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HHS Makes Recommendations to Advance “Public Health 3.0”

On October 18, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, HHS Acting Secretary for Health, released “Public Health 3.0: A Call to Action to Create a 21st Century Public Health Infrastructure.” According to HHS, “Public Health 3.0 is a major upgrade in public health practice to emphasize cross-sectoral environmental, policy, and systems-level actions that directly affect the social determinants of health and advance health equity. It represents a challenge to business leaders, community leaders, state lawmakers, and Federal policymakers to incorporate health into all areas of governance.”

The recommendations released by Dr. DeSalvo are:

  1. Public health leaders should embrace the role of Chief Health Strategist for their communities — working with all relevant partners so that they can drive initiatives including those that explicitly address “upstream” social determinants of health. Specialized Public Health 3.0 training should be available for those preparing to enter or already within the public health workforce.
  2. Public health departments should engage with community stakeholders—from both the public and private sectors — to form vibrant, structured, cross-sector partnerships designed to develop and guide Public Health 3.0 – style initiatives and to foster shared funding, services, governance, and collective action.
  3. Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) criteria and processes for department accreditation should be enhanced and supported so as to best foster Public Health 3.0 principles, as we strive to ensure that every person in the United States is served by nationally accredited health departments.
  4. Timely, reliable, granular (i.e., sub-county), and actionable data should be made accessible to communities throughout the country, and clear metrics to document success in public health practice should be developed in order to guide, focus, and assess the impact of prevention initiatives, including those targeting the social determinants of health and enhancing equity.
  5. Funding for public health should be enhanced and substantially modified, and innovative funding models should be explored so as to expand financial support for Public Health 3.0 – style leadership and prevention initiatives. Blending and braiding of funds from multiple sources should be encouraged and allowed, including the recapturing and reinvesting of generated revenue. Funding should be identified to support core infrastructure as well as community-level work to address the social determinants of health.

Among the many secondary recommendations contained in the report, HHS states that “Local public health agencies should partner with public health training centers and academic schools and programs of public health to inform training that meets the local public health workforce needs.”

The report was released at a public session held in Washington on Tuesday that featured introductory remarks from the Surgeon General, presentation of the recommendations by Dr. DeSalvo, and several reactor panels. The session was webcast and will be posted online shortly.

The Making of Public Health 3.0 Leaders

Dean Lynn Goldman, George Washington University, Milken Institute School of Public Health, co-hosted an event on Monday, October 17 with the US Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Karen DeSalvo, HHS Acting Secretary for Health, and Dr. John Auerbach, Director of Policy, CDC, along with a panel discussion with health commissioners: Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore, Maryland; Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, Detroit, Michigan; Mr. Stephen Williams, Houston, Texas; and Dr. Terry Cline, Oklahoma State shared visions and thoughts on leadership, workforce development and the future of public health in the Public Health 3.0 era.

The panel stressed that everyone in the United States should be served by a strong public health system, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, income and zip code.  In the Public Health 3.0 era, the vision is for local, state and tribal public health leaders to act as the chief health strategists for their communities. As the chief health strategist, public health leaders of the 21st century need to demonstrate competencies including leadership, including ability to build coalitions and partnerships to influence health outcomes; ability to communicate public health issues to various audiences; ability to analyze and interpret quantitative and qualitative data; and awareness of cultural values and practice within communities. These competencies are informed by the traditional public health core knowledge areas as well as cross-cutting and emerging public health areas.