Public Health 3.0 in Action

Public Health 3.0 is a major upgrade in public health practice to emphasize cross-sectoral environmental, policy, and systems-level actions that directly affect the social determinants of health and advance health equity. This blog provides updates from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health on Public Health 3.0 and stories from the field that showcase Public Health 3.0 in Action.

In 2008, Washington State held a very dubious title. We had the highest kindergarten vaccination exemption rate in the country at 7.5 percent —5 times the national average! Immunization leadership in Washington realized that this rate represented a shift in the landscape—away from immunization as a community priority.
Imagine a community where all residents, regardless of their neighborhood or socioeconomic status, have access to what they need to be healthy. How would we build this kind of community? If we consider this question and the myriad factors that influence health, it becomes clear that building a healthy community requires strong buy-in from every sector and robust community engagement.
Today, public health has the potential to be at the forefront of redefining standards for population health. Today, we are not the only ones in the population health sphere. As health care moves from volume to value, we are hearing new standards for population health such as membership in a health insurer, a patient with a specific condition, or a group of patients served by the same physician (a physician’s panel). These are not the standards that public health has historically used to measure population health.
America’s health could be better. Here in Nashville our health care is among the best in the world, but our health could be better. It must get better. Nashville is booming right now, but if we can’t sustain our health and the health of our workforce, our soaring economy will no longer soar, and our vibrant community will lose its shine. If we don’t pay attention to the health of our children and youth, they won’t learn and our city won’t advance.
On June 14, 2016, more than 150 stakeholders gathered at the Lentz Public Health Center in Nashville for what felt like a treasure hunt. We were seeking ways to strengthen local public health departments in their efforts to address the social determinants of health (economic development, education, transportation, food, environment, and housing). This is the goal of Public Health 3.0 , a term coined by Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, to describe a bold expansion in the scope and reach of public health.
Founded in 1793 in response to a yellow fever outbreak, the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) is the oldest continuously-operating health department in the country. For over two centuries, BHCD’s mission has been to improve the health and well-being of Baltimore residents while advocating for equity and justice. Public health has never taken a back seat in Baltimore, and our vision for Public Health 3.0 has five unique components to address the most pressing health needs of our city.
It is hard to overstate the remarkable progress we have made in health and health care over the past seven years. Today, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 20 million more Americans have access to health coverage - a nearly unthinkable political and public health accomplishment. Perhaps equally impressive is the 50,000 lives (and $12 billion) saved over just the past 4 years thanks to a renewed focus on hospital-acquired conditions.