Opioid overdoses claimed 42,000 lives in the US in 2016. Air pollution causes 200,000 Americans to die too soon each year. About 1 million violent crimes are committed in the US annually.
In the face of such dire statistics, policymakers, innovators, scientists, frontline public health workers, students and other experts are huddling in Washington DC today, Nov. 29, and tomorrow, to share solutions. The Bloomberg American Health Summit (which will be livestreamed here) will focus on how to unite innovation, evidence-based solutions and nontraditional partnerships to confront daunting public health problems.
There are considerable reasons for optimism, says Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies. In the following exclusive for Global Health NOW, he makes the case embracing innovative public health approaches and laying the groundwork now for future action. —The Editors
Life expectancy in the United States has fallen over 3 years. That is a tragic statistic, rooted in several daunting challenges—including an opioid crisis tearing families apart.
And yet, on the eve of the inaugural Bloomberg American Health Summit, there is reason to be hopeful. History shows that there is no public health challenge too great to meet. We just have to remember a simple fact: Change can start small—with individual actions, innovative ideas, and even chance encounters that lead to new dialogue and partnerships.
That is why we are looking forward to the week ahead, not only to discuss work already underway, but to lay the foundation for progress yet to come.
The public health community can accomplish great things. This summit will serve as a reminder that our work is only beginning—and our greatest breakthroughs still lie ahead.
Ed. Note: Michael R. Bloomberg is a benefactor of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which publishes Global Health NOW.