By Craig Kennedy, President
Next year, the Coalition for Health Funding will celebrate its 50th Anniversary marking five decades of working together to protect and promote federal investment in the public health continuum. As the new President of the Coalition, I am proud to continue the work of Donna Meltzer, Don Hoppert and all our previous Coalition presidents to work with all of you to improve the health of people across the country.
Having now served on the Board for six years and a Coalition member for 20 years now, I have seen first-hand how this Coalition continues to grow and lead the national conversation about health funding. From our humble roots at the American Association of Medical Colleges, we have grown to more than 90 members representing over 100 million patients and consumers, health providers, professionals, and researchers.
Our signature educational events, including the Public Health Fair and Public Health 101 congressional briefing, have helped to educate hundreds of lawmakers and advocates across Capitol Hill about the role the federal government funding plays in protecting and improving Americans’ health. Our leadership of the NDD United campaign resulted in THREE deals to raise the austere budget caps, and we successfully advocated for emergency supplemental funding for public health crises such as Ebola and Zika. Further, we proactively educated our members and the public through thousands of daily “Member Updates,” hundreds of statements, and more one-pagers than we could count. If you don’t believe me, check out what we did in 2018 alone in our new Annual Report!
Still, our work is not done. Already this year we have experienced the longest shutdown in American history, and we are facing the return of austere budget caps, a debt ceiling debate, and numerous other health funding cliffs. The public health community must continue to speak with one voice in order to overcome these challenges together. Thus, it is my personal goal to grow this Coalition to more than 100 organizational members in order to further strengthen the voice of the Coalition, of public health, and our entire community in the upcoming funding debates.
This Coalition leads the way on the broad funding issues that affect federal funding for health programs. As we look ahead to the remainder of the 116th Congress, I believe that, due to the strength of the alliance among our members, the Coalition will to continue to be the leading voice for public health funding and I look forward to working with all of you to ensure the best is yet to come!
Thank you very much, and I am honored to serve you and the entire Coalition during my term in office.