Tough cuts to federal public health funding loom large for local communities across the country as Congress nears its deadline to pass a federal deficit reduction plan.

Under sequestration, across-the-board cuts to nearly all government agencies, public health would take a severe hit. Core public health programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration and other federal health agencies would be slashed by an estimated 8.2 percent. The Prevention and Public Health Fund would be cut by 7.6 percent or $76 million.

“Locally, budget cuts associated with sequestration would affect public health and social service programs for every segment of our population, and would have a devastating effect on the most vulnerable, writes Gillian Solem, an APHA member, in a letter to the editor that recently appeared in the Hudson Hub Times in Ohio.

“Program reductions include early intervention (birth through age 2) screenings and support services, child care assistance to low-income working families, HIV testing, HIV treatment services for the uninsured, breast and cervical cancer screenings for women between the ages of 40 and 64…”

According to a recent report (PDF) released by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, that outlines how sequestration will impact health programs, if sequestration takes effect,  federal public health spending will have been cut by 16 percent overall since 2010 .

APHA is actively engaging its advocates to educate their members of Congress on the impact of sequestration.  Lend your voice by sending a message to your senators and representative now urging them to find a bipartisan balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include devastating cuts to public health.