Despite extravagant spending on clinical care, the United States lags behind its global peers on measures of life expectancy and other major health outcomes. Public health—and its population-based actions—can significantly influence health. Improving America’s health will require paying attention to these population-based prevention efforts and remedying public health funding.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Public Health Strategies to Improve Health beginning in 2009 to examine three topics in population health: data and measurement, law and policy, and funding.

This report issues ten recommendations, including:

  1. Setting national targets in life expectancy and per capita health spending to close the gab between the United States and comparable high-income nations within 20 years;
  2. Endorsing the need for the minimum package of public health services available through all public health departments;
  3. Convening expert panels to define and estimate the cost of a minimum package of public health services; and
  4. Establishing equitable federal investment in medical care and public health systems.

This final report in a three-part series aims to guide public health leaders, policymakers and other stakeholders to inform efforts addressing the nation’s health challenges in the 21st century and beyond.

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