AFT Resolution

SUPPORT PUBLIC HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE

WHEREAS, public health is the essential practice of preventing illness and injury as well as promoting good communitywide health and well-being; and

WHEREAS, public health professionals work to prevent population-wide health problems through educational programs, policies, services, regulation of health systems, and research; and

WHEREAS, public health services include surveillance, epidemiology; the provision of healthcare services to students within schools allowing them to attend and learn in the general school environment, as well as to vulnerable and underserved populations such as uninsured pregnant women and infants. These essential services include and are not limited to immunizations, monitoring infectious diseases, cancer and asthma prevention, monitoring drinking water quality (like Flint, Mich.), injury prevention, childhood lead poisoning prevention; blood collection, emerging disease threat response (like Ebola, Zika, Elizabeth virus, etc.), environmental and occupational hazard control, and monitoring recreational water quality (like bacterial contaminants in pools); and

WHEREAS, public health services depend on a strong infrastructure that includes a capable and qualified workforce, up-to-date data and information systems and agencies capable of assessing and responding to public health needs. In 1999, in a report prepared for the Senate Appropriations Committee by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was stated that there continued to be insufficient funding by private and public sources of hospitals, laboratories, clinics, information networks, and other necessary elements to the provision of public health services; and

WHEREAS, the scope of public health crises is national/global, and funding to respond to these crises is “a patchwork of spending patterns, public vs. private sector implementation, and local laws that have nothing whatsoever to do with science or public health priorities”; and

WHEREAS, public health has been chronically underfunded at the federal, state, and local levels endangering critical public health needs; and

WHEREAS, a strong public health infrastructure is necessary to prepare for and respond to emergency and ongoing threats to the nation’s health, reductions or disinvestment in public health infrastructure have occurred with increasing frequency:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will advocate for increased funding of public health at the federal, state and local levels in order to sustain a strong public health infrastructure and guarantee vital and comprehensive services for underserved public health clients; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work to make legislators, the administration and other relevant government sectors aware of the vitally important work performed by public health professionals and hold federal, state and local governments accountable for adequately funding public health infrastructure; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will actively work with CDC and other government agencies in developing responsive public health programs for schools and communities and advocate for the programming that better equips the CDC and other government agencies to improve our preparedness with regard to emerging threats.

(2017)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.