Making the Case for Investing in Public Health

Dates of Project: September 2012 through August 2013


The Council for a Strong America, through three of its membership organizations, engaged leaders in business (America’s Edge), law enforcement (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids), and the military (Mission: Readiness) to make the case for investing in public health and community-wide prevention efforts.

The leaders developed reports, wrote letters to the editor and op-ed pieces, and held media events to draw media and policy-maker attention to improving public health by investing in crime prevention, obesity prevention, and economic competitiveness. The 2013 County Health Rankings, an RWJF-funded program that provides an annual snapshot of health in the nation’s 3,000 counties, was a key data source.

“When you look at the annals of change in this country, especially big changes that require public will and public resources, almost none of it has been accomplished in a unilateral one-party way.”—Richard Cook, Deputy Director Strategic Planning and Development at the Council for a Strong America.

Key Results

  • America’s Edge members described the challenges businesses face in finding qualified employees, and how those skill gaps threaten the economy, in three reports and in news releases.
  • Mission: Readiness members published several letters to the editor and an op-ed piece highlighting county-specific obesity rates from the County Health Rankings and their impact on national security because young people may not be fit to fight.
  • Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released 13 state/region reports, accompanied by media events across the country, to promote investments in high-quality early education and home visiting programs that coach and support parents. The series was entitled I’m the Guy You Pay Later: Sheriffs, Chiefs and Prosecutors Urge America to Cut Crime by Investing Now in High-Quality Early Education and Cure.

“Our goal was to maximize awareness of County Health Rankings data, which can impact the health of so many Americans.”—Amy Dawson Taggart, national director of Mission: Readiness.