The California Endowment's 10-year, $1 billion initiative, Building Healthy Communities, has already made significant progress toward its 2020 goals: The campaign has supported work to insure 4.5 million Californians, slash school suspensions and expulsions and help nearly 1 million people reclassify their former low-level felonies as misdemeanors, opening doors to housing and employment opportunities. The Nation’s Health spoke with California Endowment Vice President Tony Iton, MD, JD, MPH, an APHA member, about creating a people-powered movement in the name of public health.
Why is it so important to bring young people into conversations about improving health outcomes in their communities?
We recognized fairly early on in our work that youth were the rocket fuel of change…You look around and look at the Parkland youth, you look at Black Lives Matter, you look at marriage equality movements — these are driven by young people. And what we recognized is that our role is really to organize them and kind of stay out of the way, and also that the kinds of changes we were looking for to promote health in California required a social movement, that they weren’t just technical policy issues, they are political issues.
We realized that we needed to essentially help catalyze a social movement, that these issues were fundamental to politics, and if you want to change politics you’ve got to bring power to the table, and that meant we needed to organize people. And when you study the history of movements, you recognize that it means you have to organize the youth.
Read the full Q&A with Iton in The Nation's Health. And if you're coming to APHA's Annual Meeting and Expo in San Diego, California Endowment President and CEO Robert Ross, MD, MPA, will be discussing findings from the Building Healthy Communities campaign. Session 3114, on Monday, Nov. 12, will focus on the future of health equity. A joint APHA/California Endowment Summit on Building Power and a Narrative of Belonging to Create an Inclusive Society takes place Saturday, Nov. 10.
The Nation's Health talked with the new assistant secretary for health at HHS, also the new leader of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, about his goals as wells as the topics of preparedness and resilience in the midst of a national public health crisis.
What are the top priorities you hope to accomplish during your tenure as U.S. assistant secretary for health?
My main overriding goal is to support the transformation of our sick care system into a health-promot- ing system. If you look at our offices, we have so much emphasis on prevention, early detection, elimination of disparities — it just fits so well into one of (HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s) primary pillars of value-based transformation of the system.
I have my nine words that I like as our governing philosophy that I want everyone to think about...My nine words are health for all, health by all and health in all.
Read the full Q&A with Girori in The Nation's Health.
Public Health Newswire interviewed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Acting Director Anne Schuchat, MD, on the state of public health and the agency’s plans for 2018.
What do you anticipate being the biggest public health challenges for our country in 2018?
We know that infectious disease threats, antimicrobial resistance, global health security and opioids will continue to be critical public health issues. But regardless of the nature of the threat, CDC remains committed to working 24/7 to keep America safe, healthy and secure. We will continue to conduct critical science and provide health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats, and respond quickly when they happen.
Read the full Q&A with Schuchat on Public Health Newswire.
The Nation's Health spoke with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, about what he plans to accomplish. Photo courtesy EZ Event Photography.
How do you plan to uphold your promise to put science before politics as surgeon general?
As surgeon general of the United States, I think what is important is that we engage the right partners and show them how embracing health and embracing our priorities will lead to them being more prosperous, will lead to them being safer and more secure, will lead to them being able to provide for themselves and their families. And if we do that, then it’s not really putting science before politics, it’s understanding that science needs to be part of the complicated multi-variant policy equation, but that it’s one of several components. If we’re going to expect people to listen to and embrace the science, then we have to listen to and embrace their priorities.
Read the full Q&A with Adams in The Nation's Health.
In 2017, police shot and killed almost 1,000 people in the U.S., according to a tracking project from The Washington Post. Julia Haskins, reporter for The Nation’s Health newspaper, interviews Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA, about the problem of police violence in the U.S., and how it affects the health of the public.
How is police violence a public health issue?
Violence, in all of its forms, is a public health issue because it impacts both physical health and mental health. It's a significant problem, because violence can lead to injury and even death and undermines both the sense of community well-being and the sense of personal well-being. And we know that like other violence, police violence is preventable.
Read the full Q&A with Benjamin in The Nation's Health.
During the 2017 APHA Annual Meeting, Howard Frumkin, MD, DrPH, MPH, professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the University of Washington School of Public Health, discussed the “Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change 2017” report, of which he is a co-author. APHA served as co-publisher of the “Lancet Countdown 2017 Report: U.S. Briefing.” Frumkin shared highlights of the report, and how public health advocates can use it today.
The countdown outlines policy-level steps that can be taken to fight climate change. Why start there?
Well, it’s really important to start at two different levels simultaneously. One is policy. At the federal and state levels, we need to do things like shift our primary energy sources, shift our transportation system and change the incentives in our food system so that all those systems can contribute less to climate change.
But it’s also important to start at the very personal and community levels. We need to shift our preferences in eating toward less meat-heavy diets. We need to shift our preferences in transportation away from gas-guzzling, single-occupancy vehicles to walking, biking and transit. We need to use less energy, insulate our houses better, use fewer resources, reuse and recycle more. All of those traditional environmental behaviors and attitudes are very important at the individual and community level, but they need to be accompanied, of course, by policy changes.
And then, of course, in the public health sector, where we are responsible for driving a lot of adaptation, protecting the public from the impacts of climate change, we need to step up and do even more than we’re doing, protecting people from disasters like floods and fires and droughts, protecting people from the expansion of infectious diseases, protecting people from expanding allergic illnesses, protecting people from respiratory hazards due to worsening air pollution.
Read the full Q&A with Frumkin in The Nation's Health. And learn more about the Lancet Countdown Report and climate change and health.