As communities and the economy continue to suffer under the deadly weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, national public health experts and business leaders have joined forces to pave a new path forward. Recommendations from a new report, “Seven Ways Business Can Align with Public Health for Bold Action and Innovation,” offer strategies to end and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure America is better prepared to address future public health crises. Underscoring the inextricable link between public health and economic well-being, the report identifies actionable ways for businesses to strengthen public health beyond their own employees and into their communities.
With funding from the de Beaumont Foundation, the report was prepared by the Johns Hopkins Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (IHPS) and is based on interviews with 40 public health and business leaders, including executives from Disney, IBM, USAA, Sodexo, Goodyear, and Walmart. “A strong public health system is the backbone of America’s safety, security, and economic prosperity,” said Brian C. Castrucci, DrPH, President and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation. “This pandemic has made us painfully aware that we can’t have a strong economy without good health, and we have an opportunity to act now.”
These are the seven recommendations that emerged for business leaders to strengthen the health of communities and help ensure America’s long-term economic prosperity:
- “Put out the fire” of COVID-19 by following advice of credible public health experts.
- Improve the health and well-being of employees.
- Promote healthy communities.
- Become a “force multiplier” by leveraging expertise, staff, and other resources to collaborate with local and state public health departments to be better prepared for future public health emergencies.
- Actively facilitate public-private partnerships in the community.
- Advocate for development of accountability dashboards that track and monitor progress toward achieving key economic and public health outcomes in a community.
- Advocate for a rebuilding and expansion of a national public health workforce supported by a modern information technology infrastructure.
Ron Goetzel, PhD, Director of IHPS, said, “A large-scale effort to address our public health vulnerabilities will require business and public health leaders, as well as policymakers, to join forces in support of healthier employees and communities—the key to a more resilient workforce and a strong economy.”
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chief Medical Officer Pam Hymel, a report participant, said, “The pandemic has shown us that investing in employee health and wellness programs is important, but it goes further. We also need to support the health of the communities where our people live and work.”
Get more information on the report and how business can align with public health.