The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is working to build a Culture of Health.


What the Child Tax Credit Fight Says about America

The United States relegates those of certain races, wage levels, and immigration backgrounds to secondhand status. That's the conclusion of Richard Besser, a pediatrician who provides care to many uninsured children, and Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, a scholar who worked on the National Academies’ landmark A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty report. Our policy choices, they write in The Hill, make certain populations more likely to live in poverty and suffer lifelong repercussions. We know how to reduce poverty; the expanded Child Tax Credit has done it over the past six months. But the expanded credit has expired. Dr. Besser and Dr. Acevedo-Garcia explain why a permanent expansion of a more equitable Child Tax Credit is essential to eliminating child poverty.

Why it's impossible for some people to follow COVID-19 guidelines

Public health recommendations represent the best scientific advice we have, but this guidance is meaningless if people cannot do what's necessary to protect themselves or their families. Case in point: CDC COVID-19 protocols assume that anyone can easily and quickly get tested, and that people can stay home while awaiting results. RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser recently experienced firsthand the deep frustrations of the current testing environment, and his CNN op-ed lays out how testing failures are a symptom of vast and enduring health inequities in the United States that must be addressed. He lays out the long list of needs—healthcare coverage, paid leave, childcare, housing supports, among others—that will persist well beyond the pandemic.

To transform public health, we must reimagine our data systems

Data systems that only document racial health disparities without measuring the inequities and racism that fuels them contribute to the problem. This failure results in a society such as ours where health disparities are often perceived as biological or behavioral rather than structural. It's a system that stigmatizes. RWJF president and CEO Richard Besser explains that properly measuring and understanding racism, and investing in the public health infrastructure to collect, aggregate and analyze data, are essential steps toward ensuring every person in the United States has a fair and just opportunity to live a healthier life.  —Explore RWJF Data Commission's blueprint for change.


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