Politicians should rethink about the primacy and importance of public health: Columbia scholars

May 30, 2020

Columbia scholars expressed their worries and suggestions on healthcare professionals in the US, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic under the accelerated globalization, at a webinar hosted by Columbia Global Centers | Beijing on May 30.

Dr. Susan Michaels-Strasser, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (in ICAP) at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, who is working on preparing enough health workforce to detect and respond to the Covid-19, expected more investment in the public health system. 

"In the United States, we have increased our investment in high-technology care, while at the same time decreasing our investment and appreciation of public health," she warned, "and COVID-19 has really taught us how important they both are."

More importantly, the epidemiologist appealed to rebuild the basis systems at community, city, and state levels, making it able to detect and respond to the COVID-19 rapidly.

From the outbreak in China's Wuhan and Italy, we can see how fast the virus was spreading, yet "our society was very slow to enact measures," said she. "I hope that politicians and decision-makers rethink about the absolute primacy and importance of public health."

Dr. David P. Roye Jr., Special Lecturer in Orthopaedic Surgery at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the founder of International Healthcare Leadership (IHL), talked about how badly the United States has done with a relatively robust health system. "We need to look into the interaction with public health and politics. That is a really important and critical area," he said. 

Both Michaels-Strasser and Roye were concerned with the public's short memory of this global crisis. "We need to double down on the public health education of medical providers," Roye said. According to him, public health education is to provide better support for implementation when the next calamity occurs.

This event, in partnership with China Primary Health Care Foundation, and International Healthcare Leadership (IHL), is part of the Beijing Center's Health and Medicine Series Program.