Friday, February 27, 2009

Full steam ahead

What a week!

This Tuesday, Americans heard President Obama say that health reform is critical to our nation’s economic future, that the recovery plan “makes the largest investment ever in preventive care, because that's one of the best ways to keep our people healthy and our costs under control,” and that “health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.” [You can find a transcript of the speech here.]

And then less than 48 hours later, the president released a budget proposal including a $634 billion fund for health reform - calling it a “down payment” on universal coverage.

Taken together with the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program last month, the new administration has thus far lived up to its promise to work to ensure that everyone one in our nation has access to the health services needed to stay health. Additionally, there has also been a broad recognition of the role that public health and prevention must play in reform, which is a giant step toward better health in our nation.

APHA is pleased with the direction things are heading for health reform. Are you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hear “Why Public Health Matters”

In support of National Public Health Week 2009 and its theme, “Building the Foundation for a Healthy America,” APHA is pleased to announce the release of a new video series – “Why Public Health Matters.”

Available for viewing on the NPHW Web site, the videos feature public health professionals from around the nation sharing their views on public health. The topics they consider include the greatest public health successes, the relevance of public health, challenges facing public health and much more.

Check them out today and then add your voice to the discussion by submitting your personal story of what public health means to you.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Putting a face on public health

As our leaders debate the merits of the public health provisions in the economic stimulus bill, one wonders how best to make the case for this important funding.

Health departments, local coalitions, associations and people like you have been writing letters to elected officials, speaking with local media and doing everything they can to explain why investing in public health makes sense. We’ve highlighted how prevention will save money, how the funds will create jobs and how they will allow more people access to important public health services during these difficult economic times.

But this isn’t enough. Despite all the evidence in support of these provisions, they are still in danger of being stripped out of the Senate’s version of the bill. So we need a new approach. Perhaps the problem is that we haven’t succeeded in telling the story of public health – we haven’t given a face to the many lives touched by our work.

We need to share our stories with our leaders and our communities. Share how your clinic has been inundated with people who have lost their insurance and need to see a doctor, but you don’t have the funds to meet demand. Share how your public education campaign resulted in record high numbers of people getting their flu shots. Share how you finally quit smoking after your state required your work to go smoke-free.

Whatever your story, share it. If our elected leaders are able to hear the real-life stories of the lives improved through public health, we might just have a chance to change some minds.