“When it comes to trust with health information, which is the heart of what public health is about, they’re much more likely to trust clinical physicians and nurses than public health institutions and agencies.”
Survey findings come from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They surveyed about 1,300 people in February and March of 2021 regarding how much they trust different parts of the American healthcare system.
“How the public sees public health is incredibly important,” said Robert Blendon, MD, co-director of the survey and a professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, according to USA Today.
The survey found a difference of opinion apparently based on political affiliation. About 78% of Democrats said they had a lot of trust in the CDC, compared to 27% of Republicans.
54% of respondents gave the CDC a positive rating in 2021, down from 59% in 2009
The FDA (48%) and the National Institutes of Health (47%) had lower positive ratings than the CDC
71% trusted nurses a great deal or quite a lot, with 70% feeling that way about healthcare workers they know and 67% about doctors
34% gave the public health system a positive rating in 2021, down from 43% in 2009
51% gave positive ratings to “the medical system” in 2020, up from 36% in 2009
53% said local health departments are doing a good or excellent job, compared to 49% who said that about their state health departments
59% said Covid-19 is the nation’s biggest health problem, followed by cancer (19%), obesity (19%), health care access (15%), and mental illness (10%)
71% of respondents favor substantially increasing federal spending on improving the nation’s public health programs, while 27% are opposed
The survey didn’t ask respondents why they felt the way they did. Some of the key findings were:
The News Highlights
- Survey shows low confidence in US public health systems
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