Category Archives: National Prevention Strategy

Jul 16 2013
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Regina Benjamin Closes Out Last Day as U.S. Surgeon General

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin Surgeon General Regina Benjamin

Today U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, leaves her post after four years of public health accomplishments. Dr. Benjamin will return to Alabama to volunteer at her clinic. Deputy Surgeon General Boris Lushniak will serve as acting surgeon general until a new surgeon general is appointed.

Dr. Benjamin’s many singular initiatives during her tenure include:

  • Serving as chair of the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, which spearheaded the release of the National Prevention Strategy (NPS), a roadmap for working with partners at the local, national, and international level to help bridge the gaps in health disparities and ultimately increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. The National Prevention Council is composed of cabinet-level heads of federal agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Education, Defense, Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. “The NPS illuminates and puts into action what we in Public Health have been saying for more than a hundred years,” says Dr. Benjamin. “Prevention is the foundation of public health and prevention is the foundation of an effective health care system.”
  • Releasing the National Prevention Council Annual Status Report, showing positive trends in some leading health indicators including decreases in youth ages 3 to 11 exposed to secondhand smoke; the number of adolescents who are current smokers; the rate of coronary heart disease deaths; stroke deaths; and overall cancer deaths.
  • Spearheading the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, an ambitious national strategy to reduce the number of deaths by suicide.
  • Releasing My Family Health Portrait, an Internet-based tool encouraging people to collect their family health history during the holidays when families gather together.

>>Bonus Links:

  • Read a commentary written by Dr. Benjamin for the Institute of Medicine on the successes of the National Prevention Council.
  • Read a NewPublicHealth interview series about the role of many of the different agencies that make up the Prevention Council in making the U.S. a healthier nation.
Apr 15 2013
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Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships for Public Health: Q&A with Acacia Salatti

file Acacia Salatti, Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (known as the Partnership Center) engages with community organizations to:

  • Strengthen the role of community organizations in health initiatives
  • Reduce unintended pregnancies and support maternal and child health
  • Promote responsible fatherhood and healthy families
  • Foster interfaith dialogue and collaboration with leaders and scholars around the world, and at home

As part of HHS, the Partnership Center is a member agency of the National Prevention Council—a collaboration of 17 federal departments, agencies and offices to help promote prevention and wellness for individuals, families, and communities. The Council members are guided by the National Prevention Strategy, released two years ago by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, which envisions a prevention-oriented society where all sectors recognize the value of health for individuals, families, and society and work together to achieve better health for all Americans.

>>Read more in our series exploring the National Prevention Strategy, and how each and every sector impacts public health.

NewPublicHealth recently spoke with Acacia Salatti, acting director of the Partnership Center, about their prevention efforts in U.S. communities.

NewPublicHealth: What is the role of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships?

Acacia Salatti: Our office as is an open door for faith and community stakeholders. We see it as a two-way partnership—our center is able to provide information on health and human services programs, and we are able to gain a deeper understanding about what other types of best practices are happening in the community. We are one of 13 faith and neighborhood partnership offices in federal agencies and we all work to together to help faith and community stakeholders create a positive impact in their communities.

NPH: Why is prevention important to the office and how does the office align with the National Prevention Strategy?

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Jan 14 2013
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Stable Jobs = Healthier Lives

Jobs and Health Infographic

The NewPublicHealth National Prevention Strategy series is underway, including interviews with Cabinet Secretaries and their National Prevention Council designees, exploring the impact of jobs, transportation and more on health. “Stable Jobs = Healthier Lives” tells a visual story on the role of employment in the health of our communities.

Some highlights:

  • Since 1977, the life expectancy of male workers retiring at age 65 has risen 6 years in the top half of the income distribution, but only 1.3 years in the bottom half.
  • 12.3 million Americans were unemployed as of October 2012.
  • Laid-off workers are 54% more likely to have fair or poor health, and 83% more likely to develop a stress-releated health condition.
  • There are nearly 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries each year.
  • The United States is one of the few developed nations without universal paid sick days.

Also check out our previous infographics exploring the connection between transportation and health, and education and health.

>>For more on employment and health, read a related issue brief.

View the full infographic below.

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Dec 27 2012
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National Prevention Strategy Series: Corporation for National and Community Service

Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer on the value of volunteering

As the year draws to a close, the most recent installment of the NewPublicHealth series on the National Prevention Strategy is especially appropriate. We spoke with Wendy Spencer, the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in volunteer community service. The mission of CNCS is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.

 Guiding principles of CNCS that help promote the National Prevention Strategy include:

  • Put the needs of local communities first
  • Strengthen public-private partnerships
  • Use programs to build stronger, more efficient, and more sustainable community networks capable of mobilizing volunteers to address local needs, including disaster preparedness and response
  • Build collaborations wherever possible across programs and with other federal programs
  • Help rural and economically distressed communities obtain access to public and private resources
  • Support diverse organizations, including faith-based and other community organizations

During Hurricane Sandy, which struck the East Coast in late October, close to 900 national service members were deployed to states affected by the storm, and nearly 900 more were on standby. National service members assisted with shelter operations, call centers, debris removal, and mass care. “Before the recovery is complete,” said Wendy Spencer, “we expect thousands of national service members from AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs to help families and local and state officials rebuild these communities.”

For its Hurricane Sandy response effort, CNCS coordinated with the Federal Management Agency (FEMA), National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the American Red Cross and state and local authorities.

NewPublicHealth recently spoke with Wendy Spencer, the CEO of CNCS, Asim Mishra, the agency’s chief of staff and Erwin Tan, MD, the CNCS designee on the National Prevention Council and Director of Senior Corps and Strategic Advisor for Veterans and Military Families.

NewPublicHealth: What is the mission of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)?

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Oct 25 2012
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Better Transportation Options=Healthier Lives

The NewPublicHealth National Prevention Strategy series is under way, including interviews with Cabinet Secretaries and their National Prevention Council designees, exploring the impact of transportation, education and more on health. “Better Transportation Options = Healthier Lives” tells a visual story on the role of transportation in the health of our communities.

Some highlights:

  • Public transit users walk an average of 19 minutes getting to and from public transportation.
  • Countries with lower rates of obesity tend to have higher rates of commuters who walk or bike to work.
  • The risk of obesity increases 6 percent with every additional mile spent in the car, and decreases 5 percent  with every kilometer walked.
  • Lengthy commutes cost $100 billion each year in excess fuel costs and lost productivity.
  • More than 30,000 people died in car wrecks in 2010.
  • Strong seatbelt and child safety laws resulted in a 25 percent decrease in car accident deaths since 2005.

Also check out our previous infographic exploring the connection between education and health.

>>For more on transportation and health:

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Oct 25 2012
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Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood: National Prevention Strategy Series

Ray LaHood Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

A new conversation with Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood continues a series of interviews by NewPublicHealth with the heads of federal agencies that comprise the National Prevention Council, convened to partner across government to help create a healthier nation through the National Prevention Strategy.

The U.S. transportation system is a web of highways, bridges, roads, sidewalks, bike paths, trains, and buses that connect people to each other and to places where they work, learn, play, shop, and get medical care. This makes transportation a critical factor in the health and quality—as well as the economic viability—of life of communities. In addition to devoting significant resources and attention to improving the safety of motor vehicle-based transportation, the Department of Transportation and partners across the country are working to provide more transportation options that support walking and cycling and improve health.

>>Check out a new infographic exploring the connection between transportation and health.

Read the new interview with Secretary LaHood.

NPH: Who are some of the Department of Transportation’s partners on the intersection of transportation and health?

Secretary Ray LaHood: We’ve worked with communities all over America on their priorities for improving transportation, but also improving the quality of life in communities. We’ve worked with mayors, we’ve worked with transportation officials, and we’ve worked with advocacy groups. We’ve tried to take best practices in cities that have paid attention to the environment and quality of life in their communities, and lead by not only our own example, but by taking examples from leadership in communities where mayors and transportation advocates and some of our best partners have done extraordinary work on really improving health and quality of life by way of transportation.

We work closely with many different groups, not only here in Washington, but all across the country. For example, we have joined with other agencies for a project called Safe Routes to School that helps create environments where students can walk and bicycle to school safely by allowing children to pick routes to school that are safe for walking – so that their parents don’t have to drive them and so they don’t have to be on a bus. We have a great relationship with bikers all over America, and whenever I go into a community I often have opportunities to meet with the cycling advocates in communities.

We also work closely with advocates to make sure that children are in the right size child safety seats, and we partner with Mothers against Drunk Driving to get drunk drivers off the road. We have lots of advocacy groups and friends around the country who wake up every day and think about safety on the roadways, in vehicles, outside of vehicles, in public transportation.

NPH: How is the DOT working to help prevent injuries related to transportation, such as distracted driving?

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Oct 19 2012
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Ramona Trovato, Environmental Protection Agency: National Prevention Strategy Series

Ramona Trovato Ramona Trovato, Environmental Protection Agency

In a new interview with Ramona Trovato, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NewPublicHealth continues its conversation series about the National Prevention Strategy. The strategy was released last year by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, to help create a healthier and more fit nation.

Earlier this year the Surgeon General’s office released the Strategy’s National Action Plan, designed to show how the 17 Federal Agencies charged with advancing the National Prevention Strategy are implementing its vital components. The EPA has several partner initiatives critical to the health of the nation, which include:

  • Partnership for Sustainable Communities: The EPA is a partner, together with the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in this partnership to help communities improve access to affordable housing and transportation while protecting the environment, all critical aspects of healthy living.
  • Green Ribbon Schools: EPA is a partner with the Department of Education and other agencies for this recognition award that encourages state education agencies and schools to recognize the links between education, health, and the environment, and to make all three of these areas a priority.
  • Safe routes to school: Agencies including HHS, EPA and the Department of Transportation support efforts to improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle to school safely.
  • Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children: This multi-agency task force, which includes the EPA, recommends strategies for protecting children's health and safety, including specific priorities around asthma, unintentional injuries, lead poisoning, cancer, and environmental health in schools.
  • Aging Initiative: This EPA initiative aims to prioritize environmental health hazards that affect older persons, focus on “smart growth” principals to support active aging, and examine the environmental impact of an aging population, and encourage civic involvement among older persons in their communities to reduce hazards. 

Ramona Trovato shared with us EPA’s long history of health promotion and its current efforts to help improve population health as a member agency of the National Prevention Council.

NewPublicHealh: How does the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) align itself with the National Prevention Strategy?

Ramona Trovato: The EPA is really pleased to be part of the National Prevention Council and the National Prevention Strategy. We firmly believe in preventing ill health and in promoting wellness, and it’s something that matters to us in all the work that we do. We have very successfully partnered with Department of Health and Human Services in the past and with a number of other federal agencies including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to benefit the public’s health.

NPH: What are the key roles of the Environmental Protection Agency in protecting the nation’s health?

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Sep 26 2012
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Surgeon General Regina Benjamin Q&A: Implementing the National Prevention Strategy

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin Surgeon General Regina Benjamin

This summer the National Prevention Council, made up of 17 federal departments that are incorporating prevention into their activities, released its first annual report detailing successes in implementing the National Prevention Strategy and laying out next steps to help achieve its goals.

At the release, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, who is also chair of the Council said, “This Action Plan highlights how the National Prevention Council departments are working together—in conjunction with state, tribal, local, territorial, public, and private partners—to begin to move our health system from one based on sickness and disease to one based on wellness and prevention.” 

As part of our conversation series on the National Prevention Strategy, with key leaders in federal agencies who are shaping the Strategy, NewPublicHealth spoke with Dr. Benjamn about the regional meetings she is spearheading across the country to implement the strategy and her vision for healthier lives for all Americans. 

Listen to a short podcast with Dr. Benjamin, and read the full interview below.

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Sep 11 2012
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Jonathan Woodson, Department of Defense: National Prevention Strategy Series

Dr. Jonathan Woodson Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs in the Department of Defense

World Suicide Prevention Day, co-sponsored by the World Health Organization, promotes commitment and action to prevent suicides. Almost 3,000 people commit suicide every day, and for every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives. In the first five months of 2012, at least 155 military service members committed suicide—more than the number of service personnel killed in Afghanistan during the same time period.

As part of our National Prevention Strategy seriesNewPublicHealth spoke with Jonathan Woodson, MD, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs in the Department of Defense, about suicide prevention as well as the department’s overall approach to wellness and prevention for military, veterans and their families.

Listen to the podcast and read the full interview with Dr. Woodson below.

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Aug 28 2012
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Better Education=Healthier Lives

The NewPublicHealth National Prevention Strategy series is underway, including interviews with Cabinet Secretaries and their National Prevention Council designees, exploring the impact of education, transportation and more on health. “Better Education = Healthier Lives” tells a visual story on the role of education in the health of our communities.

Also check out:

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>>For more on education and health: Listen to our podcast interview with Arne Duncan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education (DoE) and read our Q&A with Donald Yu, designee to the Prevention Council.