Press Release

For Immediate Release: February 10, 2009

Over 170 Groups Urge Bill Conferees to Include “Double Duty” Public Health Funds in Stimulus for Jobs and Health Care Savings

WASHINGTON, DC - More than 170 public health organizations issued a letter today to Congressional Conferees urging them to maintain the House-passed level of funding for prevention and wellness programs in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.  The final U.S. Senate version of the bill removed all funding for these programs.


The funding in the House stimulus could directly save or create more than 20,000 public health jobs.  As states, local governments, and communities are hit with economic hard times, they have already laid off more than 11,000 public health workers and left over 10,000 jobs vacant, and at least as many layoffs are expected in the coming year.  In addition, by funding the expansion of targeted, effective community-based disease prevention programs, additional new jobs will be created directly in the communities they are serving.  The funding would support existing programs, where mechanisms are in place to get the money out quickly so it can have an immediate impact on the economy.


"Thousands of public health jobs hang in the balance," said Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of Trust for America's Health (TFAH).  "These public health workers are the ones we rely on to hold the community health safety net in place as the number of unemployed, uninsured, and underinsured Americans is growing by the day."


"We should also remember that the funding for public health goes way beyond protecting and creating jobs.  It's also a down payment toward reducing health care costs over the long term, keeping Americans healthier and more productive.  Containing health care costs is one of the most important factors for improving the U.S. economy.  Supporting prevention and wellness is one of the smartest investments we could be making, and we hope Congress will do the right thing and maintain this funding in the final bill," Levi continued.


The full text of the letter supported by more than 174 public health groups is below:


February 10, 2009


Dear Conferee:


Our 174 organizations express our gratitude and support for the robust public health provisions included in the House-passed version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and our extreme disappointment over the $5.8 billion in prevention and wellness funding stripped from the Senate bill. We urge you to maintain the House-passed level of $3 billion for prevention and wellness in the final enacted version of the bill. 


As you know, the public health system is experiencing severe workforce shortages. State and local health departments lost over 11,000 jobs last year.   The Prevention and Wellness Fund included in the House bill would help to restore lost jobs and prevent a projected additional 10,000 job vacancies from occurring next year in health departments.


During an economic downturn, it is important to have a strong safety net to support individuals who are losing their health coverage.  As unemployment rates soar, unemployed workers and their families turn to state and local health departments and community-based organizations for basic health services, like immunizations and preventive services that are provided free of charge to those who cannot afford them.  Toward that end, we hope that you will consider an investment in wellness and prevention as a means of restoring and creating jobs, as well as offering assistance to struggling families.


The recovery and reinvestment legislation affords the opportunity to stimulate the economy and strengthen our investment in health infrastructure and workforce while building stronger, healthier communities.  This investment can also help stave off the onset of many costly chronic diseases and avoid the need for treatment of expensive complications of disease.  Controlling health care costs will be critical to getting the country's economy back on track.  Fundamental health care reform, particularly reform that focuses on ways to keep Americans healthier, must be part of solving our current financial crisis.  Funding for public health and disease prevention in the stimulus bill is a down payment toward reducing health care costs over the long term. 


Our nation needs a healthy and productive population to meet the challenges of the future, and rebound from these difficult times.  An investment in public health will put us on a preferred path of prevention and wellness.  To prevent further job loss in state and local health departments, stimulate job creation in the health field, and fully capitalize on the opportunity to promote health, we ask that you include at least $3 billion for prevention and wellness in the final version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 


Active Transportation Alliance (IL)

Advocates for Better Children's Diets

AHIA - NAIFA Health & Employee Benefits

AIDS Action Council

ALERT Health, Inc.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America

American Council on Exercise

American School Health Association

America Walks

American Academy of Nursing

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Academy of Physician Assistants

American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance

American Association for Health Education

American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

American Association of Occupational Health Nurses

American Association on Health and Disability

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

American College of Preventive Medicine

American College of Sports Medicine

American Diabetes Association

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

American Heart Association

American Lung Association

American Occupational Therapy Association

American Osteopathic Association

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

American Physical Therapy Association

American Public Health Association

American School Health Association

American Social Health Association

American Society of Nephrology

American Thoracic Society

Amputee Coalition of America

Arthritis Foundation

Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association

Association for Prevention Teaching and Research

Association of Immunization Managers

Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs

Association of Public Health Laboratories

Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors

Association of State and Territorial Directors of Nursing

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Autism Society of America

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Brain Injury Association of America

Breathe California

California Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors

California Certification Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors

California Foundation for the Advancement of Addiction Professionals

Campaign for Public Health

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Campaign to End Obesity

Center for Biosecurity, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Children's Dental Health Project


Coalition for Health Services Research

Coalition for Public Health

Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service

Community Health Councils

Community Health Partnership: Oregon's Public Health Institute

Community Partners for Better Health (NV)

Defeat Diabetes Foundation

Directors of Health Promotion and Education

DMAA:  The Care Continuum Alliance

Emergency Nurses Association

Evergreen State Amateur Athletic Council (WA)

Every Child By Two

Faces and Voices of Recovery

FamilyCook Productions

Fall Prevention Center of Excellence

First Focus

Friends of NCHS

Friends of SAMHSA

Fund a Nurse, Inc


Health Education Network of Delaware

Healthcare Consortium

Healthcare Leadership Council

Healthy Homes Collaborative

Hep C Connection

Hepatitis B Foundation

Hepatitis C Association

Hepatitis Foundation International

High Sierra Area Health Education Center

HIV Medicine Association

Home Safety Council

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Institute of Public Health - Georgia State University

International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association

March of Dimes Foundation

National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors

National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems

National Association for Sport and Physical Education

National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

National Association of County and City Health Officials

National Association of Neonatal Nurses

National Association of People with AIDS

National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors

National Association of State EMS Officials

National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity

National Coalition of STD Directors

National Council on Aging

National Disease Clusters Alliance

National Environmental Health Association

National Health Council

National Hispanic Medical Association

National Hispanic Health Foundation

National Kidney Foundation

National Medical Association

National Minority AIDS Council

National Nurses Advisory Council 

National Nursing Centers Consortium

National Nursing Network Organization

National PTA

National REACH Coalition for the Elimination of Health Disparities

National Recreation and Park Association

National Sleep Foundation

National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable

National WIC Association


New Mexico Hepatitis C Alliance

New York State Nutrition Council

North Shore Health Project (MA)

Northwest Federation of Community Organizations

OraSure Technologies

Partners for a Healthy Nevada

Partnership for Prevention

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.

Prevention Institute

Public Health Foundation

Public Health Institute

Public Health-Seattle & King County (WA)

Red River Democrats


Researchers against Inactivity-related Disorders

RWJF Center for Health Policy

Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Save the Children

Seattle Sports Commission

Service Employees International Union

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S.

Shaping America's Health

Snohomish Health District

Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Control

Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

Society for Public Health Education

Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association


State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association

Strategic Health Policy International, Inc.

The AIDS Institute

The Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts

The Healthcare Consortium, Inc (Hudson, NY)

The National TB Controllers Association

The New York Academy of Medicine

The Seniors Coalition

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

The YBH Project, Inc.

Trust for America's Health

UCHAPS: Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services

United Fresh Produce Association


Visiting Nurse Associations of America

Washington Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity

Washington Health Foundation- Healthiest State in the Nation Campaign

Women's Sports Foundation

YMCA of the USA







Elle Hogan
202-223-9870 x21