City Health Commissioner Charts Path Through Uncertainty

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen penned an opinion piece in The Baltimore Sun stressing her department’s continued dedication to the public health of its citizens despite whatever changes may await on the federal level.

From The Baltimore Sun op-ed:

First, we commit to a focus on our “North Star.”

Our mission has always been to improve health, reduce disparities and combat injustice. We will use our strategic blueprint, Healthy Baltimore 2020, to guide us as we aim to cut health disparities over the next 10 years.

Through B’More for Healthy Babies, we have dramatically reduced our city’s infant mortality rate — hitting a record low in 2015. Safe Streets, our violence interruption initiative, continues to save hundreds of lives — and prevent hundreds of shootings — every year.

These efforts are proof that collective impact works. We must galvanize new relationships and strengthen existing ones in support of a clear and unwavering mission toward better health.

Second, we commit to addressing systemic challenges that endanger lives.

We cannot stop violence without addressing the trauma in our communities and treating, not incarcerating, individuals with diseases of addiction or mental illness. We cannot improve health in homes and in communities without supporting affordable housing and accessible transportation. We cannot enable a productive workforce without ensuring that children have the best chance to succeed — whether by preventing lead poisoning or getting glasses to see.

Third, we commit to the fundamental principles of public health.

At its core, public health is about preventing small issues from becoming big problems. It is about investing as early as possible, as far upstream, to intervene and interrupt the next health crisis before it happens.

It has been said that “public health saved your life today; you just don’t know it.”

Read the full op-ed in The Baltimore Sun.

Dr. Wen will be discussing the B’More for Healthy Babies initiative and how a comprehensive approach to supporting children and families can yield overwhelming results for the long term well-being of counties and their communities at the MACo Winter Conference session “Sowing the Seeds for Strong Communities“.

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 7-9, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort in Cambridge, Maryland. This year’s conference theme is “An Ounce of Prevention”.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: