Preventing Poor Public Health

HHS announces large investment in prevention and public health

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a $750 million investment in prevention and public health, funded through the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the new health care law.

Building on $500 million in investments last year, these new dollars will help prevent tobacco use, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and cancer; increase immunizations; and empower individuals and communities with tools and resources for local prevention and health initiatives.

“Prevention is something that can’t just happen in a doctor’s office. If we are to address the big health issues of our time, from physical inactivity to poor nutrition to tobacco use, it needs to happen in local communities,” said Sebelius. “This investment is going to build on the prevention work already under way to help make sure that we are working effectively across the federal government as well as with private groups and state and local governments to help Americans live longer, healthier lives.”

The Prevention and Public Health Fund, part of the Affordable Care Act, is designed to expand and sustain the necessary capacity to prevent disease, detect it early, manage conditions before they become severe, and provide states and communities the resources they need to promote healthy living. In FY2010, $500 million of the Prevention Fund was distributed to states and communities to boost prevention and public health efforts, improve health, enhance health care quality, and foster the next generation of primary health professionals. Today, HHS posted new fact sheets detailing how that $500 million was allocated in every state. Those fact sheets are available at

This year, building on the initial investment, new funds are dedicated to expanding on four critical priorities:

  • Community Prevention ($298 million): These funds will be used to help promote health and wellness in local communities, including efforts to prevent and reduce tobacco use; improve nutrition and increase physical activity to prevent obesity; and coordinate and focus efforts to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

  • Clinical Prevention ($182 million): These funds will help improve access to preventive care, including increasing awareness of the new prevention benefits provided under the new health care law. They will also help increase availability and use of immunizations, and help integrate behavioral health services into primary care settings.

  • Public Health Infrastructure ($137 million): These funds will help state and local health departments meet 21st century challenges, including investments in information technology and training for the public health workforce to enable detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and other health threats.

  • Research and Tracking ($133 million): These funds will help collect data to monitor the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the health of Americans and identify and disseminate evidence-based recommendations on important public health challenges.

The Obama Administration recognizes the importance of a broad approach to addressing the health and well-being of our communities. Other initiatives put forth by the Obama Administration to promote prevention include:

  • The President’s Childhood Obesity Task Force and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative aimed at combating childhood obesity.

  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that provides $1 billion for community-based initiatives, tobacco cessation activities, chronic disease reduction programs, and efforts to reduce healthcare-acquired infections.

  • The Affordable Care Act’s National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council, composed of senior government officials, charged with designing a National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy.

For more information about the FY2011 Prevention and Public Health Fund investments, visit

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 16, 2011
Last Updated:
February 17, 2011