KHN’s “What the Health?”: The Future of Public Health, 2022 Edition

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About a year has passed since KHN’s “What the Health?” The podcast took a deep dive into public health, and a lot has changed. Covid, in various versions, still infects people around the world, along with other epidemics such as monkeypox and polio. Likewise, it discusses how best to protect communities without trampling on individual rights.

Earlier this summer, the Commonwealth Fund Commission on the National Public Health System called for a major overhaul of how the United States organizes, funds, and communicates about public health. This report contains specific recommendations for the Biden administration, Congress, state and local public health agencies, and medical and public health professionals.

In this issue, “What the Health?” host Julie Lobner and KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber interview Dr. Margaret Hamburg, chair of the committee. Hamburg is a former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, former Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and former Secretary of Health for the City of New York.

Hamburg said the commission advocates for stronger federal leadership and the development of a national system to better integrate and coordinate public health efforts. but also includes federal health officials coordinating with other federal departments, such as education and transportation, to streamline public health efforts. She also said that improving data collection and communication with the public is essential.

Public health must be viewed as an important component of public safety, she said.

You can read the commission’s report here.

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