Press Release

Urban Health Officials Urge Trump Administration, Incoming Congress to Make Public Health a Top Priority

December 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 6, 2016               

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The members of the Big Cities Health Coalition sent a letter to President-Elect Trump’s transition team and Congressional leaders today, urging them to empower city health officials to strengthen public health in urban America. The Coalition shared their top policy priorities for 2017.

The full text of the letter is can be found here, and below.

Dear Governor Pence:

As members of the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC), we write to share the following transition document, an outline of key public health priorities for the Trump Administration’s consideration. BCHC is a forum for leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of the 54 million people we serve.

We welcome the opportunity to work with key leaders of the Trump Administration to help build a healthier America. We believe the key to that goal is leveraging the power of strong local health departments, whose collective mission is to make it easier for people to be healthy and safe.

Safeguarding and improving our nation’s public health system is essential to our pursuit of cultivating healthy communities, and we ask you to keep this in mind as you develop your policy agenda. Our key principles are outlined below, and our policy recommendations are included in the attached paper.

• Public health is about reducing the impact of infectious and chronic diseases in our communities; preventing and responding to disasters; and making sure our air, food, and water are safe.

• We are also on the front lines of combating America’s struggle with drug addiction, which the Surgeon General estimates costs our nation more than $442 billion each year and affects one in seven Americans.

• We are first responders in our communities – and have seen the continued importance of this role just recently with the Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks, and the occurrence of devastating natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew.

• We know that investing in evidence-based public health programs not only improves population health, but also reduces medical costs in the long run. The solution lies in working together to create healthy communities that prevent disease from taking root and keeping people safe from harm.

• The challenges are great, but we know that investing in cities is one of the most effective ways to solve them. Because our authority and focus is concentrated at the local level, cities can impact a population in a swift, direct, and profound way by serving people directly and creating environments in which the healthy option is the default option.

We look forward to working with you as you put forth a new health agenda for our nation.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to our Coalition’s Director, Chrissie Juliano (, to discuss our recommendations further. We hope that together we can help create a stronger, healthier America, where one’s health is not determined only by where he or she lives, and where every American has the ability to live a healthy life.

CONTACT: Max Mays or 913-233-6830 


About the Big Cities Health Coalition

The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of their residents. Collectively, BCHC member jurisdictions directly impact nearly 62 million people, or one in five Americans. For more information, visit