Future of Public Health Summit Series to Launch; First Summit To Explore How to Achieve a Diverse and Robust Workforce

Four-part Lights, Camera, Action Summit Series to examine key public health issues—data infrastructure, financing, role of cross-sector partnerships, in addition to future of the workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest reminder of the vital importance of public health protection and need for a future-forward, future-ready public health system. Although public health has been chronically under resourced, significant funding flowing into the public health system during the COVID-19 pandemic creates opportunities to build a stronger, resilient and trusted system that helps assure everyone can attain their full potential for health and well-being. To advance recommendations for a modernized U.S. public health system, the CDC Foundation is convening the Lights, Camera, Action: Future of Public Health Summit Series in collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC), and other public health partners. The first summit, scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, from 11:00 AM–2:30 PM ET, will explore how to achieve a diverse and robust public health workforce for the future.

“With more funding now being deployed for public health we have an opportunity to develop an action-oriented approach to plan for the public health system we will need in the future to make health equitable and achievable for all people,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, one of the summit’s co-hosting organizations. “It is now incumbent on the field—working with our elected officials, community partners, businesses and the public we serve—to ensure this funding is strategically deployed to ensure solid footing for public health going forward. This footing will also help us collectively ensure the health, safety and security for all Americans and contribute to the health of people around the world.”

The first summit, focused on the public health workforce, will explore several critical issues. These include new resources for strengthening the public health workforce; strategies and recommendations from recent initiatives, such as Public Health 3.0, the Essential Public Health Services, Public Health Forward; how to build a diverse, inclusive and engaged public health workforce prepared to promote health equity; and innovative approaches to build a workforce from exemplars in the field.

Future summits are being planned and will focus on:

  • Summit 2: Creating an Interoperable and Modern Data and Technology Infrastructure—January 2022
  • Summit 3: Effectively Financing Governmental Public Health Functions and Strengthening Public Health Law and Governance to Support a Modern System—February 2022
  • Summit 4: Catalyzing Cross-Sectoral Partnerships and Community Engagement—March 2022

The impressive list of public health leaders speaking at the first summit includes CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH; Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director, American Public Health Association; Anne Zink, MD, FACEP, president-elect, ASTHO; Lisa Macon Harrison, MPH, board president, NACCHO; Wilma Wooten, MD, MPH, chair, BCHC; Anand Parekh, MD, chief medical advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center; Brian Castrucci, DRPH, MA, president and CEO, de Beaumont Foundation; Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, president and CEO, Trust for America’s Health; Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO, CDC Foundation; and many others.

The Lights, Camera, Action name is purposeful in conveying the public health landscape at this time and action-oriented approach needed to move the field forward. Lights represent the guiding lights from research, such as Public Health 3.0, and other work, including this week’s report from the Bipartisan Policy Center titled Public Health Forward. Lights are also exemplars in the field in practice and policy. The camera represents the view of public health through the lens of the pandemic and the loss of trust, emphasizing the need to create trust and a positive movement to rebuild and transform public health. The camera also emphasizes the need for all public health work to be seen through an equity lens. Action includes local, state and national steps public health officials can take to address the issues illuminated by the lights and captured through the camera.

The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are stepping forward to provide initial support for the Lights, Camera, Action Summit Series and to help catalyze actions needed to propel a positive movement that rebuilds confidence, fosters health equity and transforms our nation’s public health system. Others interested in supporting this mission should contact the CDC Foundation at advancement@cdcfoundation.org.

More information is available on the summit series website at www.futureofpublichealth.org.

About the CDC Foundation: The CDC Foundation helps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) save and improve lives by unleashing the power of collaboration between CDC, philanthropies, corporations, organizations and individuals to protect the health, safety and security of America and the world. The CDC Foundation is the go-to nonprofit authorized by Congress to mobilize philanthropic partners and private-sector resources to support CDC’s critical health protection mission. Since 1995, the CDC Foundation has raised over $1.6 billion and launched more than 1,200 programs impacting a variety of health threats from chronic disease conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer, to infectious diseases like rotavirus and HIV, to emergency responses, including COVID-19 and Ebola. The CDC Foundation managed hundreds of CDC-led programs in the United States and in more than 140 countries last year.

About ASTHO: ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and Freely Associated States, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice. For more information, visit https://www.astho.org/.

About BCHC: The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact nearly 62 million people, or one in five Americans. For more information, visit https://www.bigcitieshealth.org.

About NACCHO: The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.