Magazine article The Nation's Health

Forum Seeks to Help Public Health 'Catch the Wave' of Change

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Forum Seeks to Help Public Health 'Catch the Wave' of Change

Article excerpt

Public health is on the move. The field is changing rapidly, and keeping track with the shifting landscape can be difficult.

Budgets have been trimmed, and new policies and expectations added. Public health professionals are being asked to do more with less while also taking major steps forward.

A forum at APHA's 141st Annual Meeting and Exposition in Boston sought to energize those in attendance and encourage them to seek bold solutions to the problems they face. Cohosted by APHA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the summit, held Nov. 2, gathered public health professionals from across the U.S.

"This was one of a series of conversations RWJF is holding about how public health is transforming," said Katie Wehr, MPH, program officer with the foundation. "Public health is facing challenges, such as the economy, but there are also opportunities ... This was about moving the health of the nation forward."

Attendees at the invite-only meeting included directors of state and local health departments, business leaders and representatives from national groups, such as the National Association of County and City Health Officials and the National Network of Public Health Institutes.

"This is an opportunity to figure out where the public is going and then, when the wave comes, be right there to catch it," said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, as he opened the forum.

Plenary speaker Mildred Thompson, MSW, director of the Center for Health Equity and Place at PolicyLink, noted that public health is increasingly turning its focus to areas that might have been intimidating in the past. …

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