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PHI Hails National Prevention Strategy as a 'Breakthrough Moment' for American's Health

June 16, 2011

The Public Health Institute (PHI) today welcomed the release of the historic National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy. This blueprint for realigning the country's health system is recognition, at long last, of the paramount role that prevention should play in promoting health, containing medical care costs and reducing the burden of disease.

"This is a breakthrough moment for health in the United States," said Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, president and CEO of PHI. "For the first time, we are recognizing the importance and value of prevention and putting health at the heart of government decision-making. If decisions about land use, housing, transportation, education and social services are considered through a health lens, we will go a long way toward reducing the health inequities that undermine so many of our communities."

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, called for the development of the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy to guide the nation as it shifts to an emphasis on prevention and health promotion. The Act also provides $15 billion over 10 years for the Prevention and Public Health Fund to enable states and communities to expand preventive services.

The National Strategy sets out goals, priorities and recommendations for improving the health of all Americans through prevention and the alignment of policies and programs at the national, state and local levels. Significantly, it calls for government planning and decision-making to give consideration to the impact these actions could have on health, which will move the nation toward an approach commonly known as "health in all policies." Long advanced by PHI, health in all policies takes into account the critical part government plays in creating environments that foster healthy living.

"The National Prevention Strategy gives us the vision and the tools to make the promise of prevention set out in the Affordable Care Act a reality," said Carmen R. Nevarez, MD, MPH, PHI vice president for external affairs and preventive medicine advisor, and immediate past president of the American Public Health Association. "Not only will health reform expand access to clinical care but the Strategy and the Prevention and Public Health Fund will ensure that proven methods for reducing preventable death, chronic illness and injury are more widely available at the community level, reducing health disparities in underserved communities."