TFAH Unveils Blueprint for the 2021 Administration and Congress

This week, the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) unveiled The Promise of Good Health for All: Transforming Public Health in America which provides an action plan for the presidential administration and Congress taking office in 2021. The report highlights weaknesses exposed in the nation’s public health system during the COVID-19 pandemic, including ways in which structural racism puts communities of color at disproportionate risk of negative health outcomes.

TFAH outlines a series of actions available to policymakers taking office in the new year on how to strengthen the public health system, protect against health security threats, address the social determinants of health, and combat racism and other forms of discrimination that negatively affect community and individual health and resilience. The report focuses on five key priority areas:

  • Priority 1: Make substantial and sustained investments in a more effective public health system including a highly-skilled public health workforce
  • Priority 2: Mobilize an all-out effort to combat racism and other forms of discrimination and to advance health equity by providing conditions that optimize health
  • Priority 3: Address social determinants of health, including economic, social, and environmental factors that result in preventable illness, injuries, and death
  • Priority 4: Proactively address threats to the nation’s health security
  • Priority 5: Improve health, safety, and well-being for all people by providing pathways to optimal health across the lifespan

TFAH provides proposed solutions in each of the five priority areas; among the solutions are:

  • Creating a $4.5 billion per year Public Health Infrastructure Fund to support foundational public health capabilities at state, local, territorial, and tribal levels
  • Building 21st century public health surveillance systems at federal, state, and local levels to enable rapid detection and response to disease threats
  • Advancing health equity and eliminating health disparities through a senior-level, federal interdepartmental task force charged with adopting policies and programs in housing, employment, health, environmental justice, and education that reduce health inequities and address the social determinants of health
  • Prioritizing increased funding for state, local, territorial, and tribal public health emergency preparedness and response programs
  • Building surge capacity across the healthcare system and developing standards for healthcare facility readiness; policymakers should provide payment incentives and reward facilities that maintain specialized disaster care capabilities
  • Promoting optimal health across the lifespan through access to health insurance, job-protected paid leave for workers, and significant investment in programs proven to support families and improve health

The TFAH report was endorsed by the American Public Health Association (APHA), the Asian & Pacific Islander Health Forum, the Big Cities Health Coalition, the Public Health Institute, and the National Network of Public Health Institutes. The full report is available here.