The Need for Vigilance in Public Health

    • March 10, 2009

It would be hard to think of a more aptly named Director of Health than Pierre Vigilance, M.D., M.P.H. As the man charged with protecting and improving the health of those living in the nation's capital, Vigilance knows that he, his staff and community health workers across the District of Columbia have a challenging job. With some of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS, childhood obesity and infant mortality, Washington, D.C., is a city in need of strong investments in public health. Vigilance knows that in the current economic climate, every dollar counts.

A new report released by the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) shows that many public health programs across the nation are at serious risk in the current budget crisis. The report finds that there are "serious gaps" in the nation's ability to protect citizens against health threats. With the current state of the economy, these gaps are only going to get bigger, causing public health programs and jobs to be cut. Further cuts will put more Americans at risk for illnesses and diseases that could be prevented and, in the end, save health care costs.

On the front lines of public health, Vigilance gives us a first-hand look at programs in the nation's capital that can save health costs and increase quality of life at the same time.