The covid-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on public health, a key part of the health care system that usually operates in the background. Public health has, over the past century, helped ensure that Americans have clean water to drink, untainted food to eat and vaccines that have helped obliterate once-common deadly diseases.
But like other issues related to the pandemic, public health has become politicized and controversial, leading some public health officials to quit or retire. Some even have been physically threatened just for doing their jobs, trying to keep people healthy and safe.
KHN's "What the Health?" podcast this week takes a deep dive into public health, its past and future. First, host Julie Rovner talks with Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, about the importance of public health.
Then panelists Joanne Kenen of Politico and Lauren Weber of KHN join Rovner for a discussion of public health's prospects for the future.
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This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.