How Healthcare Associations Make Their Mark
Reducing preterm births; boosting the U.S. flu vaccination rate to 100 percent; more med students pursue family medicine; lower-cost insulin; a longer life expectancy.
Healthy Moms and Babies
Healthcare • March of Dimes
The March of Dimes, which began in 1938 as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, had the good fortune to achieve its initial mission—curing polio—within two decades of forming.
The March of Dimes has since pivoted its mission to decreasing preterm births. While polio was a single problem with a single solution, preterm births have numerous causes and require multifaceted solutions.
“You cannot expect a healthy baby without a healthy mom,” says Dr. Rahul Gupta, March of Dimes’ chief medical and health officer. “We are not going to have a vaccine for infant and maternal health. Today, we have complex problems, and they require complex solutions.”
March of Dimes solutions include researching causes and preventions of preterm births and developing community- based interventions to improve maternal health. If the group succeeds, preterm births—and their associated long-term cognitive and developmental impacts—will be greatly reduced. — Rasheeda Childress
Total Flu Vaccination
Healthcare • National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Despite vaccination against influenza being recommended for every person older than six months, the U.S. has low vaccination rates. In a typical flu season, up to 20 percent of the U.S. population is affected by the flu, including tens of thousands who die of the disease.
The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases is working with partner organizations to increase vaccination education and outreach so it can increase the U.S. vaccination rate to 100 percent.
Marla Dalton, CAE, CEO and executive director of NFID, says the goal is the “near eradication of this serious, once common disease.” — Rasheeda Childress
More Family Doctors
Healthcare • American Academy of Family Physicians
A shortage of more than 52,000 primary care physicians is predicted by 2025. However, experts recognize that a robust family medicine workforce is critical to ensure patients everywhere have appropriate, effective, and accessible care for generations to come.
To help make that happen, in 2018 the American Academy of Family Physicians launched its America Needs More Family Doctors: 25×2030 Collaborative. Its goal: to ensure that, by 2030, 25 percent of U.S. medical students pursue family medicine as their specialty.
But with only 12 percent of medical students currently selecting family medicine, AAFP admits it’s an uphill climb. “If we’re going to accomplish this, we need to achieve an absolute increase of 1 to 2 percent in family medicine recruits per year,” says Clif Knight, M.D., AAFP’s senior vice president for education. “Only with that kind of incremental increase will we achieve our goal.” — Samantha Whitehorne
(Francesco Carta fotografo/Getty Images)
Healthcare • American Diabetes Association
Nearly 7 million Americans who rely on life-sustaining insulin received good news this year when the Food and Drug Administration announced it will move insulin to the biologic regulatory framework, which paves the way for biosimilar and interchangeable insulins. The American Diabetes Association advocated for the move, which it says will help drive down prices for insulin in the long term.
“The fight for affordable insulin isn’t over yet, but we are excited to see positive momentum to address this crisis,” says LaShawn McIver, M.D., MPH, senior vice president of government affairs and advocacy at ADA. — Lisa Boylan
Longer, Healthier Lives
Healthcare • American Heart Association
In recent decades, healthy life expectancy was increasing, thanks to better disease prevention and control, advances in medical treatment, and improved lifestyle behaviors. Recently, however, there has been a leveling off, and in some cases, even a reversal in this trend.
That’s where the American Heart Association’s 2030 Impact Goals come in: Partnering with local, national, and global collaborators, AHA is working to equitably increase healthy life expectancy from 66 to at least 68 years in the United States and from 64 to at least 67 years worldwide by 2030. — Samantha Whitehorne
The March of Dimes has worked to decrease preterm births. (Anna Kraynova/EyeEm/Getty Images)