182475 Facing the Challenges of a New Millennium: Public Health beyond Borders

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 10:50 AM

Terry Mason, MD, FACS , Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Stephen A. Martin, PhD, MPH , Chief Operating Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health, Oak Park, IL
Damon Arnold, MD , Director, Illinois Department of Public Health, Springfield, IL
Eric E. Whitaker, MD, MPH , Executive Vice President for Strategic Affiliations and Associate Dean for Community Based Research, Univeristy of Chicago, Chicago, IL
At the beginning of the 20th century the leading causes of morbidity and mortality were diseases such as tuberculosis, typhoid and influenza. In fact during the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 more people died than during World War I. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. It was ultimately due to the vigilance, hard work and dedication of an active and engaged public health workforce working in cooperation with multiple agencies that brought an end to this devastating threat.

Now at the advent of the 21st century, public health faces a new array of challenges. The leading causes of morbidity and mortality today are chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer stroke and diabetes. The events of September 11, 2001 and the inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina have demonstrated that we are ill prepared to effectively deal with emergencies on such a scale. Our borders have become porous and people now travel from state to state and country to country in less and less time, which makes the potential for future pandemics as well as the emergence of other viruses and bacteria both drug sensitive and resistant all the more real.

Our evolving and emerging public health response must be tailored to fit the public health demands of 21st century. We must adapt the principles of Public Health to make them relevant to the challenges that we currently face and prepare ourselves to respond in a timely and effective manner. For ultimately public health, like the people it has chosen to serve, must exist in the context of its times.

This expert panel will explore the challenges facing public health and offer strategies for building effective partnerships and collaborations across traditional borders (local, regional, national and international) that result in the efficient and effective provision of services and the development for programs and projects that lead to an improved quality of life for all.

Learning Objectives:
•Provide a framework for the discussion of emerging challenges facing public health •Establish the need for a shift in paradigm •Discuss the need for a systematic, cohesive, coordinated approach •Discuss the policy implications and identify potential policy initiatives

Keywords: Health Disparities, Public Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a physician with more than 25 years of private practice experience and currently serve as Commissioner of Public Health for the 3rd largest city in the United States
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.