HHS Announces new Agenda as 71% Reach Healthy People Target

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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Preliminarily results from the Healthy People 2010 Initiative, shows that 71 percent of Americans have progressed toward or met Healthy People Targets in the past ten years. Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new agenda for disease prevention, turning a focus toward technology development and a number of new objectives, including adolescent health, global health, genomics, health-related quality of life and well-being as part of the new Healthy People 2020 initiative.

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Even though many Americans have made improvements, Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H says, “Too many people are not reaching their full potential for health because of preventable conditions. Healthy People is the nation’s roadmap and compass for better health, providing our society a vision for improving both the quantity and quality of life for all Americans.”

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The impetus behind Healthy People is to motivate, and it works, shown by the increases made in public health in the last decade. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says, “The launch of Healthy People 2020 comes at a critical time. Our challenge and opportunity is to avoid preventable diseases from occurring in the first place.”

The Healthy People Initiative integrates input from stakeholders and public health and prevention experts, in addition to more than 2000 organizations, federal, state and local government officials. The 2020 initiatives from the HHS for disease prevention also include dementia /Alzheimer’s disease, early and middle childhood, blood disorders and safety, healthcare related infections, preparedness, gay, lesbian and transgender health, older adults and social detriments of health – all of which are new topics.

The HHS is launching a new, tailored to the user, Healthy People web site. They are issuing a challenge to developers to make the applications easy to use for professionals. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park says, “This milestone in disease prevention and health promotion creates an opportunity to leverage information technology to make Healthy People come alive for all Americans in their communities and workplaces.”