Statement by RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser on Political Interference of Medical and Public Health Guidance
The following statement from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) President and CEO Richard Besser, MD, affirms the Foundation's strong beliefs that medical professionals and public health officials should have the ability to protect their patients and their communities based on best practices in science and medicine without political interference.
We have witnessed a dangerous and expanding pattern of elected and appointed state officials interfering with the efforts of medical and public health professionals who are using science-based approaches to protect and promote the health of their patients. When elected and appointed officials intrude upon the vital and trusted relationship between medical and public health professionals and their communities, they flout the oath they took to protect and defend their constituencies.
Most recently, these harmful intrusions have taken the form of: Texas state officials declaring that evidence-based gender-affirming medical therapies for transgender youth are “child abuse,” and the firing of Tennessee’s top vaccine official who followed FDA and CDC guidance for youth vaccination to protect against the deadly COVID virus. These obstructions have potentially fatal and long-lasting consequences for families and communities across the nation. And they’re wrong.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation believes strongly that medical professionals and public health officials should have the ability to protect their patients and their communities based on best practices in science and medicine without political interference. And we will support efforts to confront intrusive and harmful policies limiting those protections.
Every individual in America should have a fair and just opportunity to pursue health and well-being. Guidance from medical professionals to their patients should remain free from partisan politics, and public health efforts to keep communities healthy and safe should be amplified, not impeded, by those elected and appointed to serve the public.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.