“Public health is at a crossroads,” according to an editorial published in the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health. It was co-written by Jeff Levi, PhD, professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) and Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, former acting assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and currently a professor of medicine and population health at the University of Texas Austin Dell Medical School. Public health “can lead the nation once again in improving health outcomes and extending life expectancy,” they contend, “or it can continue down its current path and observe and document decline in quality and length of life.”
The editorial makes the case that the findings of the Public Health Workforce Interest and Needs Survey (Public Health WINS) are a call to arms. The survey’s findings, also published in the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health, show that while public health workers believe in a Public Health 3.0 approach, wherein public health leads or catalyzes the multisector partnerships in their communities to address all the determinants of health, “the survey found that public health workers feel creativity is not rewarded and that they lack training in systems and strategic thinking, change management, and developing a vision for a healthy community.”
In their editorial, DeSalvo and Levi call on schools of public health to take the lead in providing “robust and accessible training programs” for the current and future public health workforce that will ensure they have the skills to implement this vision.
The editorial is titled “Public Health WINS Is a Call to Arms as Well as a Roadmap for All Who Care About a Thriving, Healthy Nation.”