National Prevention Strategy Announced Health Promotion Advocates Developed Enabling Legislation

On June 16, 2011, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Regina Benjamin, Surgeon General of the United States, announced the first ever National Prevention Strategy. Dr. Michael O’Donnell, Editor in Chief of American Journal of Health Promotion, and founding chairman of the board of Health Promotion Advocates said “This day is a great step forward for health promotion and a proud day for Health Promotion Advocates.”

Health Promotion Advocates conceived the idea of a national strategy, a Council, consisting of the Secretaries of Transportation, Education, Agriculture, Health and Human Services and other high level government officials, to develop the plan, and an Advisory Group of outside experts to support them. “We have had national plans in the past; the unique aspect of this plan is its broad scope and the fact that it will harness the power of all elements of the federal government to achieve it. We are finally moving beyond health education approaches to more foundational approaches that will eventually lead to creating a society in which the healthy choice is the easiest choice” O’Donnell said.

The overarching goal of the Strategy is to “Increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.” The Vision is “Working together to improve the health and quality of life for individuals, families, and communities by moving the nation from a focus on sickness and disease to one based on prevention and wellness.” The Strategy has seven areas of focus:

· Tobacco Free Living
· Preventing Drug Abuse and Excessive Alcohol Use
· Healthy Eating
· Active Living
· Injury and Violence Free Living
· Reproductive and Sexual Health
· Mental and Emotional Well-Being

For additional background and to get a pdf of the full Strategy, click here.

O’Donnell also recounted the history leading up to this day, saying “The original language for the Strategy was in Health Promotion FIRST (Funding Integrated Research, Synthesis and Training) Act, first introduced by Senators Lugar and Bingaman on September 14, 2004 (S2798), with subsequent versions introduced in the Senate in 2005 (S628), 2007 (S866), and the House of Representatives (HR 5835) by Representatives Schakowsky and Burgess, and the final versions were introduced in the Senate (S1001) on May 7, 2009 and House (HR2354) on May 12, 2009. The Grass Roots network of Health Promotion Advocates sent more than 11,000 letters to members of Congress to ask that these provisions be included in the Affordable Care Act, and a modified version provisions were included in Section 4001 of that bill. The National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council was created through Executive Order by President Obama on June 10, 2010, appointees to the Advisory Council were appointed on April 8, 2011, and the Strategy was announced on Thursday, June 16, 2011.”

Summary of Health Promotion First. Full text of Health Promotion FIRST  See SEC. 3101. PLAN FOR HEALTH PROMOTION PROGRAMS. For language related to the national plan, the Cabinet level council and the advisory group of experts in the Affordable Care Act, see section 4001.

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