Though health disparities persist in most countries, many people living in developed regions have taken for granted the ability to control disease outbreaks, access to safe food, clean water, and healthy homes, and reliable sanitation. This consideration combined with fewer severe pandemics in recent years has contributed to reduced investments in public health systems. This pattern has resulted in system weaknesses and vulnerabilities, which have been highlighted by COVID-19. According to the authors there is now an urgent need to revitalize public health in general and environmental public health in particular to recover from COVID-19 and beyond.
The researchers highlight that more than a year ago, launching a national scale research initiative was recommended to address priority challenges to the practice of environmental public health and associated research needs. This timely and important effort promises to improve translation of basic science discoveries for routine and emerging health threats. It will stimulate innovation, improve the health of local communities, increase our return on investment in public health, and is vital to building back better.