Michelle Larkin, senior program officer and Public Health Team director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was invited to give the keynote address at the 2009 Keeneland Public Health Systems & Services Research (PHSSR) Conference in Lexington, Ky. On the evening of April 7, 2009, Larkin spoke to more than 200 public health researchers and practitioners about the need for a national strategy that shifts dollars from the treatment of disease to its prevention—from chronic care to wellness. Because they are building the evidence for prevention practices and policies that provide the greatest return on public investment, said Larkin, PHSSR researchers are critical to strengthening public health and achieving health reform.
"Practitioners and policy-makers need more than a hunch," Larkin told the audience. "They need the evidence you provide to make hard decisions about how best to invest limited resources to protect and promote health. You are discovering [the] truth by building the evidence for public health services, systems and policies. You are determining what must be done to make public health better."