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Op-Ed: Let’s Advance a 21st Century Public Health System Together


For New Jersey to be a truly healthy and equitable state, we need a robust public health infrastructure that ensures everyone’s well-being


JEANNE HERB / NJ SPOTLIGHT NEWS – Medical providers — doctors, nurses, dentists, for example — help with our personal healthcare. People in the field of public health work to improve the health of all residents of a community (or state or nation) and better understand the factors influencing health. So while a medical doctor treats a patient for asthma, public health agencies probe how many people have asthma, what puts them at risk and what actions are needed to reduce exposures and risks community-wide.

We need both approaches. Unfortunately, though, public health is less well understood by the public it serves and lacks the financial resources to do its job. Of the estimated $3.6 trillion the United States spends per year on health, less than 3% goes to public health and prevention, a 2020 study from the Trust for America’s Health found …