American Public Health Association
800 I Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001-3710
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For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact APHA Communications at (202) 777-2509 or email us.

Alarming cuts to public health programs outlined in White House sequestration report

Statement from Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), executive director of APHA

Washington, D.C., Sept.14, 2012 – "Critical programs that protect the public’s health face an 8.2 percent cut according to a report released today by the White House office of Management and Budget on the Sequestration Transparency Act, which explains how across-the-board cuts in defense and nondefense discretionary programs would be made when the measure takes effect in January 2013. Most mandatory programs, including the Prevention and Public Health Fund would be subject to cuts of 7.6 percent.


“The impact of the sequester cuts will reverberate across the entire public health sector and compromise our efforts to protect our nation’s health by slashing funding for food safety, environmental protection, immunization and family planning programs.


“Our current public health system is already a patchwork of services, programs and regulatory authorities that is neither designed for optimal performance nor funded for sustainability and success. At a time when budget shortfalls are forcing even tighter restraints, federal, state and local health departments are being asked to do more with less. The capacity for health professionals to prevent and respond to some of today’s pressing health challenges or provide basic public health and preventive services is in grave danger. We simply cannot afford these deep and painful cuts.


“These cuts signify a weak commitment on the part of our elected officials to assure the future health of our nation. Not only is it a misguided solution to deficit reduction, the sequester cuts could squander some of the recent advances we’ve made in chronic disease prevention, emergency preparedness and infectious disease control.  APHA strongly opposes these cuts and urges Congress to instead develop a bipartisan balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not make additional cuts to nondefense discretionary programs and instead prioritizes public health funding.”

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Founded in 1872, the APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. The association aims to protect all Americans and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States. APHA represents a broad array of health providers, educators, environmentalists, policy-makers and health officials at all levels working both within and outside governmental organizations and educational institutions. More information is available at