The determinant of health that likely has the greatest impact on public health and health equity may be the one most public health professionals have the least to say: the ideological direction of the country.
A week after taking the oath of office, President Biden signed a sweeping presidential memorandum that takes several welcome steps to ensure government scientists can do their jobs without political interference. A week after that, Representative Paul Tonko reintroduced the Scientific Integrity Act, which would enshrine into law many of the safeguards that Biden’s memorandum specifies.
For more than four decades, each spending bill Congress passes has contained a discriminatory and harmful rider: the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or life-endangering pregnancies. A House Appropriations subcommittee hearing addressed its harms, which disproportionately fall on Black and Brown women.
Recommendations to several federal agencies for undoing damage to scientific integrity are in the new resource “Restoring Science, Protecting the Public: Recommendations for Federal Agencies in the Next Presidential Term.”
The Trump administration’s attacks on the science and scientists we need to control COVID-19’s toll have been so frequent that it’s easy to become numb to them. But news of Trump administration interference with CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports is still a horrible shock.
Recently, public health experts and supporters have issued several letters to the Trump administration urging it to do a better job using evidence, data, and scientific experts to control coronavirus spread.
HHS now requires hospitals to report their COVID-19 data to a new database managed by a private company, instead of to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network. Public health leaders are alarmed at the shift, which has implications for access to data, transparency, and public trust.