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United, We Stand…

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Tekisha King
May 16, 2020

As we reflect on the new “normal” of society caused by the novel 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there are many steps we can take to fortify the public health sector. First, the 2019 Public Health Code of Ethics published by the American Public Health Association since 2002, re-evaluated and re-emphasized the public health commitments to ethical practice and public service prioritized on the social determinants for health. Adoption of standardized professional expectations was intended to influence public health practitioners and institutions with positive ethical actions and obligations necessitated to working with the public. In addition, APHA established a set of uniformed public health core values:

  1. Professionalism and Trust
  2. Health and Safety
  3. Health justice and equity
  4. Interdependence and solidarity
  5. Human rights and civil liberties
  6. Inclusivity and engagement

Henceforth, this is a visionary approach to mature the efficacy and competence of public health workforce heroes.

Core Values: Professionalism and Trust

The public health and healthcare sectors are central to overcoming the challenges with public health with emerging infectious diseases, bioterrorism, health problems, mental and behavior disorders and more. Simultaneously, the costs associated with quality care and the delivery of positive health outcomes demands financial improvements with intellectual capital, technology, continuous training and quality improvement programs for public health leaders. First, effective collaboration amongst public health leaders at all levels of government agencies involvement with the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States embarks on a trajectory to raise the bar with emergency planning. Additionally, investments in intellectual capital and technology is vital for multiple channels of communication during unforeseen events. Lastly, immediate implementation of blended-learning cross training initiatives in virtual and field environments support achievement of developing a practical understanding of population health management. Hence, amalgamate public health and health professional leaders to surmount public health challenges by strengthening the workforce.

Core Values: Health and Safety; Health Justice and Equity

Although my comprehensive work experience encompassed numerous sectors in healthcare, my recent theoretical experience has allowed the opportunity to inspire the public workforce from a modernized perspective. Traditionally, public health professionals functioned with standardized skills and competencies beneficial to public health but obsolete to employee satisfaction, flexibility and retention of future visionary leaders. Also, leadership disparities still exist not conducive to the Public Health Code of Ethics despite the distinctive culturally diverse experience amongst current and prospective public health leaders. For instance, equitable pay is prejudiced through many discriminatory factors inexcusable to unbiased public health challenges afflicted on public health leaders. Also, remote work opportunities remain archaic notwithstanding the rapid advancements with technology assured to improve employee satisfactions to balance other obligations—i.e. family, caregiving or educational endeavors and job performance. Therefore, in preparation of the next pandemic or epidemic commences now, with steps to capitalize intellectual capital with technology, amplify training and development ingenuities, and execute quality improvement programs.

Core Value: Interdependence and Solidarity

In the 21st century, we must embrace the incorporation of governance at all levels in the public health sector to exploit current challenges with surveillance systems, public health policies and mandated laws impeding progression to build a robust public health workforce. Lack of ineffective collaborative communication, understanding designated profession responsibilities and timorous behaviors will prolong the positive perfections constructed thus far. For example, interoperability with electronic medical records still poses an essential issue with the exchange of health data between health entities. Secondly, customized surveillance systems implemented for identical health information from various providers are misconstrued despite similar health policies. Are we at war to gain a competitive edge in public health or are we fostering a unified public health system?

Core Value: Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Regardless of the positive attributes in public health, earning public trust and compliance is unpredicted. As behavioral and mental health services combine with public, commercial and marketplace health plans, public health leaders must be vigilant to trustful and spurious human behaviors by applying innate skills in field environments. In the upmost respectable manner, attention must be paid to the needs of the individuals with suitable publicized resources and programs offered by private and public institutions. Moreover, we must save monies tremendously with disposal of physical hard-copy dissemination using paper in a technology era functioning solely through smartphones. As a result, focus on social and cultural sustainability justifiable to value a teamwork effort for the public, the workforce and governments.

Core Value: Inclusivity and Engagement

Distinctive public health workers share similar values with dissimilar backgrounds discrete to understanding social determinants of health. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) defined SDOH as, “Root causes,” of health inequities caused by circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, learn, work and age shaped by uncontrolled forces. Not to misconstrue the callous or malicious intended and unintended human behaviors unacceptable or rebellious with the governance of law enforcement. But cultivate a new “knowledge” era with the unification of galvanizing the power of education to the public as the fundamental source to transform healthier lives. In conclusion, by crafting a “perfect” domino effect in a reputable manner, we can transition lives in the United States. Again, “We are in this together!”


Author: Tekisha King, MPA, BS Doctorate Candidate. Tekisha attested and sponsored the transformation to a Valued-Based Care (VBC) healthcare model(s) expansion to improve accessible cost-effective health services exceeding quality standards. She is firmly focused on the integral delivery of interpersonal collaboration, integrated technologies, and robust business partnerships to benefit diplomatically. Tekisha manages voluminous local, state, and federal projects as a devoted respected doctorate candidate at Walden University. E-mail: [email protected]

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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