Public Health Under Siege: Improving Policy in Turbulent Times 

Public health is under assault — through continuous defunding, rising anti-science sentiment, and the rolling back of community health gains. Now more than ever, the field needs bold action on its behalf.  

Public Health Under Siege: Improving Policy in Turbulent Times serves as a guide for supporting and defending public health, starting from the ground up. Going beyond national policy, the book uses real-world examples to demonstrate how addressing inequities at the local level can influence population health.  

Only policy can fix what policy has broken. Published by the de Beaumont Foundation in partnership with APHA Press, Public Health Under Siege offers a timely prescription for the nation’s health crises, centering policy as the solution. 

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Read the introduction

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What You’ll Learn

With the case studies, stories, and inspiration from Public Health Under Siege, advocates for public health will be better equipped to successfully take on the diverse and complex challenges they face. Readers will learn how to harness policy to improve health for all communities by: 

  • Building coalitions for public health goals 
  • Navigating preemption at the state level  
  • Using campaigns to raise awareness that leads to action
  • Eliminating racism in health policy
  • Embracing incrementalism for long-term success  
  • And more

Editors

  • Brian C. Castrucci, President and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation  
  • Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association 
  • Grace Guerrero Ramirez, Advisory Services Analyst at Mathematica 
  • Grace Castillo, Program Associate at the de Beaumont Foundation   

Contributing Authors 

  • Rex Archer, Former Director of Health for Kansas City, Missouri; Professor and Director of Population and Public Health for the Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Department of Curriculum and Integrated Learning 
  • Marice Ashe, Public Health Law Consultant; Lecturer at the University of California Berkeley Law 
  • John Auerbach, Former President and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health  
  • W. Steven Barnett, Board of Governors Professor and Senior Co-Director and Founder of the National Institute for Early Education Research at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education 
  • Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association 
  • Colleen M. Bridger, Founder and CEO of Colleen Bridger Consulting, LLC 
  • Derek Carr, Senior Attorney at ChangeLab Solutions  
  • Grace Castillo, Program Associate at the de Beaumont Foundation  
  • Brian C. Castrucci, President and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation 
  • Gail C. Christopher, Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity  
  • Stacie Duitsman, Administrative Officer for Environmental Health Services at the Kansas City Health Department  
  • Abdul El-Sayed, Former Health Commissioner of Detroit and Host of the ‘America Dissected’ Podcast
  • Lili Farhang, Co-Director of Human Impact Partners  
  • Todd Fraley, Senior Policy Analyst at the Chicago Department of Public Health 
  • Ellen Frede, Senior Co-Director and Research Professor at the National Institute for Early Education Research at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education  
  • Grace Guerrero Ramirez, Advisory Services Analyst at Mathematica 
  • Patrick Guerriero, Founding Partner, Civitas 
  • Shelley A. Hearne, Deans Sommer and Klag Professor for Public Health Advocacy and Director of the Center for Public Health Advocacy at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

  • Jonathan Heller, Senior Health Equity Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute; Co-Founder of Human Impact Partners 
  • Emily J. Holubowich, Vice President for Federal Advocacy at the American Heart Association; Founder and Former Director, Data: Elemental to Health Campaign 
  • Edward L. Hunter, Public Health and Public Policy Consultant 
  • David H. Jernigan, Professor and Assistant Dean for Practice at the Boston University School of Public Health; Senior Policy Advisor for CityHealth 
  • Marice Ashe, Public Health Law Consultant; Lecturer at the University of California Berkeley Law 
  • Maria Fernanda Levis-Peralta, CEO of Impactivo 
  • Adam Lustig, Senior Policy Development Manager at the Trust for America’s Health 
  • Dannel P. Malloy, Former Governor of Connecticut; Chancellor for the University of Maine System 
  • Christiana K. McFarland, Research Director at the National League of Cities  
  • Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas  
  • Catherine Patterson, Co-Executive Director of CityHealth  
  • Susan L. Polan, Associate Executive Director of the American Public Health Association  
  • Karen Remley, Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  
  • Meghan Roney, Program Services Manager at the CDC Foundation 
  • Joshua M. Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement and Professor of the Practice at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 
  • Elizabeth L. Skillen, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Associate Director for Policy and Strategy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
  • Kendall Stagg, Director of Community Health at Kaiser Permanente 
  • Monica Valdes Lupi, Managing Director, Health, at the Kresge Foundation  
  • Jake Williams, Executive Director of Healthier Colorado 
  • Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Executive Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Network 

 

What people are saying about Public Health Under Siege:

Executive Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine

Recognizing both the visible and invisible determinants of health and the force that is behind these determinants, Public Health Under Siege: Improving Policy in Turbulent Times brilliantly expands our understanding of these complex issues. This book illuminates how policy has been used as a tool to advance or hinder health equity for generations. It is a must-read for those who are ready to create systemic and meaningful changes to move the needle of health equity forward.

Executive Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine
Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health

There can be no health without healthy public policy. This indispensable primer offers a window into a range of policy efforts to improve health. In doing so, this book points to how we can better pay attention to health in all policies and move towards creating a healthier world.

Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health
Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, Dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health

The focus of health care is almost exclusively centered on the behavior of people and/or pathogens which cause disease — a shortsighted and anachronistic perspective of health. What Public Health Under Siege: Improving Policy in Turbulent Times clearly delineates is how social conditions and structural inequities, promulgated by policies and politics, perpetuate illness and undermine well-being. Dr. Castrucci and his colleagues provide us with a roadmap to challenge these inequities, and to shift the focus of health from one that is purely biomedical, controlled by the medical profession, to one that is biopsychosocial, where public health sits alongside medicine as an equal partner to deliver effective prevention and care with and for the people and populations we serve.

Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, Dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health
Leana Wen, MD, Former Baltimore City Health Commissioner and Author of Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health

There is no more important time than now to emphasize the critical importance of public health policy, and there is no better book to make the case than Public Health Under Siege: Improving Policy in Turbulent Times. Carefully researched and full of practical guidance, this book contains insights from leading health experts that are both authoritative and thought-provoking. It is an essential addition to the bookshelf of anyone who wants to improve health and strive for equity.

Leana Wen, MD, Former Baltimore City Health Commissioner and Author of Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health

Media Requests

To request a copy or an interview with an author, please send an email to media@debeaumont.org

 


 

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