Those of us interested in public health have long understood that prevention is key to keeping people healthy and therefore reducing health care costs. As part of the landmark Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, the National Prevention Strategy was developed, and for the first time in the history of our nation, a cross-sector, integrated national strategy that identifies priorities for improving the health of Americans has been developed. To ensure coordination with states, Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General will be visiting Massachusetts from March 21-23, meeting with a variety of stakeholders and encouraging partnerships to promote health.
Through these partnerships, the National Prevention Strategy will improve America’s health by helping to create healthy and safe communities, expand clinical and community-based preventive services, empower people to make healthy choices, and eliminate health disparities.
Preventing disease before it starts is critical to helping people live longer, healthier lives and keeping health care costs down. Poor diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and alcohol misuse are just some of the challenges we face. Many of the strongest predictors of health and well-being fall outside of the health care setting. Housing, transportation, education, workplaces, and environment impact the physical and mental health of Americans.
That is why we in Massachusetts, along with many other states, are working across sectors of government and outside government to form partnerships to address some of these critical elements. Over the next week, we will highlight some of the partnerships that have been developed to address issues that impact health such as transportation, housing, mental and emotional well-being, and systems and environmental changes at the local level that impacts people’s ability to access health foods and be physically active. We think that you will find them as exciting as we do, and would love to hear from you about other ways we can work together to continue to promote the health of Massachusetts residents.