The Future of Public Health

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Summary: This summary article originally presented at the prestigious Shattuck Lecture at the Massachusetts Medical Society, by the Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and provides a broad and insightful sweep of issues and developments that will shape the future of U.S. public health efforts over the next two decades.
The major sections of the article include:
  • Building a public health pyramid
  • Infectious diseases in the United States
  • Infectious diseases around the world
  • Chronic diseases in the United States
  • Chronic diseases around the world
  • The role of government
  • The future

The article provides excellent insight into the status of current public health thinking about population health improvement and it’s very clear to the wellness practitioner reading the document that much of the vision for public health will not occur without a very concerted effort on the part of employers and health plans along with a significant expansion of funding.

Practical Significance: This article provides a clear view of the perspective that drives the American public health community and also reveals their expectations about how worksite wellness should be deployed. The article also provides a very useful “broad brush” look at the major underlying factors likely to change the epidemiology and risk factor framework for future infectious disease incidence and the clinical and behavioral risk factors associated with the prevalence and severity of our Nation’s major chronic diseases.

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