Top 10 Medical and Public Health Policy Issues of 2024

The world of healthcare and public health is continually evolving, with 2024 proving to be no exception. In this blog post, we delve into the top 10 medical and public health policy issues that are dominating headlines this year.

1) Covid-19 and Other Viruses

The “triple threat” of COVID-19, flu, and RSV continues to challenge hospital capacities. Despite the availability of vaccines and antiviral treatments, their underutilization and low uptake among vulnerable populations, especially nursing home residents, remain a concern. We’re keeping an eye on the emergence of new coronavirus variants and expect federal health officials to authorize new targeted vaccines. The ongoing battle against these viruses and the developments in treating long COVID will be closely monitored.

2) Climate Change and Health

Following 2023’s record as the Earth’s hottest year, the health impacts of climate change are becoming more evident. From extreme heat to wildfire smoke, the effects are widespread. This year, we will focus on how the climate crisis affects human health and the commendable efforts within the healthcare sector to reduce carbon emissions.

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3) Mental Health and Substance Addiction

The worsening impact of social media on teenage depression and the ongoing opioid epidemic are critical issues. We will explore community efforts to make naloxone more accessible for overdose prevention and initiatives addressing the growing crisis of loneliness.

4) Gene Therapy

The FDA’s recent approval of new therapies for sickle cell disease, including a CRISPR-based treatment, marks a significant advancement. This year, we plan to dive deeper into CRISPR’s medical applications and its potential to transform treatment for several conditions.

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5) Obesity Treatment

Emerging studies on new obesity treatment drugs, especially GLP-1s, are on the rise. We anticipate head-to-head comparisons of approved medications and their potential applications for conditions like addiction and Alzheimer’s disease. The debate on federal coverage for these treatments is set to be a pivotal health policy discussion.

6) Regulatory Approvals

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2024 is expected to be a significant year for regulatory decisions, including the potential approval of psychedelic drugs for severe depression and PTSD. The Supreme Court’s decision on the abortion medication mifepristone and the possible ban on certain food additives are also topics we’ll be following closely.

7) Medical Technology

The AI revolution in healthcare continues to evolve, with new applications emerging regularly. We’ll cover advancements in AI tools, the evolution of telemedicine, and emerging technologies like wearable devices.

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8) The Health-Care Workforce

The issues of burnout and employee retention in hospitals and nursing homes are becoming increasingly acute. We aim to explore the roots of these challenges and potential solutions.

9) Public-Health Infrastructure

The decline in resources for state and local health departments, leading to consequences like the rise in STIs and reduced childhood immunizations, is a pressing issue. We aim to shed light on the impact of underinvestment in public health infrastructure.

10) Policies Affecting Well-being

Health is influenced by various social determinants, including living conditions and access to resources. We plan to revisit topics like the “food as medicine” movement and the interconnection between public health and public safety.

We value the insights and experiences of our readers in these areas. If you have personal or professional stories to share, we encourage you to reach out. Your contributions not only inspire our columns but also deepen our understanding of these complex issues.

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