Public Policy


Advocacy Materials


State Solutions to Public Health Challenges

As states face many emerging and ongoing public health challenges, they must have the necessary tools to address these issues. This can be achieved through flexibility and adaptability to effectively target a state-specific problem, strengthened workforce capacity to prioritize and implement fundamental changes that enhance public health service delivery and impact, and an understanding how different environmental contaminants affect people’s health. Not all prevention and health promotion happens in a doctor's office, as many individuals only see a health professional when they are sick. State solutions to their unique public health challenges can help to minimize negative health effects on our nation.


Vaccinations are one of the most cost-effective public health approaches to reducing healthcare costs because they prevent disease before it occurs and spreads through our communities. Routine childhood vaccination will prevent 322 million cases of disease and approximately 732,000 early deaths among children born from 1994 to 2013, for a net societal cost savings of $1.38 trillion. In contrast, vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks are costly. A March 2014 study found that in 2011, 16 measles outbreaks resulted in a total of 107 cases and cost local and state public health agencies $2.7 - $5.3 million.

Protection and Security

The Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Cooperative Agreements program provides critical funding to state and local health departments to enhance and improve their capabilities to prepare for and respond to a range of public health threats. The federal dollars delivered through PHEP help develop emergency-ready public health departments that are flexible, adaptable, and resilient. In addition to PHEP, the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) provides essential funding to state and local health departments to enhance overall surge capacity in public health emergencies. The federal dollars delivered through HPP have strengthened the capabilities of hospitals throughout the country, which require special resources in responding to numerous natural and man-made disasters. It is vital that this funding continue to provide our nation's communities and hospitals with the necessary tools to respond quickly and collaboratively to these and other public health emergencies.

Outbreak Investigation and Response

State health agencies require effective and efficient systems to prevent and control infectious disease. The Core Infectious Disease (CID) Program provides funding to states to identify and monitor the occurrence of known infectious diseases, identify newly emerging infectious diseases, and identify and respond to outbreaks. In addition to CID, the United States also needs an integrated national food monitoring system with robust capacity at both the federal and state levels to effectively prevent foodborne illness. Foodborne diseases sicken one in six Americans each year, resulting in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, with an annual cost of $152 billion. State health agencies also systematically collect and analyze data to understand what infections are spreading in the population and how best to prevent them through the National Healthcare Safety Network. Healthcare-Associated Infections in hospitals alone result in up to $33 billion in excess medical costs every year. Understanding where these infections are originating and arming state health agencies with reliable data on how to prevent the spread of such contagions have demonstrated promising reductions in cost and prolonged hospital stays.

Additional Summary and Background Materials

Below is a chart of all ASTHO FY 2016 final appropriations program funding levels and FY 2017 funding recommendations as well as key points for each priority federal program.