Conversations with - Healthy People Initiative

Hello this is Miguel Gomez with and I'm really lucky to be with one of my colleagues from HHS. Ma'am could you introduce yourself and let us know what you do here at the US Department of Health and Human Services?

Certainly Miguel. My name is Penny Slade-Sawyer and I run the office at HHS that coordinates the Healthy People initiative for the department.

What is the Healthy People Initiative?

The Healthy People initiative is a program by which the Federal government along with many many others sets goals for health promotion and disease prevention with targets to be achieved in a ten year period.

This initiative is really important to all communities but it's also really important to those living with HIV/AIDS. Can you highlight some examples of how people living with HIV/AIDS benefit from the work your office is doing with Healthy People but also AIDS service providers.

Yes, Healthy People, because it sets national goals, is highlighted often throughout the public health community. It's highlighted through the research community and through the care community. Healthy People sets national agendas for research, for program and initiative development, and for care. The goals and targets that are set in Healthy People keep HIV/AIDS and other important health issues at the forefront of the national agenda.

And the objectives and goals are so important for all of us who are working in HIV/AIDS, from objectives from reducing the number of new HIV cases among adolescents and adult heterosexuals, also you look to make sure that we're addressing issues of men who have sex with men. And what I thought would be really important is to share, well setting these goals, setting these objectives, how do you get to that place?

That's a very good question Miguel. We get to that place with exhaustive input. First of all we consult the most knowledgeable scientists, researchers and treatment specialists around a certain condition like HIV/AIDS. Then, we go to the public and we have public input in the development process going on now for Healthy People 2020 we had six public meetings where members of the public, where those living with HIV/AIDS could come tell us what they believe were the most important issues to highlight in a national agenda such as Healthy People.

Well thank you ma'am and we know that the wonderful work that you're doing with Healthy People will also be incorporated into our National HIV/AIDS Strategy. But, if people want to learn more about Healthy People Initiative, where can they go?

Please do learn more about Healthy People and why and how it is so important to you. Go to our website at

Well thank you ma'am and this is Miguel Gomez with