Statement on President Biden's Joint Address: Rachel Hodgdon, President and CEO, IWBI
Over the past year, the global pandemic shined a harsh light on the ways in which our country is failing to support the health, well-being and equity of our people. But as President Biden said in last night’s Joint Address, “In another era when our democracy was tested, Franklin Roosevelt reminded us, in America, we do our part. We all do our part.” As the country rebounds and rebuilds, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is committed to doing our part by advocating for people-first places, organizations and communities for all our citizens.
At IWBI, our work is focused on identifying and delivering research-based strategies to create spaces and places where everyone can thrive. And last night, I was excited to hear the president outline several critical initiatives that align with our growing movement that’s focused on advancing better buildings for a better future.
An important first step is reimagining how we invest in infrastructure to meet the urgency of the moment. This starts with addressing deep disparities in our school buildings and childcare centers. Beyond physical infrastructure, paid family and medical leave, childcare support and increased education at the pre-K and post-secondary levels—key elements of the new American Families Plan—are some of the most impactful investments we can make to protect and enhance the health and well-being of children and families.
We also need to rethink how we can make our country’s infrastructure more resilient to the escalating threats of an already changing climate, an effort that will provide more and better next-generation jobs that can help stabilize families and open new pathways for future prosperity. And the creation of an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health would be a vital step toward ameliorating—and even ending—some of the gravest and most persistent dangers to human life, from diabetes to cancer. Taken together, these programs will help transform America so a state of well-being is in reach of everyone—no matter their identity, location or background.
As the president reminded us last night, right now, we have “the chance to deliver real equity, good jobs, good schools, affordable housing, clean air, clean water, [the ability] to generate wealth and pass it down to generations.” Together they all contribute to stronger and more vibrant communities that can fortify every aspect of society. People and organizations across the country should embrace this chance—and each do our part to make health, well-being and equity available to all.