The CDC Foundation convened a national series on the future of public health in collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, Big Cities Health Coalition and other public health partners to advance recommendations for a modernized U.S. public health system.

The series included four virtual convenings, leveraging recommendations from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Public Health Forward, a framework of practical, prioritized and bipartisan actions for policymakers and public health officials to guide public health strategic investments and decision-making. The summits focused in turn on achieving a diverse and effective public health workforce, data modernization, public health law, governance and finance, and cross-sector partnerships and community engagement. Summary and action reports and other materials are being posted to the summit website.

As active members of the public health workforce, preventive medicine and public health physicians are essential to the overall public health and healthcare system. The actions outlined in the post-summit reports–which include supporting internships, pipeline programs, participating in public health commissions and developing business partnerships to support a diverse and equitable workforce–are opportunities for preventive medicine physicians to help strengthen and modernize the public health system of the future. The recordings from the summits are also excellent tools to share with students and others in training.

In Summit 1, Achieving a Diverse and Effective Public Health Workforce, participants discussed the challenges faced by the public health workforce and how the field can overcome them to build a stronger, more diverse and more effective workforce for the future. The Summit 1 summary report offers actional steps our public health workforce can take to inspire public trust, invest in equity-centered sustainability and build a diverse and inclusive workforce.

The accompanying Summit 1 accelerating action report highlights key themes federal agencies, public health professionals, businesses and others can advance in the public health field, including innovating through partnerships, developing and using intermediaries, and building workforce infrastructure through hiring policies and practices.

In Summit 2, Creating an Interoperable and Modern Data and Technology Infrastructure, discussions centered on data and technology challenges faced by public health professionals and the unique opportunities that currently exist to transform the U.S. public health infrastructure. The Summit 2 summary report explores the hard technical skills, soft people skills and the technological and human capital infrastructure needed to fundamentally transform the public health data and technology infrastructure for an equitable and sustainable future.

Summit 3, Strengthening Public Health Law, Governance and Finance to Support a Modern System, focused on how the essential connections between these three pillars support the public health system and how each can serve as both a facilitator or a barrier to the others. The Summit 3 summary report
guides readers through a deeper understanding of public health law fundamentals, how to embed law and advocacy into public health learning and practice, and law as a tool for advancing health equity and racial justice. In addition, the Summit 3 accelerating action report provides specific actions public health actors from local communities to federal agencies can take to strengthen public health governance, finance and law.

In Summit 4, Catalyzing Cross-Sectoral Partnerships and Community Engagement, participants discussed the critical role that collaboration must play in future public health challenges, particularly at the community level, and how cross-sectoral partnerships can help to amplify both resources and impact and build a diverse and effective public health workforce. The summary report for Summit 4 will be released soon, along with the accelerating action reports for Summit 2 and Summit 3.

By reviewing these action reports, we hope that preventive medicine physicians will be inspired to take action to continue the drive to improve public health and achieve a more equitable and effective future. We encourage you to share the links with any colleagues who may be interested.

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