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Community-Level Prevention May Save Thousands of Lives

rural communityArticle published on April 13, 2016 at Change Lab Solutions
A $485 million, three-year investment in community health and prevention policy may prevent thousands of premature deaths and save the nation billions, according to a report released this month.
The report, published in Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, examined the results of Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW), an initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It found the CPPW investment in prevention efforts could avert 14,000 premature deaths, $2.4 billion in discounted direct medical costs, and $9.5 billion in discounted lifetime and annual productivity losses between 2010 and 2020.
Under CPPW, 50 communities received funds between 2010 and 2012 to make policy and environmental changes to reduce obesity, tobacco use, and exposure to secondhand smoke. ChangeLab Solutions played a major role in these interventions, and provided technical assistance to communities in more than half the states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico:
  • In Lexington, Kentucky, we helped public health professionals consider policy options for making corner stores healthier.
  • In New Mexico and Washington, DC, we provided advocates with information about opening up safe spaces for exercise and play.
  • In Seattle, we helped create gender-specific swim hours at a public pool to encourage women who couldn’t swim around men to get exercise.
“I’m very proud of these results,” said Marice Ashe, founder and CEO of ChangeLab Solutions. “Our work reached every CPPW community in the nation, and that exposure has helped the public health workforce better meet the needs of the people and communities they serve.”
ChangeLab Solutions Board Member Bechara Choucair was Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health during the CPPW initiative, and his department received funds for tobacco control and obesity work. “I saw how transformative those grants were,” said Choucair, who is now Trinity Health’s Senior Vice President for Safety Net Transformation and Community Health. “To see this type of impact is so refreshing.”
The findings underscore how large, sustained investments in disease prevention can have a tremendous impact on how well, and how long, people live. Contact us to learn how we can support your community’s efforts to promote health.