Day 5: Building On 20 Years of Success

We started off the week talking about the health care disparities that exist in the United States, and while they paint an ugly picture, the last 20 years have shown us that there have been improvements and that we will continue to see improvements. In order to see those improvements, we need to continue to fight for change and to play an active role in change.

For those of you reading these posts this week, how do you think you can be a part of the changing landscape of health care? What is the number one change that you would like to see and what do we need to make that change?

Excerpt from the American Public Health Association:

Let’s celebrate our accomplishments and talk about what it will take to become the Healthiest Nation in One Generation!

2015 marks the 20th anniversary of APHA coordinating National Public Health Week! The accomplishments of the public health community over the last two decades are significant. To become the Healthiest Nation in One Generation: experts need to support the integration of public health and primary care; policy decision makers need to understand and support funding for both a strong public health workforce and prevention programs proven to advance health; both national and local policy decision makers need to expand the consideration of health implications in all the policies they create; and the general public needs to make healthy choices for themselves and demand that everyone has an equal opportunity to make those same choices.

Facts & Stats:

Some of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th Century – according to the CDC (and we agree!) include:

  • Healthier Mothers & Babies – Infant and maternal mortality rates have decreased in the U.S. Environmental interventions, improvements in nutrition, advances in clinical medicine, improvements in access to health care, improvements in surveillance and monitoring of disease, increases in education levels, and improvements in standards of living contributed to this remarkable decline.
  • Immunizations – Today, U.S. vaccination coverage is at record high levels! National efforts to promote vaccine use among all children has helped eradicate Smallpox and dramatically decrease the number of cases of Polio, Measles, Hib and other diseases in the U.S.
  • Motor Vehicle Safety – We’ve seen a huge reduction in the rate of death attributable to motor vehicle crashes in the United States, which represents the successful public health response to a great technologic advancement (the motorization of America). The response has spanned government, public health and driver and passenger behavior.
  • Family Planning – Increased contraception use, public health education and other factors mean that, today, Americans face fewer unintended pregnancies and are far more likely to achieve desired birth spacing and family size.
  • Tobacco as a Health Hazard – During 1964-1992, approximately 1.6 million deaths caused by smoking were prevented thanks to substantial public health efforts.
  • Decline in Deaths from Heart Attack & Stroke – Still the country’s top killers, the public health community has helped achieve remarkable declines in deaths from both diseases: since 1950, deaths from cardiovascular disease have declined 60 percent, and stroke rates have declined 70 percent.

(For more visit

What’s next? Together we can create the healthiest nation in one generation.

We have a lot of challenges to overcome, but it all starts with a simple first step:

Sign the pledge to show your commitment.  Ask others to sign as well because the more people who sign, the more influence we have to drive change.

Sign the petition to ask our leaders to do their part.  It will take change at both the local and national level to ensure our communities make a positive impact on our health.

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