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Contagious Conversations

Feb 19, 2020

Dr. Georges Benjamin is the executive director of the American Public Health Association, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of public health professionals. Dr. Benjamin also previously served as a secretary at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. For the last 20 years he has been actively practicing public health at the local, state and national level with expertise in the areas of emergency preparedness, administration and infectious diseases.

In this episode, Dr. Benjamin discusses our nation’s health and how public health has changed over time, he also shares insights on how disparities impact health, how data informs decisions, and how we can bring many diverse fuse together to tackle the most pressing health challenges of our time.

Key Takeaways:

[1:19] Dr. Benjamin shares how he started his professional career in public health.

[2:31] The American Public Health Association and its role in public health and how public health has changed over time.

[5:15] APHA brings diverse voices together to advocate for health issues.

[5:51] APHA priorities: Access to care;health equity; and building public health infrastructure.

[6:56] Resources and timing are everything to improve the health of the public.

[7:23] 80% of what makes you healthy happens outside the doctors office.

[9:20] Dr. Benjamin shares an example of how APHA has elevated the importance of the social determinants of health.

[10:57] Dr. Benjamin talks about how data impacts the creation of a healthier population from a chronic and infectious disease perspective as well as how it helps addressemerging health threats.

[14:22] The greatest needs at local and state health levels, and how they need to be tackled. 

[17:29] The significance of the government’s approval of funding for research on gun violence.

[20:36] What are the biggest needs in the public health profession from a human capital perspective?

[23:42] Public health is now popular as an undergraduate degree.

[25:05] Dr. Benjamin reflects on the opportunities to bring health and public health together in an effective way to improve health overall.

[28:15] Dr. Benjamin talks about how collaboration is making a difference in improving the field of public health and the health of people overall.

Mentioned in This Episode:

  • CDC Foundation
  • Answer this episode’s question: What does Public Health mean to you? Share your experience with us. Just email your answer to and you'll have the chance to win some CDC Foundation merchandise.
  • For more information about this episode go to Contagious Conversations.