Dr benjamin at policy action instituteThis post was written by APHA communications intern, Ayan Warfa.

APHA will discuss the outlook for public health priorities and action with leaders in the field at the Policy Action Institute today in Washington, D.C.

Public Health Under Siege: Improving Policy in Turbulent Times, a daylong event held in conjunction with Academy Health’s National Health Policy Conference, will feature remarks from elected officials, policy experts and public health leaders offering insight on some of the most important public health policy challenges facing our country.

As we enter the 116th Congress, the future of public health weighs in the balance. Climate change and gun violence continue to impact the health of millions. Health reform, health care access, immigration and other ongoing debates could be decided under this Congress’ leadership.

One steadfast supporter of public health, Nancy Pelosi, first female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, will deliver a keynote at today’s event. Pelosi played an important role spearheading the Affordable Care Act’s movement from bill into law. This congressional session, Pelosi has announced her intentions to make major reforms to protect and promote health.

At the Policy Action Institute, Pelosi will be joined by U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, former U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman, former Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, and President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Leana Wen, among others.

Sessions will offer insight into policies that work, opportunities to understand policy priorities from public health leaders, and solutions to creating nonpartisan approaches that can ultimately improve community health and create the healthiest nation in one generation.

“As we enter 2019 and the 116th Congress begins its work, the public health community faces extraordinary challenges,” said Susan Polan, associate executive director for public affairs and advocacy at APHA. “Now is the time to redouble our efforts to improve community health. This event will equip public health professionals with the right tools at the right time.”

The first panel session will discuss using policy as a tool for community health improvement and will be led by Giroir. Another panel session will discuss violence as a public health issue with former governor of Connecticut Dannel Malloy.

Later in the afternoon, Wen will have a fireside chat with Steve Clemmons of The Atlantic. Wen will be followed by Waxman, who will lead a discussion on the role of regulatory policy as a social determinant tool.

Follow today’s Policy Action Institute speakers and conversations on Twitter with #SpeakForHealth.