At the end of It’s A Wonderful Life, the lead character George Bailey is rewarded for his patience and selfless behavior when his friends and family give him the money he needs to sustain the community bank through difficult times. The staff at the CDC must have just watched the movie because it is awarding $3.2 billion to state and local governments to help them modernize their public health data systems. Why is this just happening now, when we have known for so long that our public health infrastructure is in dire need of updating? A thoughtful answer to this question was just published in a Health Affairs blog post. The authors explain that our country’s chronic underinvestment in the data infrastructure necessary for population-wide health oversight is because Americans prioritize individuals and independence over the common good of society. The article is a bit of a difficult academic-theory-pill to swallow, but there are plenty of nuggets of real-world truth in there. At one point in It’s A Wonderful Life, George Bailey’s guardian angel, Clarence, explains that no one uses money in heaven. And George retorts: “It comes in pretty handy down here, bub!” The CDC gets it.
December 2, 2022 | 3 min read
December 2, 2022
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