Addiction and Overdose

Addiction & Overdose

Opioid addiction is fueling the most lethal drug epidemic in our nation’s history, and drug overdoses are fueling a decline in life expectancy. The urgency of the crisis demands public health strategies that prevent new addictions, reduce the risk of overdose and health problems associated with opioid use, and boost access to treatment for people with opioid-use disorders. 

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Environmental Challenges

Everything around us impacts our health — from our natural environment, such as air and water, to our built environment, such as our neighborhoods. Whether related to clean air and water, urban planning, transportation or energy, policy decisions have lasting impacts on our health. We can protect ourselves and improve health by using public health tools to design healthy communities.

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Obesity and the Food System

Obesity & The Food System

Since the 1980s, obesity rates have more than doubled, with approximately one-third of children and over two-thirds of adults now considered overweight or obese. The current food system makes it difficult for millions of Americans to make healthy dietary choices. Public health tools can help communities use data to understand how the food system contributes to obesity and advocate for policy changes to improve their local food systems.

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Risks to Adolescent Health

One in eight young people in the U.S. is disconnected from school or work. These youth face myriad challenges, often including incarceration, poverty, exposure to trauma, mental health issues and substance abuse. Public health tools can improve our understanding of the risk factors that lead to disconnection and help us design systemic solutions that promote connection and reengage young people.  

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violence

Violence

The trauma resulting from violence, whether in the form of shootings, suicide, domestic violence, or community violence, has lasting impacts on victims, their families and communities. Like an infectious disease, violence can spread through a community. Public health tools can help us better understand the causes of violence and the solutions that can stop it, and put forward policies that can keep communities safe.

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Public Health Themes

Equity

Equity

Low-income communities and communities of color disproportionately bear the brunt of stress and trauma caused by each of the Initiative’s focus areas. Progress will require an understanding of and response to the deep inequities in our society. 

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Evidence

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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Policy Change

Policy Change

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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