David Michaels is keenly interested in the relationships between income, wealth, and equality with public health. Until a year ago, Michaels served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. Now a member of the Milken Institute School of Public Health faculty, Michaels discusses the importance of workplace safety and the current state of public health in a new video.
“A lack of income and income inequality has a huge impact on people’s health,” Michaels says. “Premature mortality, all sorts of different illnesses [and] even the opioid epidemic are clearly related to the economic situation of the country—and the world.”
Michaels, who was appointed by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, was the longest serving Assistant Secretary in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s history. He discusses why he feels that worker injuries and their prevention merit more attention as a public health issue.