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Healthy People in Healthy Communities

Healthy People 2010. A deceptively simple title for a truly comprehensive health initiative. Healthy People 2010, or HP2010, is the Nation's prevention agenda for the next ten years. It identifies the most significant preventable threats to health and focuses public and private sector efforts to address them. Developed over a four-year national collaborative effort, HP2010 reflects consensus about the direction that this country should take to prevent disease and promote health. HP2010's vision, "Healthy People in Healthy Communities," acknowledges that the health of the individual is almost inseparable from the health of the larger community.

Over 1,500 individuals from across the country and around the world came to Washington, DC, on January 24–28 for the Partnerships for Health in the New Millennium conference. They joined Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and Assistant Secretary for Health and Surgeon General David Satcher in launching HP 2010. Participants spanned the gamut of backgrounds—from physicians, dietitians, and health educators to administrators, Web designers, and businesspersons. They represented 47 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 14 foreign countries. Strategies to help realize the HP2010 vision served as the themes of the conference: Partnering for Health Improvements, Eliminating Health Disparities, Increasing Quality and Years of Healthy Life, and Harnessing Technology for Health.

Despite an overnight snowstorm that closed the Federal Government, Secretary Shalala, Assistant Secretary for Health and Surgeon General Satcher, Dr. Louis Sullivan, Dr. Julius Richmond, and members of the US Women's Soccer Team launched HP2010 on schedule. Dr. Satcher presented the Secretary with "Understanding and Improving Health," which includes the Leading Health Indicators, and the two Volumes of HP2010, which contain 467 health objectives in 28 focus areas. In reference to the initiative, the Secretary stated, "It is a portrait of our Nation: healthy, strong, and honorable in its commitment to disease prevention and health promotion for all. Healthy People 2010 is about all of us."

Her message and the significance of this event did not go unnoticed and attracted a wide array of notable speakers who took part in the more than 600 presentations throughout the conference. Dr. John Rowe, author of Successful Aging, emphasized the need to focus prevention efforts toward the growing elderly population. Dr. E. Ratcliffe Anderson, Jr., Vice President and CEO of the American Medical Association (AMA), explained how the AMA intends to enhance access to health care and increase cultural competence. Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999, articulated how she called upon her inner strength to help fight her diabetes. Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project, explained how 99.9 percent of humans are genetically the same. Steve McGeady, Vice President of Intel, gave an eye-opening presentation about the rapid development of "Internet appliances" and the penetration of Internet access into homes across America. Jim Kauss, Director of Technology and Innovation at AT&T Labs, intrigued the audience with future technologies like intelligent agents and new network interfaces. Dr. Charles Saunders, Chief Medical Office of Healtheon/WebMD, described how online health services are challenging traditional health care.

The pre-launch festivities included a presentation by Senator William Frist and a pre-recorded talk from entertainer Bill Cosby. There were also artistic presentations by the Eastern High School Jazz Band and Life Pieces to Master Pieces. Speakers from Congress included Representatives Jim McDermott, Donna Marie Christian-Christensen, and Ciro Rodriguez. A global health session consisted of Dr. Octavio Rivero-Serrano, Director of the Public Health Institute of Mexico; Dr. Ismail Sallam, Minister of Health of Egypt; and a taped presentation by President Jimmy Carter.

In one session, "Eliminating Health Disparities," Charles Ogletree, Jr., Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, framed audience questions for a panel of health disparities experts to address. Generating political will, increasing cultural competence, and integrating more minorities into the healthcare workforce were factors that the panelists felt could reduce the disparities in access and health status.

More than 120 exhibitors displayed their disease prevention and health promotion products, services, and programs. More than 45 groups participated in the Technology Games, which brought together the leading developers and vendors of interactive health applications to showcase their work. There were two Annenberg School for Communication "Best of Show" awards. They went to BioRehab System and Relate for Teens. For the other technology award recipients, visit the conference Web site:

The winners of the technology games were not the only individuals who did not leave empty-handed. Attendees collected a total of 2,400 copies of "Understanding and Improving Health," 2,100 copies of the two-volume conference edition of HP2010, and 1,900 CD-ROMS. Videotapes of general and concurrent plenary sessions have also recently been made available.

If you would like to order any of the HP2010 materials, please visit the Healthy People Web site: or call 1-800-367-4725.

Many of the presentations were viewed via satellite broadcast and Webcast on the Internet. Soon, you will be able to access all 23 hours of general and concurrent plenary sessions at the conference Web site: The meeting received extraordinary media attention from sources like the Journal of the American Medical Association, Academic Medicine, Nation's Health, and National Public Radio, and has been the topic of numerous editorials.

In addition to the daytime sessions, attendees were treated to special evening performances by 100 Australian youth representing the Global Rock Challenge and the United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY). These outstanding groups not only gave energizing performances, but also promoted healthy lifestyles that are free from tobacco and illicit drug and alcohol abuse.

With the successful launch of the document, the next step is to begin implementing HP2010. The November 11, 2000, Healthy People Consortium meeting in Boston will focus on implementation plans of Healthy People partners, States, national organizations, Federal agencies, and community groups. You can find more information about this meeting on the Healthy People Web site: Please join us and learn how you can use HP2010 to drive action for health improvement in your community.


Partnerships for Health in the New Millennium is managed by HHS’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. For more information call 1-800-367-4725, e-mail or go online to To subscribe to the conference listserv send an e-mail to LISTSERV@LIST.NIH.GOV with the following text in the message body: SUBSCRIBE partnerships-00 YOUR NAME.

Partnerships for Health in the New Millennium          January 24-28, 2000         Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC

Updated: 05/01/08