IOM report subtext: Chronic diseases are here to stay so let's make the best of it

In January, the Institute of Medicine released the report Living Well with Chronic Illness: A Call for Public Health Action.  The report may strike some prevention zealots as a call to surrender in the battle to prevent chronic conditions.  However, the report reminds us that interventions that prevent chronic conditions are very similar to interventions that reduce the risk of chronic disease complications.  

"The [report] committee constructed an integrated framework built on a single guiding principle: that the aim of addressing the physical, social, and psychological toll of chronic illness is to help each affected person, and the population as a whole, to live well, regardless of the chronic illness in question or an individual’s own current state of health."

The report presents strategies for local, state, and federal public health organizations to consider as the nation's major health threat drifts away from communicable diseases toward chronic diseases.  While physicians were at the center of communicable disease surveillance, treatment, and control, a different set of skills and competencies are needed to design interventions that suit the progressive nature of chronic conditions and to work effectively with multiple sectors that influence health.  The report should open a discussion concerning building connecting strucutures between primary care and public health in order to design and deploy interventions that support healthy eating and active living.









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