Development of Healthy People 2010 Objectives

On April 21, 1997, the Secretary's Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2010 held an inaugural open meeting at the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. Established by charter on September 5, 1996, the Council advises the Secretary on Healthy People 2010, the nation's prevention agenda of goals and objectives for the first decade of the 21st century. This initiative builds on the success of Healthy People 2000 which, by 1995, had already met 8 percent of its targets and was showing movement in the direction of the objectives in 40 percent of the others.

Jo Ivey Boufford, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, who chaired the meeting, said, "We must begin now to be sure that the next generation of objectives is strengthened and can appeal to a broader audience." Deputy Secretary Kevin Thurm swore in the members, noting, "This Council's task is to make sure that the Healthy People process creates a tool not just for public health policy makers, and for people in this room, but for all policy makers at every level of State and local government to improve the health outcomes of our Nation." HHS Agency heads and former Assistant Secretaries for Health make up the membership of the Council. Attached is a list of the participants.

The Council reviewed the history and accomplishments of the Healthy People initiative to apply lessons learned to the new Healthy People 2010 initiative. In the months preceding the Council meeting, several focus groups were assembled from members of the Healthy People 2000 Consortium, a partnering organization consisting of State and territorial public health, mental health, substance abuse, and environmental agencies, as well as national membership organizations. In the report on these focus groups presented to the Council several themes emerged-the need to address morbidity, as well as mortality, in setting objectives; the value of packaging the 2010 document into different formats for multiple audiences; the necessity of linking objectives to community-based health improvement initiatives and accountability; and the importance of using language in the document that is intelligible to the general public.

Aided by the work of the Consortium focus groups, the Council achieved a large measure of unanimity about the 2010 framework. Two overarching goals-"Increase Years of Healthy Life" and "Eliminate Health Disparities"-are proposed. They would be supported by four enabling goals concerned with promoting healthy behaviors, protecting health, achieving access to quality health care, and strengthening community prevention. The objectives would be grouped into 25 focus areas. New focus areas include-disability, people with low income, race and ethnicity, chronic diseases, and public health infrastructure. A call for comments on this draft framework will be made this fall.

The Healthy People 2010 goal to eliminate health disparities implies that all groups share the same year 2010 targets. To enhance the ability to track the objectives, a new strategy would be developed to improve data collection, particularly at the community level. Steps would be taken to improve information for consumers and for measuring access to and quality of health services. Also, efforts would be made to link performance measurement activities under the Government Performance and Results Act with the 2010 goals and objectives. A special effort is under way to engage the interest and active participation of the Nation's corporate structure in planning for 2010. As Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala said, "We really welcome the business community's involvement and sponsorship."

Various work groups within the Healthy People lead agencies have already begun to meet to develop 2010 objectives. In October of this year, a call for public submission of objectives will be published in the Federal Register. In the fall of next year, a notice will appear in the Register about the availability of the draft objectives and the opportunity for the public to comment. The development process will culminate in release of the Healthy People 2010 document in January 2000.

Contact: Ellis Davis, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

(202) 260-2873; EDAVIS@OSOPHS.DHHS.GOV

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