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Comment & Response
June 21, 2016

Roles of Academic and Public Health Systems in Advancing Population Health

Author Affiliations
  • 1New York University College of Global Public Health, New York
  • 2Vital Strategies, New York, New York
JAMA. 2016;315(23):2623. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.4186

To the Editor In a recent Viewpoint, Dr Washington and colleagues1 proposed a convening and leadership role for academic health systems in community efforts to improve population health. Although well intentioned, we believe this vision is misguided.

The authors overlooked the central role of the government public health system in advancing population health. In contrast to health care institutions, government public health agencies are mandated to protect and promote—and be accountable for—the health of their populations. Moreover, they are uniquely placed to facilitate the multistakeholder partnerships necessary to influence health at the population level, comprising academic and not-for-profit public health partners and governmental and nongovernmental agencies beyond the health sector. Government public health agencies are also positioned to enforce and catalyze the regulatory and policy changes essential for sustainable change at scale.

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