Transforming Health in America: Policies, Communications, and Social Change

11:30 am
1:00 pm
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Thomas A. Farley, MD, MPH
Department of Sociomedical Sciences
Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion
Open to the Columbia Community
Making major improvements in health in this country requires changing the culture. In this talk, Thomas A. Farley, MD MPH will discuss how a transformation of this magnitude can take place through mass communications, policy changes, and the interaction among them.

Dr. Farley is the CEO of the Public Good Projects, a media effort to improve the health of the nation. From 2009 to 2014 he was the Health Commissioner for New York City. In those years, he advocated for innovative public health policies in New York City, including making the city's parks and beaches smoke-free, prohibiting price discounting of cigarettes, raising the legal sales age of tobacco to 21, capping the portion size of sugary drinks sold in restaurants at 16 ounces, and restricting the burning of air-polluting fuels to heat buildings. Dr. Farley has used mass media to deliver powerful messages to promote health, including creating the "Pouring On the Pounds" sugary drink ads, introducing the "Two Drinks Ago" campaign to reduce binge alcohol drinking, and developing a series of hard-hitting ads on the health consequences of smoking.

Before joining the New York City health department, Dr. Farley was chair of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Farley is trained as a pediatrician and served in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Epidemic Intelligence Service. He worked for the CDC and the Louisiana Office of Public Health from 1989 to 2000. He is coauthor of Prescription for a Healthy Nation (with RAND Senior Scientist Deborah Cohen) and author of the forthcoming Saving Gotham, a book on public health in New York City.


Grace Lee