Letter: Health care begins with prevention
Long Island Newsday, August 3, 2013
New York State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah got it right when he said that our $2.7 trillion health care system largely ignores prevention and must focus more on fostering healthy communities ["Official touts prevention," News, July 31].
We need to begin addressing the root causes of illness and injury, instead of directing nearly all of our resources to treatment. Healthy people live in healthy, safe and equitable communities with easy access to parks, playgrounds and markets selling nutritious food.
I've been thrilled to see the federal government begin investing in a community approach to health through the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a part of the Affordable Care Act. Sadly, this fund has been the target of shortsighted attacks in Congress. If we are serious about lowering health care costs -- and saving money and lives -- we must continue to invest in prevention.
Larry Cohen, MSW
Prevention Institute, Oakland, Calif.
Letter: Changing environments means healthier Californians
San Francisco Chronicle, August 2013
We should all be heartened that we are making headway improving the health of young children (Childhood obesity sees decline in 19 states, Aug. 6, 2013). In the Bay Area and across the nation, innovative policies that have re-shaped communities, schools, and workplaces are at the core of this sea-change. In San Francisco, the Food Guardians program has helped residents of Bayview-Hunter's Point get better access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The city also established firm limits on food marketing in schools, in line with state and national policies that set sensible school nutrition standards. In San Jose, the city collaborated with the Boys and Girls Club to provide them with joint use of a city sports field, giving kids a safe place to play. All around the Bay, forward-thinking workplaces have begun to offer healthier food and beverages in cafeterias and vending machines. Oakland and other California cities have shifted transportation policy to focus not just on the best way to move cars efficiently, but to design streets for walking and biking. Helping our children and families get healthier requires many approaches and the most important is to improve the environments where we live.
Juliet Sims, MPH, RD
Prevention Institute, Oakland, Calif.
Letter: Health and the government
Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2011
Re "Government, heal thyself," Opinion, June 3, 2011
Stier and Miller are wrong about Communities Putting Prevention to Work, or CPPW. Communities across the country are building health, saving money and saving lives using evidence-based strategies that are showing results.
If common sense isn't enough to elucidate the connection between having sidewalks and being able to walk in your neighborhood, or having access to affordable fresh foods and being able to eat them, there is a wealth of research to back up these efforts.
Each CPPW community is deciding for itself the strategies that work best for them, and they're working with local organizations to make them happen. We're proud to work alongside CPPW communities that are joining together to find solutions that work.
Larry Cohen, Oakland, Calif.
The writer is executive director of Prevention Institute.
Letter: "Prevention is Key"
San Francisco Chronicle, July 30, 2009, page A-10
Bravo to the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) for recognizing that prevention is key to preventing illness before it occurs and reducing health care costs ("Waistlines expand bottom line," Open Forum, July 20). I hope that our national leaders take a cue from CalPERS and ensure that prevention remains a core component of health reform legislation. Controller John Chiang and Dr. Harold Goldstein got it exactly right: Ensuring that the places where people live, work, learn, and play support health keeps people healthy and reduces the burden on our health care system.
Linda Shak, Oakland, Calif.
Program Manager, Prevention Institute