Benedict I. Truman, MD, MPH
Name: Benedict I. Truman, MD, MPH
Title: Associate Director for Science, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Years at CDC: 35
Public Health Agent of Change Service Record:
How have you worked to advance health equity?
From July 2010 to January 2011, I coordinated the development and publication of “CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report—United States, 2011,”pdf icon the first such surveillance report ever published by CDC. The 2011 report started the periodic publication of a series of similar reports once every two years that indicate whether the nation is doing better, worse, or not making progress in advancing health equity by reducing health disparities.
What are you currently doing or have done in your career to reduce health disparities?
As the first Associate Director for Science in CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (2000-2010), I provided scientific leadership to CDC-wide efforts to ensure the highest scientific quality and ethical integrity of surveillance, research, evaluation, and intervention programs to reduce health disparities and advance health equity in the United States. Since 2011, I have been a member of the Health Equity Review Coordination Team that coordinates the conduct of systematic reviews of the literature on the effectiveness of interventions to reduce health inequities that affect racial and ethnic minorities and low-income populations. The U.S. Task Force on Community Preventive Services makes recommendations to advance health equity based on those systematic reviews of the literature.
How can we work to make achieving health equity a Mission: Possible?
CDC’s centers, institutes, and offices can work with public health partners in state, local, and territorial health departments and community-based organizations to implement two strategies that together advance health equity and reduce health disparities. To close the gap between the health status of disadvantaged and privileged social groups in the U.S. population, the essential strategies include: 1) universal interventions that are accessible to everyone regardless of social status, and 2) targeted interventions that provide additional resources to improve health outcomes at a faster rate in the disadvantaged group.