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Prevention First

Policymaking for a Healthier America

In Prevention First, Dr. Anand K. Parekh, chief medical advisor of the Bipartisan Policy Center, argues that disease prevention must be our nation's top health policy priority. Building a personal culture of prevention, he writes, is not enough; elected officials and policymakers must play a greater role in reducing preventable deaths. Drawing on his experiences as a clinician, public servant, and policy advisor, Dr. Parekh provides examples of prevention in action from across the country, giving readers a view into why prevention-first policies are important and how they can be accomplished. Throughout the book, he demonstrates that, in order to optimize health in America, we must leverage health insurance programs to promote disease prevention, expand primary care, attend to the social determinants of health, support making the healthier choice the easy choice for individuals, and increase public health investments.

Describing the areas of common ground to be found in public health and prevention, even between the entrenched sides in the healthcare policy debate, Dr. Parekh establishes a foundation on which healthcare policy makers and advocates can build. Providing concrete steps that federal policymakers should take to promote prevention both within and outside our healthcare sector, Prevention First not only sounds the alarm about the terrible consequences of preventable disease but serves as a rallying cry that we can and must do better in this country to reduce preventable deaths.

About the Authors

Anand K. Parekh, MD, MPH, a board-certified internal medicine physician, is the chief medical advisor at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Previously, he completed a decade of service at the US Department of Health and Human Services. As a deputy assistant secretary for health from 2008 to 2015, he developed and implemented national initiatives focused on prevention, wellness, and care management.

Endorsements

"Dr. Parekh's book is a reminder that we have a shared responsibility to improve the health status of all Americans. Generations from now, people will look back upon this time and ask why we didn't do more to cover the uninsured, control healthcare costs, improve healthcare quality, and reduce disparities. Those will be valid questions. But the question that we should be most concerned with is why we allowed hundreds of thousands of potentially preventable deaths in America each year. Prevention First is an apt title for a critical and timely message that resonates with all of us in search of better health."

- Senator Tom Daschle and Senator Bill Frist, MD, from the Foreword

"Comprehensive and cutting-edge, Dr. Parekh's book is deeply compelling for its rich humanity, sense of history, and thoughtful vision for the future. It makes the power of prevention come alive for our nation and the world."

- Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health / The Harvard Kennedy School

"Parekh offers a thoughtful, comprehensive analysis of the reasons, both inside and outside our current healthcare system, for our collective failure to embrace prevention, as well as a practical prescription to create a culture of prevention. If you strive to improve the health of our nation, read it. You won't be disappointed."

- Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, President Emerita, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

"Prevention First is a must read for policymakers and healthcare leaders looking to empower individuals and support communities to attain better health."

- Mike Leavitt, Former Governor of Utah / Co-Founder, Leavitt Partners

"Prevention can no longer be an afterthought in our discussion of public policies involving healthcare reform. Dr. Parekh's book is an excellent primer on why we need to change our thinking on medicine and prevention strategies."

- Dan Glickman, Former United States Secretary of Agriculture

"Without a renewed focus on prevention and public health, we will not fully meet the goal of improving the health of America's population. As a policymaker and an advocate, I hope we listen to Dr. Parekh."

- Allyson Y. Schwartz, Former Member of Congress / current health expert and advocate for quality, affordability, and value in Medicare

"Benjamin Franklin so famously stated, 'An Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure.' Prevention First makes a compelling case that health promotion and disease prevention is a best buy and a wise investment for policy makers."

- Georges C. Benjamin, MD, American Public Health Association

"Dr. Parekh's lucid examination of some of the pressing issues that drive cost and accessibility to modern healthcare is a cogent reminder that a little well-placed prevention avoids the need for large scale cure(s). From infectious disease to diseases bourn of habit and systematic inequalities, Prevention First provides a compelling argument for support of population health research and evidence-based public health policy."

- Martin A. Philbert, Dean Emeritus, University of Michigan School of Public Health

"At a time in the United States when high-tech and high-cost reactive care is the norm, Dr. Parekh beautifully articulates why and how citizens, clinicians, investigators, employers, communities, and government should and can embrace prevention as a national imperative. Our health and our economic viability mandate it."

- Charles Wiener, MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

"Dr. Parekh's book is a must read for policymakers who are looking for a thoughtful playbook of opportunities to improve the public's health."

- Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, Former United States Acting Assistant Secretary for Health

"Dr. Parekh provides a powerful compelling argument for prevention in his new book. Written by someone who has spent his entire career analyzing and implementing solutions, it is a must read for anyone looking to understand the path to meaningful healthcare reform."

- John Agwunobi, MD, President / Chief Health and Nutrition Officer, Herbalife Nutrition
Johns Hopkins University Press
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