Project updates, commentaries, events and news about health across the nation from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey Calls for National Focus on Preventing Diseases Before They Start

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Preventing diseases before they start is one of the most commonsense ways to keep people healthy, but this nation continues to focus too narrowly on treating medical conditions after they occur.

Two new essays by RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, argue that instead of focusing on treating disease, we should keep people out of the doctor’s office in the first place by investing in proven, community-based prevention efforts. Adding the Foundation’s voice to The Atlantic’s lively online discussion about how to solve the health care crisis, Lavizzo-Mourey discusses the economic arguments for prevention, and offers several examples of places in the United States where health is regularly considered in community planning and policy decisions, resulting in increased opportunities for better health.

“Access to high-quality health care is essential to improving health in the United States," says Lavizzo-Mourey. "But equally essential is a change in the way we structure our communities and a commitment to the way we invest in programs that help everyone lead healthier lives. Can people easily get to work by using public transportation? Can kids walk and bike to school safely? When they get to school, do these kids have healthy food options? This shift in thinking and action is the X factor: converting personal motivation into community transformation.”  

Read the essays here.