Global Health Issues in the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges
This presentation addresses some of the critical health issues facing our country and world today. With international trade, travel, and telecommunications, the world is shrinking, causing increased threats for the spread of infectious and chronic diseases. Blumenthal discusses the double jeopardy of infectious and chronic diseases faced by nations, the impact of technology, and advances from research. The talk underscores the importance of preparedness and prevention as cornerstones to meeting and defeating emerging health threats, such as obesity, pandemic flu, cancer and diabetes, to ensure a healthier future for ourselves and our world.
Critical Women’s Health Issues in the 21st Century
Today, the leading killer of women are chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes, and in the information age, health is very much a global issue. This presentation will address some of the critical health issues facing American women at the beginning of the 21st century. Women’s health across the life span will be discussed with important new cutting-edge information and the steps each one of us can take towards a healthier future.
The Future of Health in the 21st Century
Medical science is entering a golden age but the keys to life are not all locked in the laboratory. Technological progress is a critical element of but not a complete recipe for better health. This presentation will explore some of the new frontiers of medicine and science, underscore the power of prevention, address the impact of health care reform and the importance of medical research. Since many health concerns today such as a pandemic flu and AIDS are just a jet plane away, global health issues have significant humanitarian, economic, and national security implications for all of us. This talk will explore these topics and will conclude with a prescription for some simple steps we all can take towards a healthy future.
Winning the War Against Cancer: A Progress Report
Revolutionary scientific advances have sparked transformations in our understanding of the causes, treatment and prevention of cancer,. In the 21st century, we now stand on the verge of even greater discoveries. Knowledge about cancer has been dramatically expanded, the stigma has been shattered, and we now have an entire generation who call themselves cancer survivors. What breakthroughs will the next decade bring? Everyone in the world stands to benefit, as cancer does not respect state or national borders and is a global health concern with significant humanitarian, economic, and national security implications. This talk will explore these issues and will conclude with a prescription for some simple steps we all can take towards a healthier – cancer free – future
Healing our Ailing Health Care System
The suite of healthcare concerns – soaring medical costs, uninsured citizens, the need to protect against and respond to a pandemic flu, natural disasters, and possible bioterrorist threats, to emphasize preparedness and prevention, to strengthen health-related research, and to improve the delivery of and access to quality medical and public health services – are issues at the top of the new Administration’s agenda. These concerns also underscore why strong leadership in the White House and in the federal agencies on science, health, and technology is more important than ever. The US spends 2.6 trillion dollars on health care, twice as much as any other nation, yet ranks 49th on life expectancy and Americans get the right treatment only 55% of the time. This presentation will review provisions of the new health reform legislation and its strategies to ensure equity, efficiency and effectiveness in the US health care system. A prescription will also be provided for how to put “health” back into the health care system, suggesting some innovative health solutions that can be implemented to enhance economic prosperity, national security, and global health.
Pandemic Flu Preparedness: What You Need to Know
The recent outbreak of “H1N1 swine flu” in Mexico that quickly spread to the United States and to every continent around the world underscores the urgency of pandemic flu preparedness. Since 1997, medical experts have been warning that international travel, a weakened public health system, and antiquated vaccine production methods have made the prospect of an influenza pandemic a matter of when, not if.
In recent years, the “bird flu”–H5N1 strain of the influenza virus currently circulating in many countries has worried public health officials about its potential to develop into a deadly human virus. Already, the virus has “killed more birds than any in the history of the world,” humans do not have immunity, and unlike seasonal flu, strikes younger victims. However, it was a novel strain of flu –H1N1 or “the swine flu” that emerged in Mexico– that became the next human pandemic– infecting millions of people and resulting in thousands of deaths around the world. Although not as lethal as initially feared, it remains a possible threat to the health of people globally. One of the lessons learned from its emergence and spread and from other events like Hurricane Katrina is that the United States is not adequately prepared to deal with public health crises including severe natural disasters, bioterrorist attacks, or a possible pandemic flu.
This presentation discusses what is known about emerging disease threats such as H1N1 flu, what causes it to become a human pandemic, and what steps individuals, businesses, and the government can take to reduce risk as well as effectively respond to such challenges in the future.
More Speech Topics
Health Issues Facing the Nation and the World
REAR ADMIRAL SUSAN J. BLUMENTHAL, M.D., M.P.A.
First Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health
Former US Assistant Surgeon General
Clinical Professor, Tufts and Georgetown University Schools of Medicine
Senior Fellow in Health Policy and Director, Health Innovations Lab, New America
Rear Admiral Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.A. (ret.) provided distinguished service for more than two decades as a leading national U.S. government health expert and spokesperson in the Administrations of four U.S. Presidents. She was the country’s first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health, U.S. Assistant Surgeon General and Senior Global Health Advisor in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a White House Health Advisor, and the Chief of the Behavioral Medicine and Basic Prevention Research Branch Chief at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At the NIH, she also served as the Chair of the NIH Nutrition Coordinating Committee and as Chair of the NIH Health and Behavior Coordinating Committee. Dr. Blumenthal is an internationally recognized medical expert and leader who has been a major force in bringing important public health issues including women’s health, mental health, and global health to increased scientific and public attention. She has been at the forefront of national efforts to achieve effectiveness, efficiency and equity in the US health care system, to emphasize the power of disease, suicide and violence prevention, to reduce health disparities, and to advance multi-sector “health in all policies” solutions. An international leader in advancing global health, Admiral Blumenthal has been a major force in responding to emerging disease threats including HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, the chronic disease pandemic, and bioterrorism.
Dr. Blumenthal currently serves as a Clinical Professor at Tufts and Georgetown University Schools of Medicine and as a Senior Fellow in Health Policy at New America where she directs a Health Innovations Lab and oversees several projects focused on technology in the public interest. These include the WIC Digital Health Summit in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the SNAPtoHealth.org initiative that serves as a virtual Town Hall for information and dialogue on Federal Food Assistance Programs including SNAP and WIC. Dr. Blumenthal also serves as Senior Policy and Medical Advisor at amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research and as Public Health Editor of the Huffington Post. She has been the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Women's Studies at Brandeis University, the Elizabeth Blackwell Visiting Professor at the Mayo Clinic and a Fellow at Harvard University's School of Government.
As the first ever Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health, Dr. Blumenthal developed innovative national initiatives and coordinated a multi-billion dollar budget of research, services, education programs and activities across the US Department of Health and Human Services. Her accomplishments include developing a comprehensive national approach to women’s health and sex differences in disease that dramatically increased public and scientific attention to these issues and creating numerous public-private sector partnerships. Dr. Blumenthal established the National Centers of Excellence on Women’s Health program at academic centers across the country to serve as models for women’s health care nationwide, appointed regional women’s health coordinators, launched a Task Force on Women and AIDS, and created initiatives on nutrition, osteoporosis, obesity, physical activity, diabetes, and disease prevention that brought together federal agencies, private sector organizations and the media to respond to these public health issues. Admiral Blumenthal co-chaired a Presidential initiative on breast cancer and established the “Missiles to Mammograms” initiative that transferred CIA, DOD and NASA imaging technology to advance breast cancer detection. She also created the National Women’s Health Information Center that provides “one stop shopping” for health information on the internet (womenshealth.gov) and through a toll-free telephone number. Dr. Blumenthal was among the first in the government to use the Internet for health education, envisioning and establishing several award winning health websites. She has organized and chaired numerous national and international conferences, established many global health collaborations and chaired several Federal Coordinating Committees involving all Departments of the U.S. government.
Dr. Blumenthal has authored numerous scientific articles, edited books, and served as the health columnist for U.S. News and World Report and Elle magazines. She has represented the US government at numerous international commissions and conferences. Dr. Blumenthal was the host and Medical Director of an award winning 13 part television series on health. Named by the Medical Herald and the National Library of Medicine as one of the most influential and important women in medicine and by the New York Times as one of the top doctors in the women's health field, Admiral Blumenthal is the recipient of many awards, medals and honorary doctorates for her landmark contributions to improving health. She was named the Health Leader of the Year by the Commissioned Officers Association, as a Rock Star of Science by the Geoffrey Beene Foundation and decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal of the U.S. Public Health Service, its highest honor, “for distinguished and pioneering leadership, groundbreaking contributions and dedicated public service that has improved the health of women, our Nation, and the world.”