Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report that examines the value and urgency of investing in the federal, state, and local agencies that comprise America’s public health systems. The report envisions what investments and reforms are needed to build strong public health systems that can respond to current and future threats, such as increases in infectious disease and biological threats; the growing impact of climate change on health; and the continued burden of chronic disease.
The report finds that chronically insufficient, inflexible, and piecemeal federal funding, coupled with the politicization of public health during the pandemic, has exacerbated challenges of a shrinking public health workforce and outdated systems responsible for limiting data collection, data sharing, and disease monitoring.
Key recommendations from the report include:
- Overhaul funding for public health to prioritize stable, sustained investments—replacing siloed, disease-specific spending for comprehensive public health infrastructure investments.
- Upgrade and expand disease monitoring systems, lab capacity, and data collection efforts.
- Build and incentivize a diverse, culturally competent, and well-trained public health workforce and build partnerships and training programs to bolster capacity during public health emergencies.
- Enhance communication about the importance of public health, using more accessible messaging and vehicles.
- Ensure that every community has access to a public health agency with basic services and capabilities.
- Bolster global public health preparedness.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of America’s public health systems to improve societal health, advance equity, and foster economic and climate resiliency; yet long-term, structural challenges limit their ability to prevent disease and disability and to neutralize potential threats,” said Marquisha Johns and Jill Rosenthal, authors of the report. “This piece outlines urgent challenges facing America’s public health infrastructure and what policymakers can do to guarantee that all Americans are served by a modernized system that helps us all live healthier lives.”
Read the report: “How Investing in Public Health Will Strengthen America’s Health” by Marquisha Johns and Jill Rosenthal
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