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DeSalvo Joins Effort to Boost Public Health Engagement

July 13, 2017
by David Raths
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Initiative to help public health officials work with mayors, housing commissioners, hospital executives, school superintendents

Karen DeSalvo, M.D., former national coordinator for health IT and former health commissioner of the City of New Orleans, will co-chair a project to provide public health officials with tools to better communicate and work with mayors, housing commissioners, hospital executives and school superintendents.

The de Beaumont Foundation and the Aspen Institute’s Health, Medicine and Society Program are launching the Public Health Reaching Across Sectors (PHRASES) Initiative, they said, because too often public health professionals are not part of the decision-making process. In some cases, these professionals are not invited to the discussion; in others, they have not made the value of their contributions clear.

“To achieve broad health gains, public health leaders need to be strategic in catalyzing change, leading action, and engaging partners,” said Ed Hunter, president and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, in a prepared statement. “This requires reaching out to an increasing array of other leaders and sectors that have the ability to help save lives, save money, and help communities thrive.  Public health officials need to better understand key partners’ goals and work with them to achieve those as well. PHRASES is intended to help make that happen.”

PHRASES aims to:

•    Create a “go-to” and easily accessible web resource that compiles and synthesizes high-quality published research that documents the ways in which public health provides value to other sectors;

•    Identify core elements of a communications strategy that describes public health in ways that resonate within and across sectors;

•    Develop a toolkit that ties the evidence for public health’s contributions across sectors to what is learned from the project’s message research and testing; and

•    Conduct outreach and training for the public health community to ensure effective use of the project’s web resource and toolkit.

Co-chairing the effort with DeSalvo will be Soledad O’Brien, CEO of Starfish Media Group and host of Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien. Members of the advisory committee include:

•    John Auerbach, MBA, President and CEO, Trust for America’s Health (TFAH); Former Associate Director for Policy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Former Commissioner of Public Health, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

•    Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, Former Senior Vice President for Community Benefit, Research, and Health Policy, Kaiser Permanente; Board Member, CDC Foundation; Trustee, Blue Shield of California Foundation

•    Richard Berke, Executive Editor, STAT; Former Executive Editor, Politico; Former Reporter and Editor, New York Times

•    Gary M. Cohen, MBA, Executive Vice President and President, Global Health, BD; Board Member, CDC Foundation

•    John J. Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, FACOEM, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health

•    Jackie Judd, Journalist and Communications Consultant

•    Lawrence Wallack, DrPH, MPH, MSc, Emeritus Professor of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley; Distinguished Fellow, Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness, Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine; Former Dean, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Portland State University

•    Leana Wen, MD, MSc, Baltimore City Health Commissioner

•    Michelle A. Williams, ScD, Dean, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


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