Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Are Public Health Jobs Valued?

As Congress deliberated on an economic stimulus plan, an AIDS worker on the other side of the country eloquently voiced the questions that are on the minds of public health officials everywhere.

"Are positions building highways of more importance than positions promoting good health?" Michael Kaplan, executive director at Cascade AIDS Project in Oregon, asked in a guest column that appeared in today's edition of "The Stump," a blog produced by The (Portland) Oregonian's Editorial Board. "Does a salaried construction worker spend less in our communities than a salaried public health specialist? Are positions focused on green energy -- efforts that save on fuel costs in the long run -- of more value than positions focused on health promotion that save on health care costs in the long run?

"The reality is that some members of Congress have decided which sectors of society they care for more, and it seems those who serve private interests over the public good are winning," Kaplan said. "At a time when the economy will only further decimate the public health system -- a system already ailing -- how is it we can say there is no need to support the return of jobs to help with this important work for our community?"


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