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Healthy People 2020 Launched!

December 2, 2010, marked the official launch of the Healthy People 2020 project and unveiling of the new web site.The inital segment of the program featured sixteen recommendations for implementing Healthy People 2020 from the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2020. The list included immediate level recommendations to occur in the first year of the decade and longer term steps that might be implemented within five years. One of the speakers during this segment was Jonathan Fielding, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and one of the immediate recommendations was to link Healthy People 2020 with the Community Health Data Initiative (CDHI) announced in June, 2010. This step would maximize opportunities to link national level Healthy People data to state and local data sources. An overarching theme of Healthy People 2020 is health equity, or the idea that everyone should be able to attain the highest level of health possible. The Healthy People 2020 objectives will guide national health priorities, e.g., funding for data collection, prevention, treatment, and research.

Healthy People 2020 Web Page
Healthy People 2020 Web Site

The launching program included a short demonstration of the new web site. Attendees were also encouraged to follow online commentary on Twitter using hashtag #hp2020. Healthy People 2020 appears in a web-based format and will not be published in book form. This is Version 1.0 of the web site, which will continue to be refined and improved as time passes. The web site is organized into 39 topic areas, with a total of 530 objectives. Thirteen topic areas are new since Healthy People 2010. Of particular note was the first time that a specific topic was created for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health. Also mentioned was the importance of health literacy, included in the Health Communication and Health Information Technology topic area. There are three information tabs within each topic area: Overview, Objectives, and Interventions & Resources. Overview provides a brief introduction to the topic and its importance to the nation’s health; and Objectives provides a topic-specific list of objectives. For each individual objective, the View Details tab reveals baseline and target measures, target-setting methods, and federal data sources. The Interventions & Resources tab includes links to topic-specific clinical recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force, evidence-based intervention strategies, and related consumer health information from the Quick Guide to Healthy Living at healthfinder.gov.

The final segment of the launch included a panel of four speakers representing state government, county government, academia, and corporate industry. The representative from North Carolina’s public health department spoke about the statewide Healthy People initiative to reduce the infant mortality rate. In particular, he mentioned the importance of having the backing and leadership from the governor to make the initiative successful. The representative from the Sonoma County (CA) Department of Health talked about their Network of Care health data initiative, which had the backing of the County Board of Supervisors. They were especially interested in reducing tobacco use, and utilized the Healthy People 2020 Tracker to monitor progress with the initiative. The Tracker was also helpful when the time came to push for policy changes. The other two panelists represented the George Washington University School of Public Health, and Dow Chemical Company.  An interesting new twist to Healthy People 2020 was an invitation for participants to answer a call to the myHealthyPeople Application Developer Challenge, with proposals of customized applications that would empower stakeholders and users of Healthy People 2020. The entire launch event or excerpts from specific presenters, along with a full transcript of the event, is available for viewing.

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