Advancing the U.S. Public Health System through Collaboration and Research

During my career, and particularly in my tenure at the CDC Foundation, I’ve seen firsthand just how much we can achieve through collaboration. Today, strengthening our public health system in a sustainable way is one of the most important things we can do to help our nation respond to emerging infectious diseases, natural disasters and other dangerous health threats that have the potential to disrupt our daily lives.

In support of this effort, I’m pleased to announce our participation in a new coalition focused on building a more robust and sustainable public health system. The Public Health Forward: Modernizing the U.S. Public Health System project will define the vision and capabilities for a 21st century governmental public health system that promotes health, prevents disease, and protects all Americans.

With support from the CDC Foundation and other coalition partners, including de Beaumont 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 Public Health Accreditation Board, and the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC), the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) will develop a shared vision and operational framework for advancing the U.S. public health system. Public health leaders and elected officials can use the five-year roadmap to guide their work in building a more robust and sustainable public health system.

The coalition’s recommendations will be organized around six core issue areas: creating an interoperable and modern data and technology infrastructure; building workforce capacity; addressing health equity and promoting racial healing and transformation; strengthening public health law and governance to support a modern system; effectively and efficiently financing local, state, Tribal, and territorial governmental public health functions; and catalyzing cross-sectoral partnerships and community engagement.

Based on 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, the project will develop a shared vision and operational framework advancing the public health system. A public health advisory committee composed of national public health leaders, and 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 help guide this work.

I’d like to personally thank my public health colleagues for serving on this important task force, and a full list of these individuals is available in the Bipartisan Policy Center’s press release.

If we can work together to equip the public health system with an adequate and prepared workforce, data systems and medical countermeasures, we can protect and advance the health and safety of communities around the country. I look forward to working together with our coalition partners to strengthen our nation’s public health system and ensure we are prepared for what lies ahead.

Dr. Judy Monroe
Judy Monroe, MD, is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.