KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Future of Public Health, 2022 Edition

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KHN’s “What’s Health?” It’s been almost a year. The podcast took a deep dive into public health and a lot has changed. Covid, in various versions, is still infecting people around the world, along with other infectious diseases including monkeypox and even polio. Yet public health remains a divisive issue, with politicians and the public alike arguing over how best to protect communities without trampling on the rights of individuals.

Earlier this summer, the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a National Public Health System called for a major overhaul of the way the United States organizes, funds, and communicates about public health. The report includes specific recommendations for the Biden administration, Congress, state and local public health agencies, and medical and public health professionals.

In this special episode, “What is Health?” Host Julie Rovner and KHN Midwest Correspondent Lauren Weber interview Commission Chair Dr. Margaret Hamburg. Hamburg is a former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, former assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the US Department of Health and Human Services, and former health commissioner of New York City.

Hamburg said the commission is advocating for stronger federal leadership and the development of a national system that better integrates and coordinates public health efforts. This includes working with states and localities, but coordinating federal health officials with other federal departments to streamline public health initiatives, such as education and transportation. He also noted that improving data collection and communication with the public is essential.

He said, public health must be seen as a key component of public security.

You can read the commission’s report here.

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