January 2011
PAEA Networker

Update from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — Healthy People 2020

By Michel Statler, MLA, PA-C 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched their latest Healthy People initiative on December 2, 2010, with a presentation at George Washington University as well as web-streaming. This current rendition is built upon the successes of previous campaigns that initially began in 1979 with Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and continued with Healthy People 1990: Promoting Health/Preventing Disease: Objectives for the Nation; Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives; and Healthy People 2010: Objectives for Improving Health.

Updates for 2020 include a focus on identifying, tracking, and addressing disparities in health. Several new topic areas have been added, which include, but are not limited to, adolescent health; genomics; global health; health care-associated infections; health-related quality of life and well-being; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health; and social determinants of health. Each of the Healthy People 2020 topic areas features evidence-based interventions and resources. Links to the specific topic areas and objectives as well as resources and a framework for implementation can be found on the website. For more information, please visit http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020.

According to the press release issued from the HHS on the day of the launch, “The Healthy People initiative is grounded in the principle that setting national objectives and monitoring progress can motivate action, and indeed, in just the last decade, preliminary analyses indicate that the country has either progressed toward or met 71 percent of its Healthy People targets. Healthy People 2020 is the product of an extensive stakeholder feedback process that is unparalleled in government and health. It integrates input from public health and prevention experts, a wide range of federal, state, and local government officials, a consortium of more than 2,000 organizations, and perhaps most importantly, the public.”