SSN Commentary

The Recipe to Rebuild a More Robust and Resilient Public Health System

Policy field

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University at Albany, SUNY

Originally published as "The Recipe to Rebuild a More Robust and Resilient Public Health System," The Hill, August 14, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical vulnerabilities in our public health system, but it has also created an opportunity to envision a more effective, equitable, and sustainable system. We offer a recipe for that more robust and resilient public health system: start with a base of core funding for public health infrastructure, incorporate national standards for public health practice, and garnish by fostering innovation. This recipe will enable health departments to respond to future emergencies, promote community health, and move towards health equity.

The pandemic has highlighted chronic underfunding of the U.S. public health system. Public health receives approximately 3 percent of national health spending. A strong public health system requires a more serious and sustained investment that is not restricted to disease-specific activities.