America's New Public Health in the Age of Austerity, Uncertainty and Contagion

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provided opening remarks and accepted the Presidential Citation Award at the American Public Health Association 139th Annual Meeting & Exposition on October 30, 2011.

Lavizzo-Mourey addressed more than 5,000 American Public Health Association members gathered in Washington, DC, explaining that we now know that poor individual and poor community health are largely determined by economic, environmental, social, and even geographic factors. There’s only one way to slow down the accelerating spread of non-communicable diseases, and that’s to work together to reshape the cultural, commercial and governmental policies and practices that are unwitting drivers of poor population health.

She also stressed that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is in this for the long haul, committed to helping public health secure the five essentials needed to match the imperatives of the time:

  • Support as you engage in the political process
  • The evidence to make your case
  • Funding—private and public—that is as responsible as it is practical
  • Technologies and infrastructure that are cutting-edge
  • The backing of an informed public that knows and trusts you