Celeste Monforton Suggests Additions to National Prevention Strategy

The Affordable Care Act signed into law in 2010 created a National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council and tasked it with designing a National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy. In December 2010, the Council released draft vision, goals, strategic directions, and recommendations and invited public comment on them. Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH submitted comments urging the addition of recommendations to more fully address opportunities for preventing occupational injuries and illnesses and promoting worker health.

Dr. Monforton suggested the addition of five recommendations under four of the draft Strategic Directions:

Strategic Direction 1: Healthy Physical, Social and Economic Environments:
Suggested Recommendation: Eliminate employment practices that force individuals to choose between their health and their livelihood, such as no right to refuse unsafe work, mandatory overtime, and extended work shifts.

Suggested Recommendation: Ensure that workplace health promotion activities include reducing exposures to agents and workplace factors that contribute to the development of chronic diseases including COPD, cancer and heart disease.

Strategic Direction 2: Eliminate Health Disparities:
Suggested Recommendation: Promote employment policies that provide a family life-work balance, a living wage, paid sick leave, and meaningful rights to refuse unsafe work.

Strategic Direction 9: Injury-Free Living:
Suggested Recommendation: Strengthen workplace policies to prevent injuries related to repetitive motion, lifting, awkward postures, and forceful exertions, as well as those related to hazardous chemicals, unguarded machinery and very long work hours.

Strategic Direction 10: Mental and Emotional Wellbeing:
Suggested Recommendation: Strengthen workplace policies that promote mental health, such as supervisor support, job security, employee influence and participation, voluntary overtime, and work-life balance; provide access to employee assistance programs and other mental health services at work.

Dr. Monforton’s complete comments, which include additional suggestions about rephrasing recommendations to include occupational health issues, can be found here.

National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council’s draft vision, goals, strategic directions, and recommendations
Celeste Monforton’s public comments on the draft
The Pump Handle blog post: Injury and illness prevention strategy can’t ignore working conditions