indicator set are maintained and strengthened. The committee offers five suggestions for steps to be taken by the department that will support the implementation of the leading health indicator effort. These include


    development and maintenance of collaborations with partner agencies and organizations,


    commitment of adequate resources and effort to disseminate and monitor the selected set of indicators for the entire course of Healthy People 2010,


    health disparities,


    inclusion of poverty as an indicator or stratification variable, and


    general data issues, including data analysis at multiple jurisdictional levels.

    Interagency Collaborations

    Leading health indicators will be strengthened by continued and expanded collaborations between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with other federal agencies (e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), the business and labor communities, private-sector agencies, voluntary organizations (e.g., the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association), state and local health departments, and community-based groups with a shared goal of improving the health of their communities and thereby improving the health of this nation's population. In the absence of such a commitment by the department, it is highly likely that the leading health indicator effort will be unsuccessful as it has been in the two previous decades of Healthy People.

    Commitment of Adequate Resources and Effort for Dissemination of Indicator Set

    The committee strongly urges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to carry forward this concept of leading health indicators for the duration of Healthy People 2010. Achievement of the full potential for the selected set of indicators will rest squarely on the shoulders of the department and will require allocation of sufficient resources to (1) disseminate knowledge about the leading health indicator set to the general population and its diverse population groups; (2) support efforts at the national, state, local, community, and individual levels to intervene upon the suggested indicators; and (3) ensure ongoing data collection efforts at the national, state, local, and community levels that will permit the monitoring of changes in the indicators through the course of the decade. The committee urges the department to develop a comprehensive plan for the communication and dissemination of information related to the leading health indicators. Such a plan should be responsive to the needs of diverse population groups and should include both traditional and innovative communications strategies to bring about changes in health behaviors. The committee reiterates the imperative for the Department to select an indicator set and fully commit to design and implementation of communications and dissemination plans, implementation of interventions, and monitoring progress toward each indicator target within the chosen set.

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