Making public health a priority

By: Matt Hillier

Michigan’s historic connection to public health began in 1873, when the State Board of Health was created, and throughout the past 144 years, Michigan has remained committed to providing public health services to its residents. Now, Gov. Rick Snyder is looking to further put the health of Michiganders above all else.

The temporary Public Health Advisory Commission that Gov. Snyder created with Executive Order 2016–19 was chaired by Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive. She was joined by 24 other members representing a diverse set of professions and experiences, including health care experts, educators, nonprofit leaders and public servants. The group assessed and recommended improvements to Michigan’s public health services.

The recommendations propose robust changes to further advance our public health system within the state and beyond its current structure into a more citizen-responsive and cohesive system.

The proposal to create a permanent commission represents an important step in improving Michigan’s public health. It will help raise awareness and distribute critical public health information, advocate for disease prevention, promote various health initiatives and work with stakeholders to preserve the health of residents.

The Public Health Advisory Commission Report outlines the temporary Commission’s 39 total recommendations in the areas of collaboration, investment and accreditation.

Within the three recommended areas, the Commission notes that with more collaboration, it will be easier to diminish communication gaps by requiring collaboration at local, state and federal levels and across state departments. The Commission also said that preventing diseases, reducing health care costs and preparing for emergencies is vital to all Michiganders’ well-being and made recommendations related to investments in Michigan’s public health system. Finally, within the area of accreditation, the Commission made recommendations related to the state authorization processes for local health departments to better align with the national level standards, which ties back in to collaboration efforts.

“Above all else, the health and safety of Michiganders comes first,” said Snyder.

“I thank the commissioners for their commitment to advancing public health and developing the framework for a more responsive and cohesive public health system.”

Michigan has a notable history of dedicated public health professionals who strive for the betterment of its residents. It’s obvious now that the State of Michigan is committed even more to public health excellence by recognizing this need for change to achieve a transparent public health system that is effective for all Michiganders.

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