To gain a better understanding for how to modernize public health in America, in this report Trust for America's Health (TFAH) examines public health funding in the United States, key health facts in states, and recommendations for new approaches to promoting health and wellness. The report shows that public health funding is low across the country, but that it is substantially lower in some communities than others, which can exacerbate health differences. TFAH found a wide variation in federal, state, and local funding for public health, including: (1) DIFFERENCES IN FEDERAL FUNDING FOR STATES: Federal public health spending through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) averaged out to only $19.23 per person in FY 2009. And the amount of federal funding spent to prevent disease and improve health in communities ranged significantly from state to state, with a per capita low of $13.33 in Virginia to a high of $58.65 in Alaska. (2) DIFFERENCES IN STATE FUNDING: This report also examined state funding and found that the median amount in state fiscal years 2008-2009 for public health equaled only $28.92 per person, with ranges from a low of $3.55 per person in Nevada to a high of $169.92 per person in Hawaii. (3) DIFFERENCES IN LOCAL FUNDING: A recent analysis by professors at the Department of Health Policy & Management at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences found that local public health spending was $29.57 per capita for the median community in 2005, and that rate was virtually unchanged in over a decade. Spending in the lowest 20 percent of communities averaged only around $8 per person, while the top 20 percent spent an average of $102 per person, which is nearly 13 times higher than in the lowest quintile.
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