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New Coalition Formed to Modernize and Advance the U.S. Public Health System

Headshot of Joann Donnellan
Joann Donnellan

Washington, DC – The Bipartisan Policy Center today announced the formation of a new coalition of organizations working together to develop a five-year roadmap for public health leaders and elected officials that influences strategic investments and decision-making to build a more robust and sustainable public health system. Members include the de Beaumont Foundation, the CDC Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Sunflower Foundation, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC), and the Public Health Accreditation Board.

The project, Public Health Forward: Modernizing the U.S. Public Health System, will define the vision and capabilities for a 21st century governmental public health system that promotes health, prevents disease, and protects all communities across the country. The coalition’s recommendations will be organized around six core issue areas: 1) creating an interoperable and modern data and technology infrastructure, 2) building workforce capacity, 3) addressing health equity and promoting racial healing and transformation, 4) strengthening public health law and governance to support a modern system, 5) effectively and efficiently financing local, state, and territorial governmental public health functions, and 6) catalyzing cross-sectoral partnerships and community engagement.

To inform this work, the coalition invites all state and local public health employees, community-based organization leaders, staff, and constituents to complete a short survey, which is being conducted in partnership with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The survey deadline is August 20, 2021.

“The nation is at a critical crossroads with the attention focused on public health during COVID-19 and the historic, one-time emergency investments in America’s public health system,” said Dr. Anand Parekh, BPC’s chief medical advisor, who is leading the project. “Public leaders must embrace and leverage this unique moment to strategically plan and implement a well-resourced, modern system that builds on the capacity of all levels of government, so we are better prepared for the next pandemic or any other public health emergency. This coalition will develop a vision for an effective 21st century governmental public health system.”

Over the next several months, BPC, in partnership with the coalition members, will conduct research, interviews, town halls, listening sessions, and multiple roundtable discussions with federal, state, and local partners as well as public health professionals from other sectors to develop a shared vision and operational framework for a robust public health system. The project will also be influenced by a public health advisory committee composed of national public health leaders.

A bipartisan task force made up of current and former federal, state, and local government officials, and representatives in the health care field and private sector will review all input and develop a set of recommendations to be released in a final report by the end of the year.

Task force members include:

  • Mike Beebe, Former Governor, Arkansas
  • Mary Ann Borgeson, Commissioner, Douglas County, Nebraska
  • Michael Curry, Esq., President and CEO, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers; Member, National Board of Directors, NAACP
  • Matt Eyles, President and CEO, America’s Health Insurance Plans
  • Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO, Lutheran Services in America
  • Mira Irons, M.D., Chief Health and Science Officer, American Medical Association
  • Sly James, Former Mayor, Kansas City, Missouri
  • John Kasich, Former Governor, Ohio
  • Ron Nirenberg, Mayor, San Antonio, Texas
  • Phyllis J. Randall, Chair At-Large, Loudoun County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors
  • Michael Rell, Mayor, Town of Wethersfield, Connecticut
  • Kristen Silverberg, Executive Vice President for Policy, Business Roundtable
  • Jonathan Singer, Former State Representative, Colorado
  • Deb Soholt, Former State Senator, South Dakota

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