Poss Amer Press release broad 11 by HC120913021435


									                                               December 22, 2001
Press Release Draft 1
The Possible Human: America’s Approach
(Please respond to Mehmet Oz at mco2@columbia.edu)

Did you know that:

   -   Costa Rica has 10% of the US earning power, but achieves a similar expectancy

   -   Lifestyle habits that produce health are formed before adulthood

   -   59% of Americans are overweight or obese

   -   Obesity is a more important predictor of chronic ailments and worker quality of

       life than any other public scourge, accounting for 68% of all illnesses

The moat of rhetoric that frequently inhibits collaboration between the private and public
sectors has been bridged by a monograph to be released at this year’s annual meeting of
the World Economic Forum, (WEF) held for the first time in New York City. Created
through a collaboration between the WEF’s Global Leaders of Tomorrow, the Scottish
Council Foundation, and the Columbia University Alliance of Medical, Public Health,
and Business Schools, the “Possible Human” proposes that,

“Health is a scarce economic resource that should be nurtured. Healthy people not only
make fewer demands upon the health and social care systems, they are also more
productive. Investment for health is not a cost, but rather an investment in economic and
social prosperity.”

Since a country’s virtues are often also its vices, the blueprint for building and sustaining
healthy societies will vary widely across the globe. For example, despite economic
growth and prosperity, Americans fail to reach their full health potential. In fact, U.S.
businesses incur three times as many costs due to productivity losses from illness as they
spend on health benefits. The passion for individual autonomy has lead to remarkable
success in building wealth, but has also created barriers to collaborative approaches to
health improvement and allowed Americans to lead the world in many of the diseases of
modern life.

The “Possible Human: America’s Approach” outlines specific arguments for a more
holistic approach to the private and public sector’s grappling with health issues. Although
health itself cannot be guaranteed, the opportunity to reach one’s potential should become
the birthright of all. The three underpinning propositions to realize the potential of all
Americans are:

   Comprehensively defining and thinking about health

The health system in the United States is based predominantly on a biomedical model of
health that focuses primarily on research and medical care related directly to eliminating
disease in an individual. An approach to health focused on a holistic and interdisciplinary
model, one that emphasizes a positive approach to well being is central to the
achievement of a truly healthy American.

   A new holistic approach to government

The current health paradigm encourages a fragmented approach to health. Rather than
generating a synergistic benefit for the health of the population, fragmented policies
diminish the potential health improvements possible from a more systemic approach.
Effective health policies require feedback and interaction between the various agencies
and levels of government.

   Enhanced involvement of Possible Americans in deciding their own futures

Today people are included in policy decisions almost as an afterthought. Yet having
autonomy and a sense of control in one’s life is important for health, so involving people
in the decision making process to create a more responsive political system will in itself
improve health.

Many of the concept advocated by the monograph were generated through the Verona
Initiative series of World Health Organization meetings and innovative leaders of
sponsoring companies, thus reflecting the value of private public collaboration and
innovation in solving the world’s health challenges. The interdisciplinary model proposed
in the Possible Human monograph addresses the missed opportunity present in the
current system and represents the full potential of humans to achieve a better society. The
major four sponsoring organizations that created the series are:

Scottish Council Foundation
This Edinburgh-based policy institute promotes independent thinking in public policy and
produced a similar Scottish version of this monograph in 1998. The Foundation has been
successfully working with government agencies, business and the general public since
then to implement this approach in Scotland. Further relevant publications are Promise
and Practice - will government policy improve our health? and The Possible Scotland (in
press), which captures views of ordinary Scots about their vision for the future. The
work also links into the Foundation's International Futures Forum which is generating
innovative thinking and practice for the 21st Century.
        Contact: Dr. Margaret Hannah, MB, BChir, MFPHM

World Economic Forum and Global Leader’s of Tomorrow (GLT)
        The World Economic Forum is an independent and impartial organization
committed to improving the state of the world. It serves its members and society by
creating the foremost global partnership of business, political, intellectual and other
leaders of society to define and discuss key issues on the global agenda. The GLT
network represents the new generation of global decision-makers from business,
government, politics and civil society that have demonstrated responsible leadership vis-
à-vis society, environment and socially responsible business.
        In line with the Forum’s commitment to improve the state of the world, the
Global Leaders for Tomorrow initiative was formed in 1992 to provide an informal,
efficient framework for an ongoing exchange of opinions on strategic issues of concern to
the younger generation of decision-makers. The uniqueness of the GLT network ensures
that key challenges are addressed in an integrated and interdisciplinary way, drawing on
the diversity, creativity and dynamic of the GLT network. The GLT initiatives are
integrated into the programmes of the World Economic Forum, providing the Foundation
and its members with in-depth knowledge of some of the key issues our society is facing
and by discussing these issues with the new generation of leaders, the GLTs.
        Contact: Charles McLean (Charles.mclean@weforum.org)
        Mehmet Oz, MD (mco2@columbia.edu)

Columbia Alliance
        This multidisciplinary health care management research and education centre is a
Partnership around the three founding schools (Business, Medicine, and Public Health)
working in conjunction with an industry advisory group drawn from across the health
care sector. The partnership supports multidisciplinary research that
(1) results in new conceptual frameworks, tools and insights that will inform the critical
    decisions facing senior health care managers and policy-makers, and
(2) provides the full spectrum of knowledge and skills needed to prepare students to
    become effective leaders, builders, managers and analysts in an increasingly complex
        Contact Sherry Glied, PhD (sag1@columbia.edu)

Foundation for the Advancement of Cardiac Therapies
       FACT is an independent 501c3 foundation whose mission is to proactively
evaluate, research, and treat heart disease by capitalising essential medical therapies and
leveraging public policy opportunities.
       Contact Debbie Kennedy, PhD. (nutritionoptions@yahoo.com)
       CC: Deb Kennedy, Peter Cornerius, Waya Quiver, Margaret Hannah, Graham
Leicester, Sherry Glied, Deb McGregor, Erio Ziglio, Ken Thompson, Steven Klimczuk,
Will Marshall, Chris Stout, Simon Best, Tim Shriver, John Manzoni, Myles Druckman,

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