On October 19, Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, HHS assistant secretary for health, unveiled Public Health 3.0, a new model for building healthier communities across America.
Public Health 3.0 recognizes that America has made great strides in recent years to expand access to medical care and preventive services, but that these successes have not guaranteed health equity for all.
“Today, a person’s zip code is a stronger determinant of health than their genetic code. In a nation as wealthy as the United States, it is unconscionable that so many people die prematurely from preventable diseases,” said Dr. DeSalvo. “Even worse are the health disparities that continue to grow in many communities.”
To help more Americans achieve health equity, Public Health 3.0 calls on state and local public health leaders to mobilize other community partners – including experts in education, housing, transportation and nutrition – to work together to address the conditions in which people are born, live, work and age.
“Building healthy communities requires strategic collaboration across all sectors,” said U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy. “When we build a complete infrastructure of healthy communities, we can begin to close the gaps in health due to factors such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, zip code and income.”
Public Health 3.0: A Call to Action to Create a 21st Century Public Health Infrastructure – PDF presents five recommendations to carry Public Health 3.0 forward:
- Public health leaders should embrace the role of Chief Health Strategist for their communities;
- Public health departments should engage with community stakeholders—from both the public and private sectors—to form vibrant, structured, cross-sector partnerships;
- Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) criteria and processes for public health department accreditation should be enhanced;
- Actionable data should be made accessible to communities throughout the country and clear metrics to document success in public health practice should be developed; and
- Funding for public health should be enhanced and substantially modified.
“When we achieve these recommendations, we will realize the Public Health 3.0 vision: to create the conditions in which everyone can be healthy,” Dr. DeSalvo said.