Areas of Focus

We Focus on Five Critical Challenges Facing the United States

Addiction & Overdose

Soaring rates of overdose are threatening the health and vitality of communities across the country. The urgency of the addiction and overdose crisis demands public health strategies that prevent substance use, reduce the risk of overdose and health problems associated with substance use, and boost access to effective treatment for people with substance use disorders.

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Adolescent Health

One in nine young people in the U.S. is disconnected from school or work — leaving them vulnerable to a broad set of health challenges. Public health tools can improve our understanding of the risk factors that lead to disconnection and help us design systemic solutions that reengage young people.

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Environmental Challenges

Our natural environment and our built environment profoundly affect our health. We can protect ourselves and future generations by using public health tools to design and shape healthy communities.

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Obesity & The Food System

Since the 1970s, obesity rates have more than tripled. The current food system undermines the ability of millions of Americans to make healthy dietary choices. Public health tools can inform changes to policy and the design of local food systems in order to promote access to nutritious foods.

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Violence

Like an infectious disease, violence can spread through a community, leaving devastation in its wake. Public health tools can help us better understand the causes of and solutions to violence and inform a comprehensive agenda to improve community safety.

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Public Health Themes

Our Work is Rooted Equity, Evidence and Policy

Equity

Low-income communities and communities of color disproportionately experience illness and mortality from many different health challenges. Progress and justice require understanding and confronting these inequities directly.

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Equity

Evidence

Good intentions do not guarantee successful outcomes. It’s essential to study whether interventions, programs and policies work. Developing new tools to support more frequent and effective use of evidence is a critical goal for the Initiative.  

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Evidence

Policy

Moving the needle in the Initiative’s focus areas requires engaging a broad coalition of actors from the research, policy, practice and academic fields to design, implement, evaluate and advocate for evidence-based policy solutions.  

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Policy

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