Dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health Ellen J. MacKenzie was appointed to Commonwealth Fund Commission on a National Public Health System a new nonpartisan commission that will identify key steps to strengthen America’s public health infrastructure at the federal, state and local levels.
MacKenzie is one of seven commissioners nationally recognized for their thought leadership and experience in public health, but who currently hold no government position. Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement Joshua Sharfsteinwill be part of the team leading the commission.
Commissioners and staff will review evidence and reports from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, engage with experts and public health officials, and develop a report to be released later this spring with specific policy recommendations for all levels of government.
“The nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep weaknesses and disorganization in America’s public health system,” said David Blumenthal, chairman of the Commonwealth Fund. “The commission has an opportunity to learn from the highly decentralized approach to public health that has hampered the response to the pandemic and articulate a vision that supports health and equity – improving everyday health and strengthen preparedness for future crises.”
The nonpartisan commission will be chaired by Margaret Hamburg, former commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, former assistant secretary of health and human services for planning and evaluation and former commissioner of health and New York City Mental Hygiene. Hamburg also sits on the board of the Commonwealth Fund and as acting vice president for global biological policy and programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
“Our goal is to guide decision-makers toward a stronger, more effective public health system in the United States,” Hamburg said. “At stake is the nation’s success in preventing disease and saving lives, in the face of current and future challenges.”
MacKenzie’s other commissioners are Mandy Cohen, former secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services; Karen DeSalvo, Chief Health Officer, Google; Joneigh Khaldun, vice president and chief equity officer, CVS Health; David Lakey, vice chancellor for health affairs and chief system physician at the University of Texas, and professor of medicine at the University of Texas at the Tyler Health Science Center; Herminia Palacio, President and CEO, Guttmacher Institute; and Nirav Shah, Principal Investigator, Department of Medicine, Stanford University.
Sharfstein will be part of the project team alongside Jeffrey Levi, professor of health management and policy at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health; Nicole Lurie, former assistant secretary for preparedness and response, US Department of Health and Human Services; and Anne Morris Reid, former Deputy Chief of Staff, US Department of Health and Human Services.