Atlanta, Ga.—Great strides have been made to improve public health over the past century, such as the reduction over the past 50 years in the number of Americans smoking. Many of those great strides were bolstered by providing individuals with the information needed to make informed health decisions. With $1.6 million in funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the CDC Foundation is launching a new project that will use the best available data to inform and advance discussion about how laws and policies can assist people in making healthier choices.
Subject matter experts will work with federal partners to develop 10 to 15 evidence-based reports during the next three years to highlight the state of laws and policies related to specific topic areas within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Healthy People 2020 initiative. This effort will provide critically needed practical information to public health officials and associations, health-related industries, legal practitioners, non-profit organizations, policy-makers, and individuals about the use of law and policy to address health factors. Within HHS, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) is leading the effort with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“HHS is delighted to launch this Healthy People 2020 Law and Health Policy Project with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and CDC Foundation,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH. “It will leverage the rich history and power of Healthy People 2020 to demonstrate how laws and evidence-based health policy can improve the health of our nation.”
HHS’ Healthy People 2020 is a set of goals and objectives with 10-year targets designed to guide national health promotion and disease prevention efforts aimed at improving the health of all people in the United States. Healthy People 2020 serves as a strategic management tool for the federal government, states, communities and many other public- and private-sector partners.
“To protect and improve health, law and policy evidence are crucial,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “Projects such as this will go a long way to help get us to our destination of a more healthy nation faster.”
ODPHP will provide leadership and support for the development of the reports, while CDC will provide technical guidance on the development of specific reports and collaborate with public health partners and communities to promote knowledge and understanding of the reports. In addition to funding the effort, RWJF will provide public health law and policy expertise. The CDC Foundation will manage administration and implementation of the project and amplify the results to stakeholders through communications efforts.
“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation believes that law and policy are important levers for building a culture of health in our nation,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We’re pleased to collaborate with leaders in public health and government to focus attention on policies based on the best science to help achieve the national health goals set out in Healthy People 2020—strategies that all states and communities can use to help people live healthier lives.”
“We greatly appreciate the support the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is providing to increase understanding around the link between policy and healthier outcomes,” said Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “Public health law and policy can serve as valuable tools with wide-reaching benefits for everyone that can often decrease the need for other more costly and less effective interventions.”