Recommendation 1

Place prevention at the center of healthcare decisions within government and business.

Why is this important?

The Commission believes that prevention science, as the systematic application of scientific methods to the causes and prevention of health problems in populations, should be supported. It also believes that the discipline should extend beyond the traditional fields of epidemiology and public health to gain insights and gather evidence from behavioral economics and innovations in technology. A complementary approach that adapts public sector intervention to opportunities arising from private sector innovations to improve health behaviors and outcomes will result in a stronger and more comprehensive platform for intervention design and implementation.



Increase public and private sector funding for prevention scienceand research, through companies, foundations, the NIH, CD, and PCORI.


Expand the understanding of prevention science to encompass epidemiology, behavioral economics, and application of personalized technology, as reflected by influential papers published in peer-review journals.


Reinforce the understanding among individuals and institutionthat prevention is a critial investment with high-value returns.



Measures of Success

Short Term (2017)

  • The federal government has increased the proportion of total health funding for prevention science research by at least 10 percent, measured by the number and size of grants.
  • Private-public partnerships have been formed at local, state, and federal levels to advance prevention science and o develop common metrics to report on progress.
  • The Council on Foundations has reported on and given priority to NCD prevention and health promotion in its future funding.

 Medium Term (2020)

  • The IOM has reviewed and recommended new science-based guidelines for assessing the effectiveness of prevention and community- and workplace-based health promotion programs that go beyond a sole reliance on RCTs.
  • The curricula of graduate schools of health, medicine, law, policy, and business have evolved to reflect the cross-disciplinary importance of health and prevention as a required subject of study.
  • A growing body of convincing, robust evidence demonstrating that a healthy workforce is vital to our nations security, job creation, economic growth, and global competitiveness is disseminated and used by policymakers and corporate leaders.

Long Term (2025)

  • Enrollment in graduate programs to develop into executive health leaders for prevention across sectors has seen a meaningful increase.
  • A dynamic and attractive career path for prevention science leaders has been widely established and adopted with support of the NIH and CDC as well as the social, education, and business sectors.
  • The CBO uses evidence-based prevention research in scoring and recommending the size of prevention and health promotion budgets across federal agencies.

Supporting Research


Invest in Prevention Science

The Vitality Institute

Investing in prevention science should be a national strategic priority to ensure evidence-based interventions to improve health at the population level and ensure sustainable career paths in prevention research.



NIH and CDC funding for human behavioral interventions that target modifiable risk factors of non-communicable disease: a descriptive analysis.

Chris Calitz, Keshia M. Pollack, Chris Millard, Johns Hopkins University; Derek Yach, Vitality Institute



Assessing the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Content of US Graduate Curricula in Law and Public Policy.

Emily Leung, BA; Alyson Listhaus, MPH; Daryl Berke, MPH


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The Recommendations