What Will it Really Take to Improve Population Health?

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In 2016, Thomas A. Farley, MD, MPH was named Health Commissioner for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. He is physician trained in pediatrics and epidemiology and has worked in a variety of roles in public health.

In 2015, he was the CEO of The Public Good Projects, a nonprofit organization that uses messages in the mass media to combat the nation’s greatest health problems. From 2009 to 2014 Dr. Farley was the Health Commissioner for New York City. In those years, he advocated for innovative public health policies, including making the city’s parks and beaches smoke-free, prohibiting price discounting of cigarettes, raising the legal sales age of tobacco to 21, capping the portion size of sugary drinks sold in restaurants at 16 ounces, and restricting the burning of air-polluting fuels to heat buildings.

He is coauthor of Prescription for a Healthy Nation (Beacon Press) with RAND Senior Scientist Deborah Cohen, and author of Saving Gotham: A billionaire mayor, activist doctors, and the fight for 8 million lives (W.W. Norton).


Program Description:

Well-intentioned efforts to improve the health of populations rarely succeed, usually because they have too little impact or reach too few people. Solving this problem requires thinking differently about health determinants and levers to change them.

Dr. Farley’s forum program identified categories of determinants of health and discussed behavior and environmental risks to which more than 50,000 deaths annually have been attributed. He also explained approaches to help reduce behavior and environmental risks.

Presentation: 55:52 (audio only)