Prevention Policy Matters Blog

The Prevention Policy Matters Blog helps translate public health policy into practice, offering innovative ways to make national guidelines work in communities across the nation. Discover insights and practical tips from experts across all of ODPHP’s divisions, as well as compelling stories from other professionals.

How do we create a future healthcare workforce dedicated to improving health outcomes and reducing health disparities across populations? Most fundamentally, we must educate health professions students about the importance of prevention, the social determinants of health, and give them the skills needed to function effectively in interprofessional teams. There is increasing recognition among educators and policymakers that the social determinants of health (SDOH) and prevention-focused strategies are important to address community health issues and achieve health equity. Health equity is defined by Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) as “attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.” This requires addressing social and environmental determinants through both broad and targeted approaches focused on communities experiencing the greatest disparities.
Teen substance use can harm brain development and increase the risk of addiction later in life. Nationally, over 14% of U.S. teens use alcohol or drugs. In Washington State, the 2016 Healthy Youth Survey found that 20% of 10th grade students drink alcohol and 17% use marijuana—and these students report lower grades in school than students who don’t use those substances.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), today's health services are not fit for the 21st-century challenges. Globally, more than 400 million people lack access to essential health care. Where health care is accessible, it is often fragmented and of poor quality. However, WHO’s newly launched framework on integrated people-centred health services is a call for a fundamental shift in the way we fund, manage, and deliver health services. It sustains countries’ progress towards universal health coverage by shifting away from health systems designed around diseases and health institutions towards health systems designed for people.
Tooth decay (also known as caries or cavities) is one of the most common chronic health conditions affecting children in the United States. American Indian and Alaska Native children have especially high rates of tooth decay; the rate for American Indian and Alaska Native children ages 3 to 5 is 43% — more than 4 times the rate for white children.

From Healthy People 2020 Stories from the Field, a series highlighting communities across the Nation that are addressing the Leading Health Indicators (LHIs).

Exposure to secondhand smoke contributes to the deaths of 41,000 nonsmoking adults and 400 infants in the United States each year. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at higher risk for serious health conditions, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and respiratory diseases.…

At the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPC) Program, we place a high priority on helping health care professionals keep pace with today’s ever-increasing abundance of health information. Our mission is to make sure health care decisions are based on the best available evidence for the best possible health outcome.

Prescription opioid-related deaths are considered to be one of the leading preventable public health problems in the United States. To help the health care community address this critical issue, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) developed the Pathways to Safer Opioid Use training.

This online, interactive training is based on the opioid-related recommendations in the National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event Prevention (ADE Action Plan).…