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See below to stay up to date on what we are doing to strengthen public health practice and promote sound public health policy.

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  • 18 Feb 2014 12:11 PM | Deleted user

    Released February 13, 2014

    Today the United States joined 26 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from the threat of infectious disease, and committing to the goals of the Global Health Security Agenda.

    “Global health security is a shared responsibility; no one country can achieve it alone,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “In the coming months, we will welcome other nations to join the United States and the 26 other countries gathered here in Washington and in Geneva, as we work to close the gaps in our ability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.”

    Over the next five years the United States plans to work with at least 30 partner countries (containing at least 4 billion people) to prevent, detect and effectively respond to infectious disease threats, whether naturally occurring or caused by accidental or intentional releases of dangerous pathogens.

    “While we have made great progress in fighting and treating diseases, biological threats can emerge anywhere, travel quickly, and take lives,” said Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.  “The recent outbreaks of H7N9 influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome are reminders of the need to step up our efforts as a global community.  The Global Health Security Agenda is about accelerating progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.”

    Later this year, the White House will host an event bringing together nations who are committed to protecting the world from infectious disease threats to review progress and chart the way forward on building a global system for preventing, detecting, and responding to such threats.

    “The United States and the world can and must do more to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks as early and as effectively as possible,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said.  “CDC conducted two global health security demonstration projects last year in partnership with Vietnam and Uganda to strengthen laboratory systems, develop strong public health emergency operations centers, and create real-time data sharing in health emergencies.  CDC is committed to replicate the successes in these two projects in ten additional countries this year.”

    In FY 2014, CDC and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency have jointly committed to accelerate progress on global health security by co-developing a strategy and devoting $40 million toward activities focusing on advancing the U.S. government's GHS objectives in ten nations.

    The FY 2015 President’s Budget will include an increase of $45 million within CDC to prevent avoidable catastrophes, detect threats early, and mobilize effective responses to contain outbreaks.  The increase also would allow CDC to partner with up to ten countries in 2015 to begin implementation and accelerate successful CDC efforts including training of field epidemiologists, developing new diagnostic tests, building capacities to detect new pathogens, building public health emergency management capacity, and supporting outbreak responses.

    Secretary Sebelius, Ms. Monaco and Dr. Frieden were joined at the launch meeting by representatives in Washington and Geneva from 26 other countries, three international organizations, and by other U.S. government officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom, Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox, and Department of Agriculture Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford, whose agencies will lead efforts to fulfill the U.S. government commitment to global health security.

    “Efforts to prevent deadly outbreaks strengthen geopolitical stability and security, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “None of us, not the public health, security or agriculture sectors can accomplish global health security on our ownundefinedit is obvious that an interdisciplinary approach is the best way to make progress.”

    HHS, DoS, USDA, and DoD will work closely with global partners to build countries’ global health security capacities in areas such as surveillance, detection and response in order to slow the spread of antimicrobial resistance, establish national biosecurity systems, reduce zoonotic disease transmission, increase routine immunization, establish and strengthen national infectious disease surveillance and laboratory systems, and develop public health electronic reporting systems and emergency operations centers.

    “The Global Health Security Agenda set forth today establishes a roadmap for progress that ultimately depends on collaboration between the health and security communities,” said Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Fox. “The Department of Defense is committed to continuing our work, together with our national and international partners, to strengthen global health security.”

    Countries joining the United States to meet the Global Health Security goals at today’s launch were Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, and, Vietnam.

    For more information on the Global Health Security Agenda, visit

    View the original press release...

  • 05 Feb 2014 11:59 AM | Deleted user

    A statement by Kathleen Sebelius

    Heart disease is responsible for 1 of every 4 deaths in the United States, making it the leading cause of death in our nation. As we observe American Heart Month, there are some key steps you and your loved ones can take to protect against heart disease.

    By maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and not smoking, you can dramatically reduce the risk of premature death or disability due to heart disease. Awareness of risk factors is also critical to preventing heart disease. Far too many people who are at high risk for heart disease don’t know it. That is why it is so important to get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly and to speak with your doctor about your health history.

    The Affordable Care Act is making it easier than ever before to take care of your heart. Most health plans now must cover a set of preventive services, such as cholesterol and blood pressure checks, at no out-of-pocket costs to the consumer.

    The security that comes with quality, affordable health insurance is vital to the fight against heart disease. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans are gaining access to health coverage, many for the first time.  Under the health care law, patients can no longer be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.

    In addition to expanding access to care, we are working to coordinate and strengthen heart disease prevention efforts across the nation through initiatives like Million Hearts®, Healthy People 2020 and The Heart Truth®.

    Million Hearts and partners recently urged practices and health systems to improve blood pressure control through the adoption of standardized treatment protocols. Widespread adoption of simple, evidence-based treatment protocols can have a major impact on blood pressure control among patients, saving lives and preventing disability.

    The Healthy People 2020  Heart Disease and Stroke objectives track the heart and stroke health of our Nation and set targets for improvements. 

    The Heart Truth’s nine 2014 community action program grantees are initiating year-long education programs for reaching women of color and low income with heart disease risk factor screenings and tailored interventions that encourage the adoption of heart healthy lifestyle behavior changes.

    This American Heart Month, please consider what steps you and your family can take to promote a heart healthy lifestyle. There’s no better Valentine than a healthy heart!

    Click here to view the press release.

  • 05 Feb 2014 10:07 AM | Deleted user


    The Department of Health and Human Services applauds CVS Caremark Corp. for their leadership in helping to make the next generation tobacco-free.

    CVS Caremark’s announcement that CVS/pharmacy stores will no longer sell cigarettes and other tobacco products is an unprecedented step in the retail industry. We also commend CVS Caremark on their new national smoking cessation program. With more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy locations, this private sector health leader’s new policy will have considerable impact.

    Last month, I called on all sectors of the United States – from businesses to local and state governments to the faith community – to join in the Obama Administration’s sustained effort to make the next generation tobacco-free. Smoking takes an enormous toll on our friends, families and communities.  As we know from the recently released 50th Anniversary Surgeon General Report on smoking and health, nearly 500,000 Americans die early each year due to smoking, and smoking costs us $289 billion annually. Each day, more than 3,200 youth under age 18 in the United States try their first cigarette and more than 700 kids under age 18 become daily smokers. If we fail to reverse course, 5.6 million American children alive today will die prematurely due to smoking. This is unacceptable.

    We need an all-hands-on-deck effort to take tobacco products out of the hands of America’s young generation, and to help those who are addicted to quit. Today’s CVS Caremark announcement helps bring our country closer to achieving a tobacco-free generation. I hope others will follow their lead in this important new step to curtail tobacco use.

    Additional recent tobacco-related announcements from the Department of Health and Human Services:

    Surgeon General report says 5.6 million U.S. children will die prematurely unless current smoking rates drop:

    FDA launches its first national public education campaign to prevent, reduce youth tobacco use:

    Click here for more information

  • 31 Jan 2014 3:49 PM | Deleted user
    (Richmond, Va.) This past November, the Commonwealth of Virginia introduced a new system to manage eligibility and business functions for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), while simultaneously transitioning from a paper voucher system to an Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT card, system.


    “Virginia is the first state in the nation to implement a new management information system and EBT at the same time,” said State Health Commissioner Cynthia C. Romero, MD, FAAFP. “The federal Healthy and Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandates all states to transition to EBT by 2020 and Virginia is more than six years ahead in meeting this goal.”

    Click here to read more


  • 31 Jan 2014 3:35 PM | Deleted user

    A tobacco history timeline published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showcases a decrease in smoking among adults, from 42.2 percent in 1965, shortly after the release of the first Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health in 1964, to about 18 percent today. "50 Years of Tobacco Control" is an interactive look at the events and actions that have prevented more than eight million premature deaths in the ongoing fight to keep communities sate from the dangers of tobacco.

    Click here to read more.

  • 14 Jan 2014 1:14 PM | Deleted user

    For several years, many have been quick to attribute rising fast-food consumption as the major factor causing rapid increases in childhood obesity. However a new study found that fast-food consumption is simply a byproduct of a much bigger problem: poor all-day-long dietary habits that originate in children’s homes. The study, titled “The association of fast food consumption with poor dietary outcomes and obesity among children: is it the fast food or the remainder of diet?,” was produced by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and published in the latest issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
    The study’s researchers found that children’s consumption of fast food is only a small part of a much more pervasive dietary pattern that is fostered at an early age by children’s parents and caregivers. The pattern includes few fruits and vegetables, relying instead on high amounts of processed food and sugar-sweetened beverages. These food choices are also reinforced in the meals students are offered at school. “This is really what is driving children’s obesity,” said Dr. Barry Popkin, W.R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of nutrition at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, whose team led the study. “Eating fast foods is just one behavior that results from those bad habits. Just because children who eat more fast food are the most likely to become obese does not prove that calories from fast foods bear the brunt of the blame.”

    Click here to read more.

  • 14 Jan 2014 1:08 PM | Deleted user

    An estimated eight million lives have been saved in the United States as a result of the anti-smoking measures that began 50 years ago this month with the release of the ground-breaking Surgeon General of the United States’ report outlining the deadly consequences of tobacco use. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Yale School of Public Health-led analysis used mathematical models to calculate the effect of the seminal report and subsequent anti-smoking measures over the past half century. These cumulative efforts have significantly reshaped public attitudes and behaviors concerning cigarettes and other forms of tobacco.
    Dr. Theodore R. Holford, professor in the department of biostatistics, and six other researchers that are part of the NCI’s Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET) found that while some 17.6 million Americans have died since 1964 due to smoking-related causes, eight million lives have been saved as a result of increasingly stringent tobacco-control measures that commenced with the report’s January 11, 1964, release. Of the lives saved, approximately 5.3 million were men and 2.7 million women. The total number of saved lives translates into an estimated 157 million years of life, a mean of 19.6 years for each beneficiary.

    Click here to read more.

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