The Public Health Institute Commends President Biden on Day One Actions

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman speaks at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Statement from Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, CEO and President, Public Health Institute

” ‘A nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.’ The words of California poet Amanda Gorman during the 59th Inauguration Ceremony speak to the ongoing work that is necessary to secure the promise of America for all of its people, including those who have been oppressed and marginalized for centuries. In this spirit, the Public Health Institute commends President Biden for the actions taken today on the first day of the new federal administration. These actions are ambitious and audacious. They are also necessary to address the challenges that face us as a nation and to help secure health and wellbeing for all.

“Acknowledging and addressing the harms caused by centuries of racial injustice; securing a more inclusive immigration policy; concerted action on climate change; and rapid mobilization to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and the equity, housing and economic crises it has spawned: these actions, and specific steps taken, including rejoining the Paris climate accord, ending the Keystone XL contract, and reforging global connection and cooperation through rejoining the World Health Organization, will save lives and strengthen our society.

“The recognition of basic human rights, health, dignity and freedoms should go without comment. Yet so many rights have been stripped from so many over the past four years that their restoration deserves notice.

“While ‘Democracy prevailed,’ we have so much work to do to advance health and equity and build allies, both in the U.S. and globally. The Public Health Institute affirms our commitment to working with the new administration and Congress to advance these priorities, but also to holding our leaders accountable where we see delay, inaction or diversion. We all must work hard to rebuild trust and confidence—here at home and with our partners around the world—using science and evidence as the basis of our decisions. We cannot just restore things to what they were, we must acknowledge and address the gaps that have existed throughout our history and across administrations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed not just the inequities in our nation, but also the weaknesses of the public health system, undermined by decades of cuts and underinvestment. We urge bipartisan action and common purpose, not just to restore funds and resources for our public health system, but to re-vision public health and center its importance as an essential pillar to advance justice and equity for all.”

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