Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Best/Worst Ideas of the Week

Starting today, Partnership for Prevention begins a weekly feature on this blog in which we recognize the best and worst prevention ideas that made news within the past week. We solicit nominations from the Partnership staff, which then votes on the weekly winners. If you should come across anything that you feel is worthy of a nomination, please e-mail it to us at

This week's winners:


The Prevention and Wellness Fund - The economic stimulus package signed into law on Tuesday included included $1 billion for a Prevention and Wellness Fund, which will be used to fund key initiatives related to disease prevention and health promotion. While it was much less than the $5.8 billion sought in the Senate's original version of the bill, it still represents the single largest one-time infusion of resources into the U.S. public health system. Partnership for Prevention’s recommendations to Congress that were unveiled in December included the creation of a discrete, sustainable funding source to support state and local core public health activities and provide incentives for states to meet specified public health objectives.


We actually had a tie between two alcohol-related stories:

Wasteful Whiskey Rebellion: Distillery executives in Kentucky recently poured bottles of bourbon on the steps of the state capitol to protest a proposed 6 percent sales tax increase on alcohol. Despite their objections, the legislature approved the tax hike and the governor signed it into law on Saturday. Studies show that taxing alcoholic beverages is an effective public health strategy for reducing the burden of alcohol-related disease. In the February 11th issue of Join Together, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics co-editor Steve Heilig noted that alcohol taxes have been largely ignored in recent years while the public has turned its attention to taxing tobacco to fund health initiatives. So the most recent "whiskey rebellion" not only ran counter to good science and good public health, but it was a waste of good bourbon.

Rise of the "Beer Pong Lobby:" An impassioned online campaign by leagues of beer-pong players led a veteran state senator in Maryland to abandon his effort to ban drinking games such as beer pong and flip cup in Baltimore bars. Sen. George W. Della Jr., a Baltimore Democrat, felt such games encourage excessive drinking and led to raucous behavior in city neighborhoods. "We had a campaign going to get everybody to contact the senator, and I was really happy to see all the people that came together," said Jim Reiter, co-founder of MD Beer Pong, which bills itself as the state's largest beer-pong league.


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