Category Archives: Public Health Policy

National Commission to Issue Sharp Warning That Efforts to Improve Health Will Fail Unless the Nation Invests in Broad New Efforts Outside the Health Care System

RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America to Release New Recommendations that Call for Major Initiatives in Early Childhood Development, Creating Healthy Communities, and Broadening Role of Health Care Providers; Funding Early Childhood Development For All Children by 2025 Critical to Nation’s Health

On January 13, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America will issue new recommendations aimed at improving health now and for generations to come.  The recommendations and new report, from a nonpartisan, diverse group of national experts and thought leaders, will highlight the need to:

  • Prioritize investments in America’s youngest children
  • Encourage leaders in different sectors to work together to create communities where healthy decisions are possible
  • Challenge health professionals and health care institutions to expand their focus from treating illness to helping people live healthy lives

Building on its original work from 2009 – which helped advance a national movement to address non-medical factors that affect our health – the RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America reconvened in 2013 to assess changes that could have the greatest and most immediate impact on improving health. The Commission will release the new recommendations on Monday, January 13, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. ET, during a live online event from the Newseum’s Knight Studio in Washington, DC.

The event will feature Commission Co-Chairs Mark McClellan and Alice Rivlin; Commission Staff Director, and the leading national expert on social determinants of health, David Williams; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey; and Commission members (full list below). Innovative programs and policies from across the nation will be highlighted, including tangible examples of the kind of change the Commission is calling for on a broad scale.

Register for the January 13 live online event now.

For More Information or to RSVP: Please contact Sara Knoll at 301-652-1558 or; or Christine Clayton at 609-627-5937 or

Alaska Health Policy Review: Community Gardening in Alaska

Alaska Health Policy Review is Alaska’s comprehensive, authoritative, nonpartisan source for health policy matters in the state of Alaska. This month’s issue features community gardening.

We identified seven Alaskans with a particular interest in the topic and asked them each a few individualized questions. What we found especially interesting is that while all of the interviewees genuinely support and promote community gardening, they vary in their assessments of the exact nature of the public health benefits of community gardening.

Here is a sample of one of the interviews. (Follow the GeorgeAnne Sprinkle link to download a .PDF of the interview.) GeorgeAnne Sprinkle is a community garden organizer and Anchorage Farmers Market representative for Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT). One of her projects is Yarducopia, “one part co-op, one part gardening club, and two parts community garden.”

The 2013 County Health Rankings Are Released!

In its fourth year, the County Health Rankings show that how long and how well people live depends on multiple factors including rates of smoking, education, and access to healthy food. They also help to lay the groundwork for governors, mayors, business leaders, and citizens across the country to take action to improve health. Some national trends this year show:

  • Child poverty rates have not improved since 2000, with more than one in five children living in poverty.
  • Violent crime has decreased by almost 50 percent over the past two decades.
  • The counties where people don’t live as long and don’t feel as well have the highest rates of smoking, teen births, and physical inactivity, as well as more preventable hospital stays.
  • Teen birth rates are more than twice as high in the least healthy counties than in the healthiest counties.

This year the County Health Rankings are easier to use than ever with interactive maps and new county-level trend graphs detailing changes over time for several measures, including premature death, children in poverty, and unemployment.

How healthy is your county? Check it out here!


Seriously Important Federal Budget Choices: What’s Next?

Confused about the many federal budget steps? Ellen Nissenbaum of the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities is leading a live webinar to help provide clarity and an expert explanation of where things stand now. The free webinar is open to the public, and attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions at the end. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Background: Many are already feeling the impact of the sequestration cuts, and decisions made in the next few months will have a lasting impact on vital safety net programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and SNAP/food stamps. If Congress fails to act, the automatic cuts will keep happening. This webinar will cover:

  • The ways Congress and the Administration may bridge their differences in the months ahead – and how that affects all of us.
  • Practical steps you can take to fight off efforts to slash services.

Date: Friday, March 22, 2013

Time: 8:00 AM AKDT

Estimated Length: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Register here

From How the Health Care Law is Making a Difference for the People of Alaska

Find out how health reform is already making a difference for the people of Alaska by reading the full article from here.

Want to learn more about the Affordable Care Act? Read the full law or view all 10 Titles section by section.