Virtual Forum—Fighting For Our Lives: Developing a Public Health Agenda During COVID-19 – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Virtual Forum—Fighting For Our Lives: Developing a Public Health Agenda During COVID-19

Aug 20, 2020

On Thursday, August 20th, Health & Medicine hosted the second forum in a two-part series. This forum focused on developing an agenda for a strong public health system. We discussed ideas for rebuilding public health investment, workforce, training and education, and infrastructure.

In 2019, the U.S. was ranked #1 for being the most prepared for a pandemic, but major failures have hurt the COVID-19 response. One critical part of the story is the history of disinvestment in public health, leaving our current systems woefully inadequate.

Chicago Health Justice Forum: A Virtual Discussion

Fighting for Our Lives: Developing a public health agenda during COVID-19, Pt. 2
Thursday, August 20th, 4-5:30 pm CT

As COVID-19 reminds us everyday, the condition of our public health systems is a matter of life and death. Long-term health and social inequities compounded by COVID-19 reveal this crisis to be yet another matter of health injustice. So, what should we be demanding for a strong public health system, prepared to both respond to pandemics and emergencies––and proactively advance health equity?

The following questions guided the discussion, with time for questions from the audience:

  • What is needed to fully repair the public health system for responding to COVID-19? 
  • What should be on the agenda to rebuild the public health system? 
  • What steps should be taken to prepare for other epidemics, pandemics, and public health emergencies? 
  • What types of training and education is needed for the public health workforce?
  • How do we ensure a focus on social justice-oriented public health practice? 
Forum Panelists

Moderator: Jim Bloyd, MPH, Regional Health Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health

Aletha Maybank, M.D., MPH, Chief Health Equity Officer and Vice President,
American Medical Association

Julie Pryde, MPH, MSW, Administrator, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District
This forum builds on part 1, which included an exploration of the history of public health within the context of austerity and privatization and the response to COVID-19.