Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H., Surgeon General of the United States, testifying previously before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. (Photo Credit: U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions)
Vice Admiral Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H., Surgeon General of the United States, has a motto: “Better Health through Better Partnerships.” As he points out, his motto aligns well with the theme of this year’s National Public Health Week (April 2-8), which is “Changing Our Future Together.”
NACDS’ message to the public health community is that partnership defines pharmacy’s current role in public health, and there is much more that can be accomplished together.
Be sure to read the statement that Surgeon General Adams issued, in which he says: “When we are addressing issues that are important to improving our nation’s health, we cannot operate in silos. Whether we are looking to improve our nation’s health outcomes, improve our national security, or enhance a community’s resilience, we need partnerships and collaboration.” He goes on to specifically mention issues including HIV, Hepatitis C, the opioid abuse epidemic, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
“Partnership defines pharmacy’s current role in public health, and there is much more that can be accomplished together.”
I find it striking that NACDS’ engagement in public health issues mirrors Surgeon General Adams’ statement so closely. A study by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and funded by NACDS – “Serving the Greater Good: Public Health & Community Pharmacy Partnerships” – identifies successes and untapped potential in the empowerment of pharmacies to confront public health challenges. Specifically, the study addresses opioid abuse, antibiotic resistance, and preparedness and response to pandemics and other emergencies.
In addition, NACDS, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and the American Public Health Association hosted a workshop last November, titled “Building Health Department and Pharmacy Partnerships to Improve Community Health.” The proceedings of this workshop will be published soon, to contribute to ongoing dialogue about many of the issues identified by Surgeon General Adams and other public health leaders.
Separate from the work of NACDS, the NACDS Foundation has funded studies to evaluate a model which may provide patients with increased access to HIV and Hepatitis C testing, and link patients to a specialized physician or health department as needed for further care. Again, these are among the issues specifically mentioned by Surgeon General Adams.
I want to commend Surgeon General Adams for his emphasis on “Better Health through Better Partnerships.” We stand with him in pursuit of that vision.