Congress has a responsibility to formulate and fund policy initiatives that promote public health, and the Congressional Public Health Caucus is one means by which members of Congress and their staffs can be educated about such challenges and solutions.
The federal government has been actively involved in public health since 1798, when our country’s founders enacted “An act for the relief of sick and disabled seamen.” We have come a long way in these past 200 years, and responsible federal policies have played a critical role in promoting public health.
The purpose of the bipartisan Congressional Public Health Caucus is to support federal policies that result in improved overall health for the people of this Nation, thereby enabling our country and its people to realize their full potential.
Public health is a true national security concern on many levels. Public health issues range from tobacco use to obesity to natural disasters to tainted food products to contagious diseases. Smoking is down 41 percent from its peak 50 years ago, but it still kills 480,000 Americans annually. Obesity is one of the primary reasons why only one-fourth of young people between the ages of 17 and 24 qualify for military service. Public health emergencies routinely follow natural disasters like hurricanes. Food-borne diseases and outbreaks are a constant in our country. Contagious diseases threaten the American public, no matter where they live, and responding to them, as we did with the Ebola and Zika viruses, is an area where public health professionals are invaluable. Public health is one area where private, local, state, tribal, and federal entities work closely together toward a common goal.
Public Health Caucus