The 2024 Public and Population Health Theme focuses on innovations and policies that promote the transformation of systems and ensure connections between health care and public health, all toward the goals of equitable access to services, improved health, and reduced disparities. During the nearly 15 years since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law, numerous changes have occurred that have transformed the landscape of population health efforts in the U.S. Health care marketplaces provide unprecedented access to health insurance for individuals. This access coupled with Medicaid expansion in 41 states and D.C. means that preventive services such as cancer and chronic disease screenings, vaccinations, and use of contraception have all increased. U.S. nonprofit hospitals have also adjusted to new requirements that they routinely conduct community health needs assessments and develop implementation plans to address community needs, policies that differ substantially from prior community benefit requirements. 

Many of the ACA-related changes required time for implementation and related activities to occur before measurable population and public health outcomes were expected. It is an exciting time for the Population and Public Health theme to be able to highlight related, recent studies at the 2024 ARM. On Sunday, June 30th on 1:45pm-3:00pm ET a session titled Factors Related to Access to Health Care and Prevention Services includes presentations on factors that impact individuals’ access to health care and prevention service. Topics cover unmet PrEP (pre-exposure prophlaxis) need within Black/Latinx neighborhoods, unequal impact of telehealth for maternal health screenings, differences in cancer screening rates among individuals covered by employer-sponsored versus marketplace-derived insurance, and primary care utilization in medically underserved areas and populations. The session Strategies for Understanding and Addressing Community Health Needs on Tuesday, July 2nd from 10:45am-12:00pm will include studies on hospital-focused population health initiatives including the use of social determinants indices, and community engagement in nonprofit hospital Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) and Implementation Plans, and hospital spending on community benefits.

During this transformational time for population health, public health has also experienced substantial changes and challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic drew new attention to the work of public health agencies and organizations globally. Simultaneously, the world is experiencing the effects of global climate change, including extreme heat, floods, and wildfires. Two sessions broadly relate to public health and outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of health behaviors and perceptions of public health. The first is the COVID-19 Pandemic-Related Health Outcomes and Vaccination Behaviors session on Sunday, June 30th at 11am-12:15pm ET which examines various negative health outcomes such as Long COVID, potentially preventable hospitalizations, and influenza vaccination trends following the COVID-19 Pandemic. The second session, The Role of Trust in Public Health and Health on Monday, July 1st, includes presentations on efforts to mitigate distrust in public health and health care. Topics include distrust and the use of social media, public health workforce challenges amid decreased trust, and the benefits of partnering to address distrust in the community. A third session focused on public health examines Equitable Public Health Practices and Services on Monday, July 1st.

Also on Monday, July 1st from 3:30-4:45 pm, the session Impacts of Climate Change on Health examines negative health outcomes associated with climate-related events including extreme heat and wildfires. Presentations cover increasing national trends in heat-related hospitalizations, adverse outcomes of extreme heat events among veterans with cardiometabolic disease, and medical utilization among individuals with chronic kidney disease during extreme heat events. One presentation examines the exposure to wildfire smoke as it relates to fertility, finding moderate decreases in fertility likely related to behavior change during wildfire events.

Please see the agenda at a glance here. Register to join us in Baltimore this June here

Committee Member, Member

Valerie Yeager, Dr.P.H., M.Phil.

Professor, Interim Chair of the Center for Health Policy - Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health

Dr. Valerie Yeager is a Professor and the interim Chair of the Center for Health Policy in the Department of H... Read Bio

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