Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Kevin Jackson, Peter Silva, Greg Wind, Glenn Rossman, Michael Jannery

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that ActiveState, the leading independent Cloud Foundry and Docker-based PaaS provider, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. ActiveState believes that enterprises gain a competitive advantage when they are able to quickly create, deploy and efficiently manage software solutions that immediately create business value, but they face many challenges that ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Plutora, Inc., the leading global provider of enterprise release management and test environment management SaaS solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Plutora provides enterprise release management and test environment SaaS solutions to clients in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Leading companies ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that kintone has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akana, formerly SOA Software, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Akana’s comprehensive suite of API Management, API Security, Integrated SOA Governance, and Cloud Integration solutions helps businesses accelerate digital transformation by securely extending their reach across multiple channels – mobile, cloud and Internet of Thi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular In...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SafeLogic has been named “Bag Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SafeLogic provides security products for applications in mobile and server/appliance environments. SafeLogic’s flagship product CryptoComply is a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic engine designed to secure data on servers, workstations, appliances, mobile devices, and in the Cloud....
SYS-CON Events announced today that FierceDevOps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. FierceDevOps keeps software developers and IT operations personnel updated on the latest news and trends around the rapidly evolving role of the traditional IT worker.
SYS-CON Events announced today that QTS Realty Trust, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing providers of data center facilities and cloud services and a leader in security and compliance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. QTS Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: QTS) is a leading national provider of data center solutions and fully managed services, and a leader in security and compliance...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IndependenceIT, a leading software provider of simplified IT management solutions for workspaces, applications and desktops-as-a-service, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IndependenceIT's Cloud Workspace® Suite combines application, end-user and infrastructure management into a seamless, easy-to-manage platform, with a unified management interface an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StorPool Storage will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. StorPool is distributed storage software that allows service providers, enterprises and other cloud builders to run data storage on standard x86 servers, instead of using expensive and inefficient storage arrays (SAN).
SYS-CON Events announced today that WSM International (WSM), the world’s leading cloud and server migration services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. WSM is a solutions integrator with a core focus on cloud and server migration, transformation and DevOps services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that that Innodisk, the service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Innodisk is a service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies. With satisfied customers across the embedded, aerospace and defense, cloud storage markets an...