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Healthy People 2020

Healthy People 2020 Progress Review: The Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment of Sensory and Communication Disorders


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On February 22, 2018, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, held a webinar on the progress of Healthy People 2020 objectives on sensory and communication disorders. The Progress Review webinar featured objectives in hearing, balance, taste and smell disorders, and vision. The webinar was open to the public.

The Progress Review webinar focused on tracking and measuring the progress of the Healthy People 2020 objectives, challenges in achieving these targets, and strategies and opportunities for moving the United States closer to meeting the decade’s goals. Research and outreach efforts by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) and the National Eye Institute (NEI) were highlighted. NIDCD and NEI are components of the National Institutes of Health.

Participants also learned about a community‐based health education and support program that the University of Arizona is developing (with NIDCD funding) for adults with hearing loss and their families. During a question-and-answer segment, panelists responded to audience questions submitted through an online chat.

Presenters included:

  • Don Wright, M.D., M.P.H, Director, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Charles Rothwell, M.B.A., M.S., Director, National Center for Health Statistics
  • James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., Director, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health
  • Paul Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., Director, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
  • Nicole Marrone, Ph.D., CCC-A, Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, University of Arizona


Healthy People provides science-based, national goals and objectives with 10-year targets designed to guide national health promotion and disease prevention efforts to improve the health of all people in the U.S. Healthy People is managed by ODPHP and is a collaborative effort that involves support and guidance from:

Since 1979, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress to:

  • Identify nationwide health improvement priorities.
  • Increase public awareness and understanding of the determinants of health, disease, and disability, and the opportunities for progress.
  • Provide objectives and goals that are both measurable and applicable at the national, state, and local levels.
  • Engage multiple sectors to strengthen policies and improve practices, driven by the best available evidence.
  • Identify critical research, evaluation, and data collection needs.

Hearing and vision influence how Americans of all ages learn, communicate, work, play, and interact with the world—and they can have a tremendous impact on overall health and well-being. Yet millions of Americans live with sensory impairments, and many more are at risk for preventable diseases and injuries, such as falls due to balance problems. Even when they are temporary or mild, sensory disorders can affect both physical and mental health and compromise the ability to communicate with others. NIDCD is the lead agency for 36 objectives in the following Healthy People 2020 hearing and other sensory or communication disorders topic areas

  • Newborn hearing screening
  • Ear infections
  • Hearing
  • Tinnitus
  • Balance and dizziness
  • Smell and taste (chemosenses)
  • Voice, speech, and language
  • Internet health care resources in these topic areas

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