Public awareness and understanding of the determinants of health, disease and disability and the opportunities for progress.

Healthy People 2020

The Healthy People 2020 initiative provides a science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. For three decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to encourage collaborations across communities, empower individuals toward making informed health decisions, and measure the impact of prevention activities. (Healthy, 2012)

The first goal of this paper is to distinguish between the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Healthy People 2020 goals and the World Health Organization (WHO) goals, and address some similarities and differences. Second, this paper will address if the nurses in my community are aware of the Healthy People 2020 goals. Healthy People Goals

The goal of Healthy People is to provide evidence-based health objectives and strategies to encourage Americans to make informed decisions. Healthy People is a program that puts an emphasis on prevention, especially by making good lifestyle choices. The program also aims to eliminate disparities in health behavior and health outcomes. ( ) The mission lists 5 things HP2020 should accomplish:

1) Identify nationwide health improvement priorities

2) Increase public awareness and understanding of the determinants of health, disease and disability and the opportunities for progress.

3) Provide measurable objectives and goals that can be used at the national, state and local levels

4) Engage multiple sectors to take actions to strengthen policies and improve practices that are driven by the best available evidence and knowledge.

5) Identify critical research and data collection needs. In summary, the goals are to eliminate preventable disease and premature death, achieve health equity, and to create social and physical environments that promote good health for all people across every stage of life. (Malvitz, 2009) World Health Organization Goals

Health 2020 is a joint commitment between the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the 53 European Member States. The policy sets out a framework based on key action principles. It aims to accelerate the attainment of better health and well-being for all. The Health 2020 framework can be adopted and adapted to the different societies that make up the European region. Its overall rationale is to describe how health and well-being can be advanced, sustained and measured through action that creates social cohesion, security, work–life balance, good health and good education.

Health 2020 is consistent with existing commitments endorsed by Member States, including the United Nations Millennium Declaration (8) and Millennium Development Goals (9), which embrace a vision for a world in which countries work in partnership for the betterment of everyone, especially the most disadvantaged people. The 6 stated goals are: 1) Addressing the risks and opportunities while preparing for and anticipating change, 2) Integrating strong, evidence-informed socioeconomic arguments to advocate for health and well-being, 3) Developing, promoting and agreeing on a common policy framework for working together for health, 4) Rigorously upholding a rights- and values-based approach to health and well-being, 5) Committing to a whole-of-government approach to health and well-being, and 6) Crafting specific strategies for tackling the health divide between and within countries. (www.who.pdf) WHO Goals vs. CDC Goals

The major differences between the WHO 2020 and CDC 2020 goals are that the WHO goals are global, and the Healthy People 2020 goals are for the United States only. WHO goals look to integrate care across nations and uphold the rights of all individuals to have the same care. The CDC goals focus more on finding problems specific for Americans and providing a plan to fix these issues specific to that population.

While the goals may be stated differently, there is some similarities as well. One of the biggest similarities deals with vaccinations. The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) was endorsed to achieve the Decade of Vaccines vision by delivering universal access to immunizations.

The GVAP mission is to improve health by 2020 and beyond by providing the full benefits of immunization to all people, regardless of where they are born, who they are, or where they live.(www.who/plan.pdf) The CDCs’ goals for vaccines include increased immunization rates and reduce preventable infectious diseases. People in the United States continue to get diseases that are preventable with vaccines. Viral hepatitis, influenza, and tuberculosis (TB) remain among the leading causes of illness and death in the United States and account for substantial spending on the related consequences of infection, which are all preventable with vaccines. (Healthy, 2012) Nursing Awareness

The Nurses in my community have heard about the Healthy People 2020 initiatives, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily aware of them. The goals are not posted, nor are they discussed in the context of the Healthy People initiative. However, many of the ways healthcare is practiced at my hospital fall within these goals.

Everyone who walks in the door is treated, no one is turned away due to a social or financial status. Many of the protocols in place for different diagnoses have a basis in evidence based and preventative medicine. While many of the goals may be practiced, awareness of the origins of what we do, i.e. Healthy People, may not be realized. In conclusion, the Healthy People 2020 initiative is an excellent tool for setting a new health standard for the future. It addresses the multiple potential problematic aspects of healthcare as technology and costs move forward.

While it encourages preventative medicine, it also seeks to ensure everyone has equal access to this care, and encourages the public to play an active role in their own health. Awareness is critical for any initiative to be successful, and raising awareness for the Healthy People 2020 should be on all health institutions agendas to ensure they continue to provide excellent care with advances in the future.


HHS Releases Final Healthy People Goals for 2020. (2011). Contemporary Pediatrics, 28(12), 13 Malvitz, D. (2009). Update on Healthy People 2020. Journal of Dental Hygiene, 83(4), 157-158.




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