Public Health Nutrition: The New Normality of Life Without Public Health

Editorial: Say what? Public health leaders must improve their messaging on the pandemic!

On May 1, the International Association for Public Health Nutrition brought together more than 50 health leaders to discuss the current status of global Covid-19, the public health challenges that will continue for a number of months, and ways to address these issues. In a presentation entitled “A Brief History of Public Health Nutrition,” Alyssa K. Ross, PhD, MPH, Director of Nutrition for the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Promotion at Oregon State University, discussed the relationship between public health and public health nutrition.

Karen Breslin, PhD, Senior Director of the Rudd Center, also addressed the same topic, and spoke of the “great challenge of having to go back to our normal lives now” — and of the “enormous opportunity to think about the public’s health in such a way that puts more resources into community- and community-focused programs.”

Karen Breslin

The pandemic is different from normal. This particular pandemic is different from normal because it hits us very differently. The public has become so accustomed to “normal” that it can be frightening to consider the possibility of a new normality.

Karen Breslin

Our normal life is different now than it was just a few weeks ago. These new public health regulations are not so much new as they are a reflection of the new reality of life without public health.

In most Western nations, the public health agency is now largely the employer of the public. They are the largest employer, but most often they are the employer in name only. If we look at the health workforce in the United States, it is now the largest employer of nurses and the largest employer of social workers. They are the largest employer of physician assistants and the largest employer of public health veterinarians and food-safety inspectors.

Karen Breslin

These public health agencies are doing a fantastic job providing essential services to the public, but they are not doing it alone.

The government is not the only employer of food service workers, nor are they the only employer of grocery store workers, and so on.

Leave a Comment