Skip to main content

Now live! Explore the program for the upcoming 2024 Global Conference, taking place May 5-8, 2024.

Center for Public Health: Summer 2023 Newsletter

Center for Public Health: Summer 2023

In This Newsletter

CPH Programs
2023 Global Conference Recap
Programs at a Glance
Policy Updates
CPH in the Community
In Case You Missed It
What’s Ahead
Connect with Us

CPH Programs

Mental Health

Prevention and Chronic Disease

Health Equity

​2023 Global Conference Recap

This year at Global Conference, we had four thought-provoking Center for Public Health-led (CPH) public panels and one CPH-led private session featuring leaders across the public and private sectors. The program also included two sessions led by other Milken Institute centers with CPH Advisory Board members as panelists. Speakers discussed a wide range of topics, including innovative ways to advance mental health treatments, the role of employers and technology in encouraging widespread adoption of a whole-person approach to health, and what’s needed from a prevention standpoint to tackle chronic disease earlier and prioritize youth mental health.

For detailed descriptions and recordings of CPH-led panels as well as additional panels featuring our CPH Advisory Board members, click the links below.

Reimagining Health through Prevention (Panelists include Advisory Board Member Lynn Goldman, MD)

Progress and Innovation: The Dawning of a New Day in Treating Mental Health (Panelists include Advisory Board Member Kelly Clark, MD)

In the Spotlight—Part 1 with Demi Lovato

In the Spotlight—Part 2: Growing Up Online: Youth Mental Health in a Modern World

Digital Health for Whole Person Care

The Risk and Reward of the Employer’s Role in Health (Private session—description only)

Women’s Leadership and the Face of the Modern C-Suite (Panelists include Advisory Board Member Judith Monroe, MD)

Healthcare of the Future | Part 2: Cancer in the Year 2040 (Panelists include Advisory Board Member Gary Puckrein, MD)

Programs at a Glance

Mental Health

The CPH portfolio currently includes a variety of mental health-focused projects. Most involve working with employers, particularly their role in prioritizing mental health, including substance use disorders, as part of a whole-person approach to total well-being. Some of this work entails private, invite-only forums, survey work, and deliverables focused on achieving better mental health through health-technology investment and innovation. We look forward to sharing insights from this project in a future newsletter. Until then, below are updates from some of our other active projects.

Mental Health Treatment Innovation Project

Mental health conditions are so prevalent in the US that more than 50 percent of people will be diagnosed with a mental health condition or disorder at some point in their lifetime. During the pandemic, about four in ten adults in the US reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, an increase from one in ten adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019. The US will likely see increased rates of mental health conditions, as the mental health impact of disasters outlasts the physical impact. In 2020, over half of adults with mental health conditions did not seek treatment due to stigma, lack of knowledge of help, lack of resources or access to care, and lack of confidence in mental health treatments. Furthermore, the US has substantial gaps in mental health policy surrounding prevention, access, and equity. In the US, the mental health treatments currently available do not match the growing demand.

There is a need for innovative, comprehensive treatments that appeal to a variety of people with mental health conditions. This spring, in partnership with Cybin, CPH began a Mental Health Innovation Project. The project will touch upon the importance of treatment and medications to be innovative, customizable, scalable, and accessible. Our findings will culminate in a white paper.

Employee Mental Health Concerns and Workplace Solutions Project

In partnership with The Hartford, CPH is hosting a second Closing the Gap: Learning, Listening, and Exploration Series. These invite-only roundtables will be data-driven discussions addressing mental health priorities and challenges in the workplace. The first convening took place in June, focusing on Next Gen Mental Health Concerns and Workplace Solutions. With anxiety, depression, and mental health conditions higher in Generation Z and millennial employees than in other generations in the workplace, this first session aims to examine the unique needs of Generation Z and millennial employees and outline action steps for employers and employees to support mental health in the workplace better.

Addressing the Addiction Crisis: Recent Fireside Chats during Milken Institute Events

The Center for Public Health has worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to address the demand for illicit drugs, understand the supply, and prevent addiction since 2017. Growing out of this long-standing relationship, in 2021, CPH collaborated with DEA as part of its larger Operation Engage initiative, specifically on the employer component of a community-wide strategy to raise awareness about local drug threats, including fentanyl. CPH’s outreach connected with over 350 employers across the US, and over 250 attendees participated in 11 regionally focused virtual roundtables. In each session, CPH connected employers with their local DEA team to raise awareness of threats impacting the health of their employees and surrounding communities and provided employers with drug prevention resources. Click here to read the final Reach and Impact Report.

Both our 2022 Future of Health Summit and 2023 Global Conference featured conversations with government officials on what’s being done to address the ongoing threat posed by fentanyl and the broader addiction crisis. Watch recordings of these fireside chats:

Addressing Drug Addiction and the Overdose Epidemic: A Conversation with White House ONDCP Director Rahul Gupta

Combatting Fentanyl and Drug Cartels: A Conversation with DEA Administrator Anne Milgram

Employer Investments in Health Tech Innovation for Substance Use Disorders

In March 2019, CPH collaborated with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to host the Investment and Innovation Accelerator Forum. The event, designed to increase stakeholder awareness, featured a sample of small business interventions working to reach communities combating the opioid crisis—including prevention, diversion, treatment, and recovery perspectives. Drawing upon NIDA’s Small Business Innovation Research program, each company presented its innovative technologies and scalable community solutions to stakeholders at the event. CPH tracked the companies’ progress for a year and highlighted 10 innovators as they pivoted during the pandemic.

Following the Accelerator Forum, CPH has conducted a series of discussions to capture lessons learned, barriers of entry or success, and ways to embed evidence-based research and outcomes into digital health tools addressing substance use disorders offered by employers. The CPH team has identified actionable ways to effectively incorporate evidence-based, employer-provided digital health tools for substance use disorders. We look forward to sharing the insights and findings later this fall.

Prevention and Chronic Disease

Envisioning the Future of the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain to Advance Public Health in the United States

In late April, CPH released Envisioning the Future of the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain to Advance Public Health in the United States, a report presenting the culmination of key learnings and recommendations from a multiphased project in partnership with the Healthcare Distribution Alliance. Although COVID-19 demonstrated the fundamental resilience of the pharmaceutical supply chain (PSC), it laid bare widespread fragilities and inequities in all the systems impacting US health care. By examining lessons learned through the broader lens of public health, we identified actionable opportunities where the PSC could not only strengthen and sustain its operational resilience but also accelerate progress in advancing US public health goals. The report features four case studies that bring to life three emerging themes from our research—health equity, trust and communication, and public-private partnerships—that are critical elements to supply chain resilience in times of crisis and during steady state conditions.

Health Equity

Health Equity Advisory Panel Kickoff

Although the CPH Health Equity Advisory Panel’s work has begun, members are still being added based on areas of expertise and ad hoc consultancy. The makeup of the panel reflects the core nature of health-equity work: intersectionality. Members are from academic institutions (Drexel University, Johns Hopkins, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Maryland), community organizations (Moveable Feast, Behavioral Health Baltimore, and Washington Housing Conservancy), federal agencies (National Institutes of Health and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), pharmaceutical companies (Wayne Pharmaceuticals), supply chain (Healthcare Ready), and research institutes (Milken Institute). Their expertise includes medicine, public health, data analytics, substance abuse, health equity, pharmaceutical supply chain, sex and gender minorities, nursing, epidemiology, immigrant health, Latinx populations, housing, health disparities, and intersectionality. These experts have been active in their respective areas, contributing to over 500 publications.

During the meeting that took place May 17, the group generated over 50 recommendations across four areas: emerging issues, top-of-mind priorities, suggested targeted activities, and the desired outcomes. Panel members have volunteered for a proposed session on health equity at the upcoming Future of Health Summit and are contributing to several opinion pieces in progress. Data analysis to highlight gap areas will inform the evidence-based work of the panel going forward. The CPH Health Equity Advisory Panel is fortunate to have the expertise of Emily Zimmerman, MD, a major contributor to the oft-cited work that highlighted the 20-year difference in life expectancy in two areas less than seven miles apart. In addition, Kate Sacks, PhD, of the Milken Institute’s Research department has provided a review of various tools available to inform the work of the panel. The group will meet again in July to develop its agenda and work timelines further.

Policy Updates

In March 2023, CPH, in collaboration with FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, submitted comment letters to the US House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in response to a request for information for the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, a major piece of legislation up for reauthorization in 2023. In the letters, CPH and FasterCures offered suggestions on policy opportunities to improve and strengthen the nation’s biosecurity and preparedness infrastructure in the face of a future pandemic and other hazards.

In April 2023, the Institute submitted a detailed letter to US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra offering our insights and suggestions pertaining to the then-forthcoming expiration of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 declared under Section 319 of the Public Health Service Act. The letter centered on three critical public health areas impacted by the PHE: data sharing and coordination, telehealth and technology-enabled home care, and equitable access to care and meeting social needs. The innovations and flexibilities implemented during the PHE that led to improvements in the lives of individuals and communities nationwide present actionable opportunities to strengthen our nation’s public health system at all levels.

CPH in the Community

We are delighted that members of our CPH team and Advisory Board have been recognized externally and have taken part in speaking engagements.

April 2023

May 2023

  • MI Health Executive Vice President Esther Krofah delivered a keynote, “Making Genomic Diversity A Reality in Cancer Research” at AORTIC 2nd Cancer Genomics Conference.

  • CPH Senior Director Victoria Cargill, MD and Director Sarah Wells Kocsis were selected as National Women’s Health Week ambassadors.

  • MI Health Executive Vice President Esther Krofah delivered the commencement address at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

  • CPH Senior Director Victoria Cargill spoke with community-based organization leaders at the Bridging the Gaps meeting at Temple University School of Medicine.

  • CPH Senior Director Victoria Cargill was honored for lifetime achievement at Mount Holyoke College.

  • CPH Senior Director Sabrina Spitaletta moderated a fireside chat on the role of youth mental health in advancing health equity at the CECP annual summit that brings together an employer audience.

June 2023

  • CPH Senior Director Victoria Cargill spoke to the Research Internships in Science and Engineering Scholars at the Johns Hopkins Kennedy Krieger Institute on the topic of public health after COVID.

  • CPH Advisory Board Member J. Nadine Gracia co-authored an article, “The Value of Age-Friendly Public Health Systems in the Age-Friendly Ecosystem,” that appeared in Geriatrics.

  • CPH Director Sarah Wells Kocsis moderated a fireside chat with the Healthcare Distribution Alliance’s senior vice president of policy and strategic planning during The Hill’s Future of Healthcare Summit.

In Case You Missed It

Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Report Referenced in Media

We are delighted that beyond our own amplification several news outlets have cited our report, Envisioning the Future of the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain to Advance Public Health in the United States, and quoted CPH Director Sarah Wells Kocsis:

Mental Health-Focused Global Conference Panel Featured on NBC’s The Today Show

For Mental Health Awareness Month, The Today Show featured a segment including clips from the Global Conference panel “In the Spotlight, Growing Up Online: Youth Mental Health in a Modern World.” We are pleased that this important conversation continues to be shared and reach new audiences.

Mental Health in the Workplace Advice and Insight Social Series

Starting in January 2023, we created a LinkedIn series featuring thought leaders in our network reflecting on ways to improve workplace mental health approaches and whole-person health. The final four installations from the series are linked below, and we invite you to follow our LinkedIn page for more posts like these.

What’s Ahead

Interview Series: Executive Thought Leadership on Whole-Person Health in the Workplace

This LinkedIn article series will feature brief, meaningful insights on the importance of employers investing in human capital and adopting a whole-person health approach, captured through interviews between CPH Senior Director Sabrina Spitaletta and executives across a variety of industries and sectors. Stay tuned for the first installment!

Upcoming Milken Institute Events

- Asia Summit—September 13–15, Singapore
- Future of Health Summit—November 6–8, 2023, Washington, DC

Bookmark our events page to stay informed.

Connect with Us

Check out our LinkedIn for regular updates about our publications, upcoming events, and other related news!