Uniting public health and primary care for healthy communities in the COVID-19 era and beyond

John M. Westfall, Winston Liaw, Kim Griswold, Kurt Stange, Larry A. Green, Robert Phillips, Andrew Bazemore, Carlos Roberto Jaén, Lauren S. Hughes, Jen DeVoe, Heidi Gullett, James C. Puffer, Robin S. Gotler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has laid bare the dis-integrated health care system in the United States. Decades of inattention and dwindling support for public health, coupled with declining access to primary care medical services have left many vulnerable communities without adequate COVID-19 response and recovery capacity. “Health is a Community Affair” is a 1966 effort to build and deploy local communities of solution that align public health, primary care, and community organizations to identify health care problem sheds, and activate local asset sheds. After decades of independent effort, the COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to reunite and align the shared goals of public health and primary care. Imagine how different things might look if we had widely implemented the recommendations from the 1966 report? The ideas and concepts laid out in “Health is a Community Affair” still offer a COVID-19 response and recovery approach. By bringing public health and primary care together in community now, a future that includes a shared vision and combined effort may emerge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S203-S209
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Community medicine
  • Integrated health care systems
  • Pandemics
  • Primary health care
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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