- Press Release Distribution

Public health researchers detail way forward post-pandemic

Colorado School of Public Health commentary focuses on seven steps for regaining public confidence

( AURORA, Colo. (July 9, 2024) – In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. public health system must focus on critical questions of accountability, politicization and updating data systems if it is to do its job well and maintain the trust of the American people, according to a new report from the Colorado School of Public Health.

The report, authored by Professor Jonathan Samet, MD, MS, of the Colorado School of Public Health and Professor Ross Brownson, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis, was published recently in the journal Health Affairs.

In it, the researchers detail the current shortcomings of the public health system, drawing on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of the future challenges it’s likely to face including climate change and retaining a well-educated, motivated workforce.

“As early as November 2020, we anticipated the need for `reimagining’ public health in light of the pandemic,” they wrote. “The past several years have made one thing clear: transformation of the U.S. public health system is needed, and needed now.”

After interviewing a wide range of public health officers from across the country, the researchers  focused on accountability, polarization, climate change, equity, data science, workforce improvement and communication to broader audiences.

“A transformed public health system will depend highly on leadership, funding incentives, and both bottom-up and top-down approaches,” said Samet, former dean of the Colorado School of Public Health. “A broad effort is needed by public health agencies, governments, and academia to accelerate the transition to a next phase for public health.”

One of the biggest challenges, he said, is politicization.

Trust in public health institutions eroded among many during the pandemic. People questioned vaccine mandates, social distancing, keeping kids out of school and the choices  as to which businesses could open and which must shut. Some political leaders attacked science and public health officials, leading to threats of violence. Many quit their jobs.

“By its name and what it does, public health is by nature political,” Samet said.

One solution may lay in using local leaders as messengers.

“A strategy using trusted local messengers, armed with the training and materials to educate communities on core public health issues, may also decrease the influence of polarization,” Samet and Brownson wrote. “Locally familiar voices are more likely to be effective than national-level or state-level messengers.”

Another critical shortcoming was the effective use of data.

“Tracking the epidemic at the local, state, and national levels through government data systems was inadequate, largely thanks to the lack of an integrated and timely national system for critical morbidity and mortality data,” Samet said.

He noted that in a time of `Big Data’ harvesting and the speed of Artificial Intelligence, some public health offices still work with pencil and paper.

“But we anticipate the growing use of AI for dealing with large quantities of surveillance data and for data synthesis and visualization,” the authors wrote. “AI will complement, but not replace, human data analysts, and there is still much to learn about its downsides when used in public health.”

As for looming public health threats, Samet said climate change was among the biggest. Higher temperatures mean less food production, more migration, increases in certain kinds of diseases, toxic smoke from wildfires and displacement from fire and flooding.

“Projections of the burden that climate change will pose to human health have been made with the objective of motivating mitigation, although they have gotten little traction,” the authors wrote.

Given the fragmented and limited authorities at the federal level and the local nature of climate-related health impacts, the public health system should play a major role in handling these issues, Samet said.

The Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) now offers a PhD in climate and human health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine offers a diploma in climate medicine, one of the first in the country to do so.

Change won’t be cheap nor fast but steady incremental change at the state and local level may be easier than waiting for federal action. During the pandemic, while Samet was dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, he won national prominence for modeling the path of the virus and by working closely with state agencies and the governor’s office to help set health policy.

“Creative partnerships can magnify impacts,” he said. “One promising approach is the academic health department, in which an academic institution partners with a governmental public health agency. These relationships can build workforce capacity, enhance the use of evidence-based interventions, share resources, and provide surge capacity during epidemics.”

Colorado School of Public Health Dean Cathy Bradley, PhD, said she was pleased to see the school’s faculty and staff working with national and international partners to shape the future of public health education and research.

“ColoradoSPH is committed to addressing many of the pressing issues detailed in the Health Affairs series Reimagining Public Health, and our team is strengthening the school’s role as an indispensable public health thought-leader in Colorado and across the globe,” she said.

About the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is a world-class medical destination at the forefront of transformative science, medicine, education and patient care. The campus encompasses the University of Colorado health professional schools, more than 60 centers and institutes, and two nationally ranked independent hospitals - UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital and Children's Hospital Colorado - that treat more than two million adult and pediatric patients each year. Innovative, interconnected and highly collaborative, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus delivers life-changing treatments, patient care and professional training and conducts world-renowned research fueled by over $705 million in research grants. For more information, visit








Improving 'health span' through slowing age-related cognitive decline

Improving health span through slowing age-related cognitive decline
Two University of Oklahoma researchers have been awarded more than $2 million in grants from the Hevolution Foundation to further their studies on age-related cognitive impairment, with an emphasis on improving “health span,” or the number of years a person remains healthy. While modern medicine can help extend a person’s life span, researchers are increasingly studying ways to increase their healthy years of life. Because the process of aging increases the risk for memory problems and dementia, researchers must understand why as a first step toward delaying cognitive issues until later in life. The Hevolution Foundation ...

Globally significant upwelling is driven by topographical features on seafloor

Irvine, Calif., July 9, 2024 – Exactly how the turbulent mixing of ocean water relates to global overturning circulation has been little understood by oceanographers, but an international research team, including an Earth system scientist at the University of California, Irvine, has found that bumpy topographical features along the sloping ocean floor contribute significantly to ocean seawater upwelling.   In a paper published recently in Nature, the researchers describe a “vigorous near-bottom upwelling” that results in the upward transition of water from denser to lighter ocean layers at a rate ...

Dolls and trucks: Political right and left share some parenting beliefs

Key takeaways Virtually all study respondents on the political left and more than 75% on the right supported allowing children to play with both traditionally “girl” and “boy” toys. Those on both sides of the political spectrum also supported the idea that girls should be able to aspire to traditionally male pursuits. However, while most left-wing activists supported the idea of a child living in a way that does not align with their birth sex, most right-wing activists rejected the idea. Society appears deeply divided on how to parent with regard to gender. For example, some parents throw “gender reveal” ...

Delaying diabetes with diet and exercise for 4 years results in better long-term health

Delaying diabetes with diet and exercise for 4 years results in better long-term health
Individuals diagnosed with prediabetes can reduce their long-term risk of death and diabetes-related health complications if they delay the onset of diabetes for just four years through diet and exercise. Guangwei Li of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital and colleagues report these findings in a new study published July 9th in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine. Type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of death and disability, and imposes a significant economic burden on individuals and societies worldwide. Lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and getting more exercise, can delay or reduce the risk of developing diabetes in people ...

Global database reveals large gaps in our knowledge of four-footed animals

Global database reveals large gaps in our knowledge of four-footed animals
Researchers developed TetrapodTraits – a global database of animals with four feet – which can now be applied for better ecology, evolution and conservation research. Mario Moura of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil, and Walter Jetz of Yale University, US, published this work on July 9th in the open-access journal PLOS Biology. Tetrapods, which include amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, are generally well-documented species, which makes them useful as models in global biodiversity studies. However, gaps in our knowledge about many of these species, data inconsistencies and shifting scientific names can lead to biased conclusions about biodiversity. To help ...

Regorafenib synergizes with TAS102 against multiple gastrointestinal cancers

Regorafenib synergizes with TAS102 against multiple gastrointestinal cancers
“In this study, we investigated the therapeutic effects and the underlying mechanisms of TAS-102 in combination with regorafenib against gastrointestinal cancers.” BUFFALO, NY- July 9, 2024 – A new research paper was published in Oncotarget's Volume 15 on July 2, 2024, entitled, “Regorafenib synergizes with TAS102 against multiple gastrointestinal cancers and overcomes cancer stemness, trifluridine-induced angiogenesis, ERK1/2 and STAT3 signaling regardless of KRAS or BRAF mutational status.” Single-agent TAS102 (trifluridine/tipiracil) and regorafenib ...

Stem cell-derived therapy shows promise against treatment-resistant liver cancer

Researchers at University of California San Diego have found that the most common form of liver cancer — one with a high mortality rate — can be better targeted and treated using an innovative new stem cell-derived therapy, according to a recently published study in Cell Stem Cell. The treatment, not yet studied in patients, involves the lab engineering of natural killer (NK) cells — white blood cells that destroy tumor cells — to more effectively battle hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most treatment-resistant types of solid tumor. Genetically modified NK-cell therapy doesn't require ...

Innovations in polyphenols research: Highlights from the upcoming 17th Annual 2024 World Congress in Milan

Innovations in polyphenols research: Highlights from the upcoming 17th Annual 2024 World Congress in Milan
The 17th World Congress on Polyphenols Applications, taking place on September 19-20, 2024, at Università degli Studi di Milano Statale in Milan, Italy, will gather more than 140 attendees coming from 30+ countries. More than 20 international speakers will cover the latest advances in polyphenols research and their practical applications. Key Topics Polyphenols Applications 2024 will cover a wide range of topics, including the challenges in demonstrating the health benefits of polyphenols, the ...

Groundbreaking study reveals oceanic seabirds chase tropical cyclones

Groundbreaking study reveals oceanic seabirds chase tropical cyclones
A new study published today in Current Biology, "Oceanic Seabirds Chase Tropical Cyclones," reveals that the rare Desertas Petrels (Pterodroma deserta), a wide-ranging seabird in the North Atlantic, exhibit unique foraging behaviors during hurricane season. Contrary to other pelagic seabirds, these petrels do not avoid intense tropical cyclones but instead exploit the dynamic conditions for their benefit, providing new insights into the impact of cyclones on open ocean marine life. "Initial studies suggested that seabirds either circumnavigate cyclones or seek refuge in the calm eye of the storm. However, the Desertas Petrels we tracked did neither; instead, one-third of ...

Study examines tree adaptability to climate change

Study examines tree adaptability to climate change
During his recent yearlong sabbatical, Daniel Laughlin led a study that found trees can sustain life in temperatures higher or lower than where they are currently growing. While tree species appear to prefer distinct climatic conditions, the true nature of these preferences is obscured by species interactions and dispersal, which limit tree species’ ranges. “We were amazed. The result was crystal clear, and that doesn’t always happen in ecology,” says Laughlin, a professor in the University of Wyoming Department of Botany. “We found that tree species could grow and survive at one common moderate temperature, even though many ...


The research was wrong: study shows moderate drinking won’t lengthen your life

Save your data on printable magnetic devices? New laser technique’s twist might make this reality

Early onset dementia more common than previously reported – the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease seems to be on the rise

Pesticides potentially as bad as smoking for increased risk in certain cancers

NUS researchers develop new battery-free technology to power electronic devices using ambient radiofrequency signals

New protein discovery may influence future cancer treatment

Timing matters: Scripps Research study shows ways to improve health alerts

New gene therapy approach shows promise for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Chemical analyses find hidden elements from renaissance astronomer Tycho Brahe’s alchemy laboratory

Pacific Northwest launches clean hydrogen energy hub

Tiny deletion in heart muscle protein briefly affects embryonic ventricles but has long-term effects on adult atrial fibrillation

Harms of prescribing NSAIDs to high risk groups estimated to cost NHS £31m over 10 years

Wearing a face mask in public spaces cuts risk of common respiratory symptoms, suggests Norway study

Some private biobanks overinflating the value of umbilical cord blood banking in marketing to expectant parents

New research in fatty liver disease aims to help with early intervention

Genetics reveal ancient trade routes and path to domestication of the Four Corners potato

SNIS 2024: New study shows critical improvements in treating rare eye cancer in children

Wearable devices can increase health anxiety. Could they adversely affect health?

Addressing wounds of war

Rice researchers develop innovative battery recycling method

It’s got praying mantis eyes

Stroke recovery: It’s in the genes

Foam fluidics showcase Rice lab’s creative approach to circuit design

Montana State scientists publish evidence for new groups of methane-producing organisms

Daily rhythms depend on receptor density in biological clock

New England Journal of Medicine publishes outcomes from practice-changing E1910 trial for patients with BCR::ABL1-negative B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Older adults want to cut back on medication, but study shows need for caution

Nationwide flood models poorly capture risks to households and properties

Does your body composition affect your risk of dementia or Parkinson’s?

Researchers discover faster, more energy-efficient way to manufacture an industrially important chemical

[] Public health researchers detail way forward post-pandemic
Colorado School of Public Health commentary focuses on seven steps for regaining public confidence