April 3, 2013
Contact: Lulu Todorov (215.825.8202 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

"Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money"

PHILADELPHIA – Every year in the United States, seven out of 10 deaths are due to preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.1 In fact, chronic diseases account for a whopping 75 percent of national health care spending, yet only 3 percent of our health care dollars go toward prevention.2

Here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, many residents are living with a costly and potentially life-threatening chronic illness. Today, in celebration of National Public Health Week (NPHW), Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) shared data from the Community Health Data Base that provides a snapshot of the health status of Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA). It showed that in the SEPA region, 12.4 percent of adults 18–64 years of age and 3.3 percent of children under 18 years of age are without health insurance coverage, 18.3 percent of adults smoke cigarettes, 12.5 percent are diagnosed with diabetes and 31.2 percent have high blood pressure.

PHMC CEO and President Richard J. Cohen, Ph.D., FACHE issued a call to action about the value of prevention to our lives, pocketbooks and futures. According to the American Public Health Association, research shows that investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts can save the nation more than $16 billion within five years. That's a $5.60 return for every $1 invested.3

"I am so proud of PHMC employees who are healthy role models for their communities and loved ones," said Cohen. "We all have a role to play in making our communities healthier places and we are excited to help lead the way. Many small preventive steps can add up and help transform a health care system focused on treatment to one that equally values prevention."

"Our nation and community simply cannot sustain the current trajectory of health care spending and chronic disease rates," Cohen continued. "Fortunately, we know that investing in prevention and public health can make an enormous difference."

He emphasized that supporting public health approaches to better health reaps life-saving returns. Research shows that each 10 percent increase in local public health spending has a huge impact on prevention, correlating to a nearly 7 percent decrease in infant deaths, a 3.2 percent decrease in cardiovascular deaths and a 1.4 percent decrease in diabetes-related deaths.4

NPHW was created by the American Public Health Association in 1995 as an annual celebration of the role of public health and prevention in our communities. Since then, communities nationwide have celebrated NPHW each April to draw attention to the need to help protect and improve the nation's health.

"National Public Health Week helps educate and engage Americans in the movement to create a healthier America for ourselves and the generations to come. The hundreds of events that take place this week help showcase the value of supporting prevention and the role that public health agencies, organizations and practitioners play in making prevention possible," said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E) Hon FRSPH, executive director of the American Public Health Association. "We all have a role to play in making America the healthiest nation in one generation. And it starts with each of us taking the simple preventive steps that lead to better health."

For more information about National Public Health Week, visit To learn more about public health efforts in Philadelphia, visit


1 Kung HC, Hoyert DL, Xu JQ, Murphy SL. Deaths: final data for 2005. National Vital Statistics Reports 2008; 56(10). Available from:

2 APHA. The Prevention and Public Health Fund: A critical investment in our nation's physical and fiscal health. June 2012. Available at:

3 Levi, J., et al. Prevention for a Healthier America: Investments in Disease Prevention Yield Significant Savings, Stronger Communities. Trust for America's Health. Feb. 2009.

4 APHA infographic available at:


About CHDB
Public Health Management Corporation's Community Health Data Base Household Health Survey is one of the largest regional health surveys in the country. The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, United Way of North Penn, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, North Penn Community Health Foundation, Thomas Scattergood Foundation, Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation, and over 350 local agencies from the health, government, nonprofit and academic sectors help to support CHDB. For more information, or to access key findings from previous years, visit

About PHMC
Public Health Management Corporation is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce. PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit