Welcome!

News Feed Item

Commission To Build A Healthier America Recommends Seismic Shift In Funding Priorities To Improve Health, With Emphasis On Early Childhood Education, Community Revitalization And Broader Health Care Scope

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission Calls for Shift in Funding Priorities to Ensure All Children have Access to Early Childhood Development Programs by 2025

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Social factors have as much or even more impact on health as the medical care system.  In light of this reality, the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Commission to Build a Healthier America today urged leaders across the U.S. to shift funding priorities to emphasize three areas essential to improving the nation's health:  Increasing access to early childhood development programs; revitalizing low-income neighborhoods; and broadening the mission of health care providers beyond medical treatment.

The Commission has determined that these areas have the greatest potential for improving the health of the population, especially for low-income families, and offer the greatest opportunities for collaboration. 

Chaired by leading economists Alice M. Rivlin, PhD, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, the former head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the 16-member Commission was first created in 2008 and issued 10 recommendations in 2009 for improving the health for all Americans. The Commission reconvened last year to build on its earlier work and identify actions that should be taken going forward. Its new recommendations, contained in the report Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities, are issued against a national backdrop of widening income inequality, with many watching their ability to maintain good health for themselves and their families slip away.

"We cannot improve health by putting more resources into health care alone," McClellan said. "We must find ways to help more Americans stay healthy and reduce the health care costs that are crowding out other national priorities."

After months of examining evidence and learning about successful initiatives, the Commission issued recommendations that call for realigning resources and expanding programs and systems to improve health for generations to come. The primary recommendations are:

  • Support the nation's children, especially those who are most vulnerable, in their earliest years when health begins. Fund enrollment for all low-income children in quality early childhood development programs by 2025.
  • Change our approach to revitalizing communities, especially low-income neighborhoods, to create healthy communities and make healthy decisions possible for all Americans.
  • Broaden the mission of the U.S. health care system to address nonmedical factors that affect health, and connect patients to resources and services in the community that can improve their ability to pursue better health. 

"To achieve a healthier America, we must change our approach to investing in health to affect the actual determinants of health, not just the consequences of ill-health," Rivlin said.  "If carried out, these recommendations will build a foundation of lifelong health for generations to come."

"As a nation, we have a responsibility to do right by society's most vulnerable members and by our future generations," said RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, who called on leaders from across all sectors to work together to advance the Commission's recommendations. "We must join forces to foster a culture of health in which everyone—regardless of where they live, their race or ethnicity, or how poor or wealthy they may be—has the opportunity to lead a healthy life." 

Making America's Youngest Children the Number 1 Priority

A strong body of evidence demonstrates that early childhood experiences and environments can greatly affect health well into adulthood.  Sustained exposure to toxic stress from abuse, neglect, neighborhood violence, and chronic poverty can affect brain development and disrupt biological processes leading to serious illness later in life, including heart disease and diabetes.

Although the U.S. invests significantly in K-12 education, health care, and other support programs, it does not invest as heavily in the earliest years when children's brains are developing.  It is past time, the Commissioners said, to make investment in our youngest children a national priority. 

From the White House to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there is growing recognition of the importance of early childhood programs to lifelong success and well-being.  Children who attend such programs are more likely to stay in school, get jobs, and earn more money—all of which are linked to better health.

The Commission recommends:

  • Ensure access to quality early childhood development programs for all preschool children from low-income families by 2025.
  • Strengthen quality standards for early childhood programs.
  • Link funding of early childhood programs to performance.
  • Help parents who struggle to provide healthy, nurturing experiences for their children.

Making America's Neighborhoods Places Where Everyone Can Thrive and Be Healthy

Nearly one-fifth of all Americans live in low-income neighborhoods that offer few opportunities for healthy living.  In these neighborhoods, job opportunities are scarce, access to adequate housing and nutritious, affordable food is poor, and pollution and crime are prevalent.  These factors all affect health. 

Creating healthier communities—and lives—requires considering the health impacts of all aspects of community development and revitalization.  A broad range of sectors, including public health, health care, education, transportation, community planning, and business, must work together to achieve common goals. 

The Commission recommends:

  • Support and speed the integration of finance, health, and community development to revitalize neighborhoods and improve health.
  • Create incentives and performance measures to spur collaborative approaches to building healthy communities.
  • Replicate promising, integrated models and invest in innovation.

Making Health—Not Sickness—the Focus of Health Care

To help their patients achieve better health, health professionals and institutions must learn to address the nonmedical causes of poor health.  In addition to conventional vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature, nonclinical vital signs such as employment, education, and housing provide important information about a patient's health.   Health professionals need training and support to identify the realities in patients' lives that most significantly impact their patients' health, and to connect patients with resources in their communities that can help them overcome barriers to good health.

The Commission recommends:

  • Adopt new health "vital signs" to assess nonmedical indicators for health.
  • Create incentives tied to reimbursement to help increase the use of these new nonclinical vital signs.
  • Incorporate key social and environmental factors that influence health, such as housing and employment, into community health needs assessments.

The Commissioners noted that, throughout their deliberations, they were encouraged by promising examples of cross-sector collaborations, innovation, and success throughout the country. Many of these examples are highlighted in the Commission's report. For more information about the Commission and for a copy of the report, Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities, go to www.rwjf.org/commission.

Members of the RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America

  • Mark McClellan (Co-Chair), The Brookings Institution
  • Alice M. Rivlin (Co-Chair), The Brookings Institution
  • Katherine Baicker, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink 
  • Sheila P. Burke, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Mitchell E. Daniels, Purdue University
  • Shirley Franklin, Purpose Built Communities
  • Kati Haycock, The Education Trust
  • Eileen W. Lindner, Health Task Force, National Council of Churches USA
  • Rebecca Onie, Health Leads
  • Kyu Rhee, IBM
  • Dennis Rivera, SEIU Healthcare
  • Marla Salmon, University of Washington
  • Carole Simpson, Emerson College School of Communication
  • Reed Tuckson, Tuckson Health Connections, LLC/ formerly UnitedHealth Group
  • Anne Warhover, Colorado Health Foundation
  • David Williams (Staff Director), Harvard University

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

SOURCE Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
Interoute has announced the integration of its Global Cloud Infrastructure platform with Rancher Labs’ container management platform, Rancher. This approach enables enterprises to accelerate their digital transformation and infrastructure investments. Matthew Finnie, Interoute CTO commented “Enterprises developing and building apps in the cloud and those on a path to Digital Transformation need Digital ICT Infrastructure that allows them to build, test and deploy faster than ever before. The int...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), will provide an overview of various initiatives to certifiy the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldw...
VeriStor Systems has announced that CRN has named VeriStor to its 2017 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Elite 150 category. This annual list recognizes North American solution providers with cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services. Their offerings help companies navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of IT, improve operational efficiencies, and maximize their return on IT investments. In today’s fast-paced business environments, MSPs play an important role...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
FinTech is the sum of financial and technology, and it’s one of the fastest growing tech industries. Total global investments in FinTech almost reached $50 billion last year, but there is still a great deal of confusion over what it is and what it means – especially as it applies to retirement. Building financial startups is not simple, but with the right team, technology and an innovative approach it can be an extremely interesting domain to disrupt. FinTech heralds a financial revolution that...
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...