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September 21, 2005

Protecting Health—The New Research Imperative

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.

JAMA. 2005;294(11):1403-1406. doi:10.1001/jama.294.11.1403

The health of a people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend .
—Benjamin Disraeli

Health is more than the absence of threats or disease and disability; it is a precious resource that helps to create productive satisfying lives for ourselves and our families and economic security for our nation. A very high value is placed on health, but all too often health is not protected. Indeed, the current investments in health protection are far overshadowed by expenditures to restore health once it is lost. Although the United States currently spends $1.9 trillion a year, or 15.5% of the gross domestic product, on health care, less than 1% of the $1.9 trillion is spent on protecting health and preventing the illnesses and injuries that require health care services in the first place.1,2 A similar disequilibrium characterizes the US health research portfolio.3

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