Tuesday, January 27, 2009

by Corinne G. Husten, MD, MPH, Partnership Prevention Interim President

When it comes to public health funding, President Obama’s economic stimulus package is exactly what the doctor ordered. It would provide the largest single increase in public health funding in the nation’s history. These critical appropriations will establish a community prevention infrastructure that will go far to help the nation reduce the leading drivers of chronic disease: poor nutrition, physical inactivity and tobacco use.

The plan, which is now before Congress, will result in an increase from nearly 100 prevention programs to as many as 800 programs in urban and rural communities across the nation. A Senate subcommittee has approved a version of the plan that would fund $5.8 billion for state and local programs, while the full House of representatives is slated to vote Wednesday on a version that would provide $3 billion.

This infusion of Federal funding will help implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services and its nationally recognized Community Guide. The Task Force represents the nation’s only independent body dedicated to the evaluation of community prevention strategies based on systematic review of high quality research. More funding will enable the Task Force to eliminate its current backlog of research evaluations and establish a first class process for widely disseminating their findings to State and local stakeholders.

The Task Force on Community Preventive Services will play an essential role in helping communities identify priorities and select interventions that are the most effective interventions and provide the biggest health benefit. The success of community prevention will depend on the application of effective, research-based programs.


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