“Health in All Policies” bill passes Maryland Senate Finance Committee
A new bill (SB 340), sponsored by Maryland State Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, will engage the UMD School of Public Health’s Center for Health Equity in advising state lawmakers on healthy public policy. Dr. Stephen B. Thomas, director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity (M-CHE), testified in support of the bill, which requires M-CHE to convene a workgroup that will make recommendations to state and local legislators to inform laws and policies that will promote health equity and have a positive impact on the life of Maryland’s residents.
The language of the bill emphasizes the “Health in all Policies” collaborative approach outlined by the American Public Health Association, which aims to ensure that policymakers and stakeholders in the public and private sectors include health considerations into decision making across sectors and policy areas. In his testimony Dr. Thomas highlighted that a ‘Health in All Policies’ approach identifies the ways in which decisions in multiple sectors affect health, and how better health can support the goals of these multiple sectors.
The bill also specifies that the Center for Health Equity will conduct a health impact assessment on issues of access to safe and affordable housing, education, employment opportunities, environment and public safety, among others. The bill (SB340) passed unanimously in the Finance Committee on February 8, 2017 and has moved for to the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee for a vote and then to the House for a final vote.