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Minutes: Seventeenth Meeting: April 1, 2010


Status of the Healthy People 2020 Objectives

HHS is concurrently developing a relational database that will seamlessly link Healthy People 2020 objectives with Data 2020 and the Community Health Data Initiative. The information will be organized within an HHS data warehouse. The interface for the database and the redesigned Healthy People Web site will be developed through a user-centered design process involving a variety of stakeholders. Several offices within HHS are working to create the database. Major challenges to this project include funding, maintenance, and designing the database to be dynamic yet functional.

FIW’s Social Determinants of Health Subgroup

After identifying an interdisciplinary group of representatives to serve on the subgroup, which held its first meeting in March, HHS is recommending an incremental approach to developing objectives and related products for the social determinants of health topic area. Key areas for development for Healthy People 2020 are being prepared, but no actual objectives will be developed until after departmental clearance for the Healthy People 2020 launch.

HHS anticipates that a final set of objectives will be submitted for departmental clearance in June of 2010, and clearance revisions will be made this summer. The final Healthy People 2020 document will be submitted to the Secretary for approval. HHS is planning a December launch and a public call to action for stakeholders to implement Healthy People objectives. HHS is also planning to hold a National Healthy People Prevention Summit in the spring of 2012. Stakeholders will be convened to share their implementation efforts with others.

Guidance to FACA for the Coming Months

In the coming months, HHS is interested in receiving guidance from the Committee in two areas: 1) recommendations for implementation, and 2) identifying opportunities to leverage Healthy People to benefit the implementation of health reform.

III. Updates From the Subcommittees

Dr. Fielding noted that, since the last meeting in December 2009, several subcommittees have presented draft recommendations to the Committee for approval. He opened discussion of recent subcommittee activities.

Ad hoc Group on Social and Physical Environmental Determinants

Dr. Abby King, chair of the Ad Hoc Group on Social Determinants, explained that the group had met twice since December 2009. A draft report on the social determinants of health had been distributed to the Committee for review. The ad hoc group identified concrete examples that HHS could use to work across topic areas. Dr. King said that members would be willing to provide appropriate specific guidance to the FIW as needed, as well as implementation strategies for Healthy People 2020.

The ad hoc group presented five recommendations to the full Committee, including:

  1. Encourage and support the FIW’s role in operationalizing the cross-cutting elements of HP2020 that pertain to physical and social environments and extend beyond the health field and making it a priority to focus on social determinants that will impact multiple determinants of health;
  2. Identify and select specific measures that can be used to track processes and impacts related to initiatives to influence social determinants. Such tools should be applicable to both the population at-large, and subpopulations that experience health disparities;
  3. Provide practical and useful information collection tools related to these identified measures, where available; and examples of ways to synthesize the relevant data;
  4. Wherever possible, give specific examples for topic areas that demonstrate how programs and policies to affect SDOH can be implemented; and
  5. Evaluate recommendations and activities being undertaken by other nations in the social and environmental determinants arena.

Dr. Fielding commented that the first recommendation should specifically mention the National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Council and how it could serve as a vehicle for raising these issues and get consensus on opportunities. With regard to the second recommendation, since every group experiences some disparities, the statement should refer only to those groups that are subject to particular negative disparities. The third recommendation should reference the UCLA HIA-clic Web site ( 

David Siegel motioned to approve the recommendations of Ad Hoc Group on Social and Physical Environmental Determinants, with the changes incorporated, and Eva Moya seconded the motion. The recommendations of the Ad Hoc group were approved by a unanimous vote.

Subcommittee on Priorities

Abby King provided an update on the activities of the Subcommittee on Priorities. The subcommittee met three times between October 2009 and March 2010. The group’s overarching determination was that, given the sheer number of objectives, it would be necessary to give users the tools to prioritize them.

The subcommittee proposed a multilevel approach to priority-setting based on the following ideas: 1) public health priorities should be set by localities, states and at the national level; 2) processes used to set priorities should engage civic participation; and 3) HHS should identify national priorities for the coming decade.