities currently at disproportionate risk due to systemic inequities,” said J. Nadine Gracia, President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health. “The report should guide immediate and sustained investment in public health.”
Many of the report’s policy recommendations align with recent Trust for America’s Health recommendations. Both BPC and TFAH are calling for the following:
- Increase and sustain predictable and flexible public health funding. TFAH recommends an annual $4.5 billion public health infrastructure fund to support foundational public health capabilities at the federal, state, local, territorial and Tribal levels.
- Invest in programs to address health inequities, including the root causes of disease and the impact of the social determinants of health.
- Strengthen public health data collection and sharing. Data should be collected and disaggregated by race, ethnicity and other sociodemographic characteristics so the impacts of policies, interventions and health conditions on specific population and sub-populations groups are known.
- Invest in the recruitment and retention of a diverse, well-trained public health workforce.
- Protect public health departments’ ability to make science-based decisions free from inappropriate political influence.
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Trust for America’s Health is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes optimal health for every person and community and makes the prevention of illness and injury a national priority.