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January 18, 1995

Advancing America's Health

Author Affiliations

From the Assistant Secretary for Health and Director, US Public Health Service, US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1995;273(3):248-249. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520270082043

In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "without health there is no happiness. An attention to health, then, should take the place of every other object." As the process of health system reform moves forward, attention and resources must be directed toward advancing America's health. To direct attention toward health, the US Public Health Service is developing strategies that:

  1. Restructure the health care system to focus on the health of populations.

  1. Define and strengthen the public health system.

  2. Ensure public health agencies and health care plans collaborate to respond to local community needs.

  3. Build infrastructure—information systems, research, workforce—to advance health.

  4. Realize responsible social policies.

I call this fivefold strategy "reinventing public health."

Although Congress did not enact comprehensive health system reform this year, the American health care system is experiencing profound change, particularly in the private sector. A major part of the health care system is moving away from

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