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Follow the Data Podcast: Global Health Check-Up with Dr. Kelly Henning

Tobacco is a deadly killer, claiming over seven million lives every year, with most of the deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Mike Bloomberg has been committed to tobacco control since first entering office as New York City Mayor, and Bloomberg Philanthropies has invested one billion dollars to help implement tobacco control measures.

Dr. Kelly Henning leads Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health programs. She’s been on the road, visiting countries across the world, as part of a “global health check-up.” She spoke to the foundation’s operations lead, Allison Jaffin, about the progress countries are making, sharing lessons learned and stories from the road.

Statement from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Dr. Kelly Henning on Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upholding Philadelphia’s Sugary Drink Tax

“In upholding Philadelphia’s sweetened beverage tax, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has delivered a major victory to every community that values good nutrition, better health, and strong futures for kids and families. The industry’s slick marketing campaigns cannot hide the fact that sugary drinks have no nutritional value and contribute to significantly higher risks for a variety of chronic diseases. Philadelphia’s tax is working exactly as intended—sales of sweetened beverages have declined and the revenue raised has funded thousands of pre-k seats, new community schools, and upgrades to parks, recreation centers and libraries. We urge other cities across the country and around the world to follow Philadelphia’s example and put consumers’ health ahead of industry profits.” — Dr. Kelly Henning

Statement from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Dr. Kelly Henning on the World Trade Organization’s Ruling Upholding Plain Packaging Requirements in Australia

“The World Trade Organization’s ruling in favor of Australia’s plain packaging law is an important victory for public health. It sends a message to tobacco companies worldwide that they can and will be defeated, and it helps create a roadmap for other countries to implement plain packaging laws, a strategy that is proven to decrease use of tobacco products.” — Dr. Kelly Henning

Statement by Dr. Kelly Henning on UK Court Decision to Strike Down Tobacco Industry Challenge on Plain Packaging

“Today the UK High Court ruled in favor of public health by dismissing tobacco industry claims that challenged the 2015 UK law that required tobacco products be sold in plain packaging. Bloomberg Philanthropies supports this ruling and applauds the UK court for paving the way for implementation of UK plain packaging, tomorrow, May 20th. The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use focuses on evidence based tobacco policies and works to promote public awareness of tobacco’s harms. This ruling is an important step in the accelerating movement by countries to include plain packaging in their comprehensive tobacco control strategies and to raise awareness about the massive health harms of tobacco use.”

Statement by Dr. Kelly Henning in Response to the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s Announcement of a Tax on Sugary Drinks

“George Osborne’s announcement today to tax sugary drinks puts the U.K. at the forefront of the global fight to reduce obesity and diabetes. It is exciting to see governments taking concrete actions to address these serious public health problems. Bloomberg Philanthropies has been a strong advocate for comprehensive public health approaches in reducing obesity, including supporting public health advocates and experts in Mexico who successfully pushed for the passage of a 10 percent tax on sugar sweetened beverages. Governments are standing up for health – sugary drinks are a major contributor to empty calories around the world.”

Dr. Kelly Henning

Dr. Kelly Henning has led the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health program since its inception in 2007. She is a medical doctor and epidemiologist trained in internal medicine, infectious diseases, and public health. Projects under her direction include the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, a 16-year, almost $1 billion global program aimed at curbing the […]

Statement by Dr. Kelly Henning on CVS Health’s Announcement on the Impacts of its Tobacco Sale Ban

“Bloomberg Philanthropies commends CVS Health for taking the bold move to end tobacco sales and use data to evaluate the effects of that decision. As a metrics-driven foundation, we believe data is vital to help identify, address and help overcome public health challenges. The data released by CVS, including information on how its move to end tobacco sales reduced purchases statewide, demonstrates that when private companies take action against tobacco, they have the potential to impact the broader public in a positive way. This year, as the United Nations makes tobacco reduction part of its Sustainability Development Goals, this is one more step forward towards reducing the global use of tobacco – and a true example of corporate social responsibility.”

Follow the Data Podcast: Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes

On September 10th, 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the creation of a new $160 million initiative to end the youth e-cigarette epidemic. The three-year program, called Protect Kids, is led by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which will partner with other leading organizations including parent and community groups concerned about the nation’s kids and health.

Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health program lead, spoke to Matt Myers, President of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, about the initiative, including the need to hold the federal government accountable for it’s stated intentions to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

Global Health Checkup: A New Era for Tobacco Control in Mexico

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health program lead

In 2008, Mexico City became the largest city in the world to adopt a 100% smoke-free law, setting a tremendous global precedent for tobacco control policies. In 2011, with support from our partners, the federal government increased tobacco taxes to further protect the city’s most vulnerable communities.

However, progress since then has slowed down, in part, because of political barriers.  Over 51,000 people die each year in Mexico from tobacco related illnesses. Approximately 15 million adults still smoke tobacco, including 27% of men. Nearly 700,000 adolescents (age 12-17) smoke as well, comprising 5% of the smoking population.

Expanding tobacco control measures to reach 5 billion people

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team program lead

Michael R. Bloomberg has long been focused on improving public health — during his time as New York City Mayor, in his work through his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and now in his role as the World Health Organization Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases. Bloomberg Philanthropies has committed nearly $1 billion since 2007 to combat tobacco use worldwide. The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use partners with low- and middle-income countries to reduce tobacco use through a comprehensive, proven approach that combines evidence-based policy change with increased public awareness.

How Evidence Has Fueled Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Work In Tobacco Control

By Dr. Kelly Henning and Dr. Jennifer Ellis

When he became mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg picked tobacco control as one of the key issues on which he could have the biggest impact on public health. Immediately after taking office in 2002, the new mayor implemented science-based approaches to reducing tobacco use that were not yet commonly in place in the United States but had the potential to dramatically lower smoking rates among city residents. That strategy paid off. Reductions in tobacco prevalence in New York City were immediate and evident. In twelve years, adult smoking rates dropped from 21.5 percent in 2002 to 13.9 percent in 2014.

Global Health Checkup: Optimism for Pakistan’s Continued Success in Reducing Tobacco Use

By Dr. Kelly Henning of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team

I was fortunate to meet in Dubai with our partners from across the globe working to combat the tobacco epidemic in Pakistan — a country where more than 160,000 people die every year from tobacco-related diseases.

Global Health Checkup: Tobacco Control and Road Safety in Indonesia and the Philippines

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Public Health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies

Earlier this summer, I arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the middle of a drenching monsoon. In this part of the world, monsoons are common and fortunately don’t deter our partners at various government ministries and nonprofits from carrying on their life-saving work. I found the same to be true 1,734 miles (2,784km) away in Manila, Philippines, where two days later, I connected with government and NGO partners from our Road Safety, Tobacco Control, and Data for Health Initiatives.

Though vastly different in many ways, the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines face similar obstacles in both controlling tobacco and making roads safer, so that their citizens can live longer, healthier lives. And there’s a lot we can learn from these countries as they make progress on these critical public health issues.

Follow the Data Podcast: Tobacco Industry Watchdogs

For decades, tobacco giants have tried to deceive the public. In addition to aggressively marketing its combustible cigarettes to children and teenagers in low- and middle-income countries, the industry is pushing alternative products, such as heat-not-burn and e-cigarettes, although the evidence about long-term safety is not yet clear. Tobacco industry-funded research has repeatedly been a smokescreen for behavior that has led to worse outcomes for smokers.

Professor Anna Gilmore, director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath spoke to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health program lead, Dr. Kelly Henning. They discuss the importance of shedding light on tobacco industry tactics, collaborating with STOP partners, and data’s essential role in the fight against misinformation.

It’s Time to Act: Addressing the Noncommunicable Disease Epidemic

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health program lead

For the first time in history, more people are dying of noncommunicable diseases (we call them NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease than infectious diseases. These diseases, which are responsible for 41 million deaths every year, including 17 million people who die prematurely before the age of 70, are responsible for cutting promising lives short around the world. On top of that, 5 million people die every year from injuries, and road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15–29 years.

The STOP Winners: Shining a Spotlight on Big Tobacco

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health team

Left unchecked, tobacco use will kill one billion people this century. It’s the most preventable cause of death in the world. But saving lives means more than just quitting smoking. It means pushing back against a powerful, wide-reaching global industry that spends tens of billions of dollars every single year to recruit tobacco users through aggressive marketing campaigns.

Global Health Checkup: Celebrating Progress in Vietnam to Reduce Tobacco Use, Seeking Opportunities to Go Further

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Public Health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies

An astounding 45 percent of adult males in Vietnam use tobacco, compared to only 1 percent of women. These high smoking rates among men in Vietnam are at the core of the country’s health problems with more than 40,000 tobacco-related deaths each year.

The challenges in Vietnam are difficult, but surmountable. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ deep collaboration with the government and local organizations demonstrates that together we can make real strides toward reducing tobacco use in this country of nearly 100 million people.

During “Yellow May,” Pedestrians Get the Royal Treatment

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team lead

On Monday, May 7, the coastal city of Fortaleza, Brazil rolled out a red carpet in front of City Hall. The guests of honor? Not celebrities or dignitaries — though some wore crowns — but pedestrians. Everyday people who are among the 2.5 million that call this city home.

The event was part of Fortaleza’s participation in the annual “Yellow May” festival. Supported by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), Fortaleza is joining cities across Brazil — and around the world — to draw attention to road safety and introduce new initiatives to make streets safer and more accessible for vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians.

Collecting Data – a Matter of Life and Death

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team

Nearly 30 million deaths go unregistered without a cause of death each year. Put another way, more than half of deaths globally aren’t recorded with any usable information. And, nearly 40 percent of the 128 million babies born each year are not officially registered. Without this crucial data, a government cannot create policies that lower risk for disease and positively influence the health and wellness of its citizens. This lack of data can result in errant or misinformed health policy that harms the economy, education, democracy, and other vital attributes of a robust society.

Global Health Checkup: Seven Steps to Tackle NCDs in Brazil

by Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team lead

Brazil, a country known for its spectacular coastline, football prowess, and vibrant culture, has also become known in the public health community for its progressive action to prevent noncommunicable diseases.

On the first stop of my “Global Health Checkup,” I was not only wowed by Rio’s sprawling beaches and Brasilia’s magnificent architecture but also by the incredible work public health leaders are doing to help their citizens lead healthier lives.

This Earth Day Santo Domingo is Going Green and Getting Healthy, Too

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team lead

April 22 is Earth Day. As we focus on conserving our lands and cleaning up our planet, it is important to also remember that the exposures in our environment impact our physical health.

The air pollution that comes from burning fuels for energy can also cause noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke and lung diseases. These diseases lead to over 39.5 million deaths globally every year of which over six million are due to outdoor and indoor air pollution.

Follow the Data Podcast: A Prescription for Hope in the Opioid Epidemic

In the United States, over two million people are addicted to opioids and an average of 115 people die every day from opioid overdoses. It is a complicated issue that requires multifaceted solutions, with engagement and action from many stakeholders.

In this episode, Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health Program Lead, speaks with Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is also director of the school’s Bloomberg American Health Initiative, which was launched with a $300 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Winning the Fight Against Big Tobacco

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health lead

Tobacco use is responsible for more than seven million deaths each year worldwide. While that number is shocking, these deaths are preventable if governments and philanthropy work together to combat the tactics of Big Tobacco. On March 7th, the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, the premier international forum on tobacco control, will gather public and private sector officials from more than 100 countries to advance this ongoing fight.

Cities Growing More Powerful And That May Be Good For You

Bloomberg, who is the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Global Ambassador for NCDs, discussed with Margaret Chan, MD, who was the WHO’s Director General at the time, the possibility of forming a network of cities around the world that would agree to implement interventions to prevent NCDs. As Kelly Henning, MD, who has led the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health program since its inception in 2007, explained, “The WHO agreed that they would be well-placed to put forward such a cities initiatives and could serve as the implementing partner. The WHO representative for each country where each city is located has since been on board.”

What Governments Can Do To Address Cancer

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health team

Message from Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health Program on World Cancer Day

While much work remains to find a cure for cancer – the good news is we know that many forms of cancer are preventable. On World Cancer Day, a moment when the global community comes together to reflect on those lost to cancer, as well as the advances we need to make to find a cure,  it’s important to remember that there are actions that governments and individuals can take to prevent cancer. In fact, governments hold many levers that can actually address this leading killer.

Michael Bloomberg may be Big Tobacco’s biggest enemy

Kelly Henning, who leads public health efforts for Bloomberg Philanthropies, said in an interview that the new donation will help expand its previous work, such as getting countries to monitor tobacco use, introduce strong tobacco-control laws, and create mass media campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco use. The program includes 110 countries, among them China, India, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

10 Years Later: Bloomberg’s Big Bet on Tobacco Reduction

It comes out to less than a dollar a person: Since 2006, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ investment of more than $600 million to reduce tobacco use has helped protect nearly 1.7 billion people from smoking’s health hazards, primarily in low- and middle-income countries. The bet—while risky—offered a strong opportunity for philanthropy to play a role. Despite data indicating tobacco’s danger to public health as well as evidence about high-impact policies, “no one had really taken the evidence base on to implement it,” says Dr. Kelly Henning, Program Lead for Bloomberg’s Public Health program.

Halve traffic accident deaths and injuries by 2020: can it be done?

In Vietnam, for example, helmet-wearing increased from 40% to 95% within days of the government passing a requirement for motorcycle users to wear one, says Kelly Henning, director of public health programmes at Bloomberg Philanthropies. The organisation has committed $259m (£200m) to improve road safety.

WHO Report Outlines Ten Ways to Prevent Drowning

By Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health Team

To help put better data and context behind this leading cause of death, Bloomberg Philanthropies helped fund a new World Health Organization study The Global Report on Drowning; Preventing a Leading Killer. Bloomberg Philanthropies CEO Patricia E. Harris and Dr. Kelly Henning of the Foundation’s public health team, travelled to Geneva to launch the report which is the first major study of its kind to look at drowning deaths worldwide, their causes, and to recommend practical solutions that will prevent these needless deaths.

“Despite the terrible toll drowning takes on communities around the world – especially in low- and middle-income countries – it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves as a serious and preventable problem. This report can help change that, and it will help us save many lives,” said Patricia E. Harris.

Supporting Uruguay in their Fight Against Big Tobacco

By Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health Team

This week, Mike Bloomberg met with Uruguayan Deputy Secretary Canepa, who along with President Mujica and his government are fighting a meritless lawsuit from tobacco giant Philip Morris as a result of the country’s strong anti-tobacco laws. Mike Bloomberg, Bloomberg Philanthropies and our partners stand strongly with the Uruguayan government, and are aiding their legal efforts.

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