Business and Public Health: Working Together for More Prosperous Communities
The pandemic has crystallized the inextricable link between America’s public health and economic well-being – and made us painfully aware that our public health infrastructure is at a dangerous tipping point. Decades of underinvestment and inadequate support for public health across sectors has left our nation struggling to address COVID-19. Without healthy and safe places to live, work, and play, there simply can be no pathway to economic or social prosperity.
The private sector has a unique opportunity to help the nation recover from the pandemic and prepare for future crises by championing policies, practices, and institutions that advance health and safety. Doing so now can help to mitigate risks and secure a better and more stable future for companies and their stakeholders.
In partnership with the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at the Johns Hopkins Unviersity Bloomberg School of Public Health, the de Beaumont Foundation on Feb. 23 released “Seven Ways Business Can Align with Public Health for Bold Action and Innovation,” which presents practical steps that businesses can take to strengthen partnerships and improve health. As part of that report’s release, the Foundation partnered with Washington Post Live for a panel discussion on how businesses are responding to the pandemic and the role of business in building stronger communities. The Feb. 25 event featured Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, MA, President and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation; Ron Goetzel, PhD, director of the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies; Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, chief health officer for Google Health; Hayward Donigan, CEO of Rite Aid; and Henry Ting, MD, MBA, chief health officer for Delta Air Lines. View Dr. Castrucci’s and Dr. Goetzel’s remarks below. See the full segment here.
The Value Proposition
Community health and business success are closely related. Companies depend on communities to provide healthy employees, consumers, and business partners, while communities depend on companies to offer jobs, stability, and opportunities to create wealth. Recognizing the interdependency between the two sectors, the “Good Health is Good Business” report by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the de Beaumont Foundation encourages collaboration between the two by putting forth the value proposition for such collaborations and details the potential benefits for each sector.
Businesses and local health departments should work together to improve community conditions that affect all residents — including the businesses’ employees, customers, and others. – Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, MA, President and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation
Ideas for Alignment
Businesses have an opportunity to partner with public health leaders in their local community to help drive policies and efforts that can create healthier communities—the key to a resilient workforce and strong economy. Doing so will require understanding the opportunity and collaborating effectively. Alignment between businesses and local public health organizations is critical to eradicating COVID-19 and preparing better prepared to meet future crises.
The “Seven Ways Business Can Align with Public Health for Bold Action and Innovation” report presents practical steps that businesses can take to strengthen partnerships and improve the health of their employees, communities, and the nation. Developed in partnership between the de Beaumont Foundation and the Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, these recommendations were informed by a series of focus groups and personal interviews with 40 business and public health leaders who shared ideas about what can be done to address the immediate COVID-19 crisis and its spillover effects on the health and well-being of Americans.