Dr. Murthy’s Mission
Last week, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the new U.S. Surgeon General was officially sworn into office. In his speech to the ceremony attendees, Dr. Murthy described his mission for a stronger and healthier America. He discussed roadblocks to better population health such as a culture focused on treatment rather than prevention, the spread of incorrect health information and unhealthy behaviors that are entrenched in society and difficult to change. Addressing these issues, he said, is a shared responsibility requiring partnerships involving diverse interests and perspectives.
The Healthcare Leadership Council is proud to be a part of that partnership. In fact, one of the Surgeon General’s first public appearances in Washington, DC was at a forum HLC hosted on anti-obesity initiatives. At that forum, he joined with HLC member companies – Weight Watchers, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Health Care Service Corporation and the Cleveland Clinic – to discuss the steps that are being taken to help more Americans understand the importance of and how to achieve healthy body weight. Dr. Murthy spoke compellingly about the need to create a culture that encourages healthier lifestyles.
The good news is that important strides are being made in developing that culture. In communities throughout the country (note Oklahoma City’s collective million-pound loss spotlighted at the HLC anti-obesity event), we’re seeing successes in establishing improved health and well-being. Healthcare companies, including many of our HLC members, are taking innovative steps to incentivize better nutrition and exercise habits. Many of these success stories are detailed in our publication, The Future is Here: Transforming American Healthcare Through Private Sector Innovation.
The need for progress is great. As was mentioned several times at our recent event, the percentage of Americans classified as obese has nearly tripled since the 1960s. This is taking an enormous toll not only on our well-being as a society, but also on the economic sustainability of our healthcare systems. We need to learn from the successes that have been established, and then build on them. On that note, we’re certainly aligned with our new Surgeon General.