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‘What is health?’ from KHN: The Future of Public Health, 2022 Edition

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Click here for a transcript of the episode.

It’s been almost a year since “What the Health?” of KHN. The podcast took a deep dive into public health and a lot has changed. Covid, in various versions, is still infecting people around the world, along with other communicable diseases, such as monkeypox and even polio. However, public health remains a divisive issue, with politicians and the public arguing over how best to protect the community without trampling on people’s rights.

Earlier this summer, the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a National Public Health System called for a major review of the way the US organizes, finances, and communicates public health. The report includes specific recommendations for the Biden administration, Congress, state and local public health agencies, and public health and medical professionals.

In this special episode, “What About Health?” host Julie Rovner and KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber interview commission chair Dr. Margarita Hamburgo. Hamburg is a former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, a former assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the US Department of Health and Human Services, and a former New York City health commissioner.

Hamburg said the commission advocates for stronger federal leadership and the development of a national system that better integrates and coordinates public health efforts. That includes working with states and localities, but also having federal health officials coordinate with other federal departments, such as Education and Transportation, to streamline public health initiatives. He also noted that it is imperative to improve data collection and communication with the public.

Public health, he said, must be seen as a key element of public safety.

you can read the commission report here.

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KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces detailed journalism on health issues. Along with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the top three operating programs in KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization that provides information on health issues to the nation.

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