Performance Improvement 2008. Goal 2 - Prevent and Control Disease, Injury, Illness, and Disability Across the Lifespan, and Protect the Public From Infectious, Occupational, Environmental, and Terrorist Threats

01/01/2008

PREVENT AND CONTROL DISEASE, INJURY, ILLNESS, AND DISABILITY ACROSS THE LIFESPAN, AND PROTECT THE PUBLIC FROM INFECTIOUS, OCCUPATIONAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND TERRORIST THREATS

Within HHS, multiple operating and staff divisions work together to develop and implement strategies to achieve the goal of preventing and controlling disease, injury, illness, and disability across the lifespan and of protecting the public from infectious occupational, environmental, and terrorist threats. [3]

Prevent the Spread of Infectious Diseases.

A query regarding the progress made toward achieving the health goals in Healthy People 2010 found that of the total 467 objectives, progress could be assessed for 281; of these, 59 percent met or moved toward the target, 14 percent demonstrated mixed progress, and 26 percent were unchanged from the baseline or moved away from the target.

Expert analysis of how Healthy People national disease prevention and health promotion objectives for 2020 should be developed resulted in several recommendations: reduce the number of topic areas and objectives; organize objectives by health risks/determinants, not disease; focus on the public health community as the target audience; and articulate a clear vision for the initiative.

Researchers carried out a random assignment study to determine whether minority substance abuse and HIV prevention initiatives reduced or delayed use and increased HIV/AIDS avoidance behavior. The program did reduce alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. Fewer youth participants had sex after getting drunk or high and more participants took HIV/AIDS education classes.

Protect the Public Against Injuries and Environmental Threats.

Access to essential information can be key to ensuring the public against health threats. Several Web-based studies to improve both internal communications and with the public were carried out, including, for example, one to improve the Center for Devices and Radiological Health´s internet system, "CenterNet." As in other, similar studies, this one sought practical ways to improve its online menus making it easier for the public and professional public to access the available information and links.

Promote and Encourage Preventive Health Care, Including Mental Health, Lifelong Healthy Behaviors, and Recovery.

One study sought promising and innovative health education methods that targeted 8-13 year-olds and promoted healthy eating and physical activity. Findings confirmed intuitive assumptions, including: youth are more likely to adopt healthy behaviors they learn through activities they value and from those responsible for communicating effectively with youth (not to underestimate the importance of fun, as defined by kids).

Another inquiry examined the effectiveness, in reducing drug use among youth, of emphasizing prevention and developing program infrastructure. Programs with more than 100 youths in attendance per session showed larger positive effects on participants´ attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge. Programs with fewer than 100 youths in attendance appeared to result in more immediate behavioral change.

An investigation of the relationship between marriage and health scrutinized recent research, focusing on studies that used rigorous statistical methods to determine if marriage caused better health outcomes. Married people, in general, were healthier. Marriage improved certain mental health outcomes, reduced the use of some high-cost health services (such as nursing home care), and increased the likelihood of having health insurance coverage.

Prepare for and Respond to Natural and Manmade Disasters.

Researchers examined whether Government purchase-card purchases related to Hurricane Katrina complied with card use requirements. The researchers found that 85 percent of purchases complied with purchase card requirements. Cardholders had concerns regarding the legality and complexity of some purchases and over half of cardholders expressed the need for additional written guidance regarding emergency purchasing procedures.

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