GW Faculty Participate in National Academy of Medicine’s Vital Directions for Health and Health Care Initiative

September 19, 2016

On September 19, 2016 Dean Lynn R. Goldman and other GW faculty members published papers that were commissioned as part of the National Academy of Medicine’s Vital Directions for Health and Health Care, a project that is compiling expert information to inform the debate about U.S. health reform.

Dean Goldman served as lead author for one of the published papers, titled “Advancing the Health of Communities and Populations.” In the paper, Goldman and her colleagues say the nation has a long way to go to strengthen the public’s health. They go on to say, “achieving the highest possible level of health in communities and populations requires a rebalancing of our overall investment in ways that enhance disease prevention and wellness strategies.” The authors called on the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to lead the way in this effort.

In related Vital Directions news, Dean Goldman served as first author of a viewpoint published online September 26 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, titled “Putting the Health of Communities and Populations First.” In that piece, Goldman and her co-authors say that the poor U.S. performance on key population health measures is a “call to action that justifies bold strategies.” They go on to make recommendations including a call for the nation to support strong national public health objectives with leadership and investments.

The series also includes the paper “Chronic Disease Prevention: Tobacco, Physical Activity, and Nutrition for a Healthy Start.” William Dietz, director of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at Milken Institute SPH, served as lead author and Kathleen Merrigan, executive director for sustainability at GW served as a co-author. Dietz, Merrigan and their colleagues say rates of preventable diseases linked to tobacco, inactivity, obesity and consumption of added sugar, salt and saturated fats have far outpaced our capacity to manage and treat patients--and associated costs are a growing burden on the nation’s bottom line. The authors cite the need for a multi-sector effort to prevent the co-occurring epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, successful prevention interventions, and identify promising opportunities.    

Jeffrey Levi, professor of health policy and management at Milken Institute SPH, also participated in the Vital Directions project and was a co-author of a paper published as part of the same series. His paper is titled “Information Technology Interoperability and Use for Better Care and Evidence.”

Find out more about the National Academy of Medicine’s Vital Directions for Health and Health Care Initiative and read the papers, which were published September 19, 2016 on the National Academy of Medicine’s website. Also, included on the website is information about a September 26th event in Washington, DC to discuss the policy directions proposed by these papers, identify outstanding questions and explore opportunities.