ASTHO Policy Summit & Anniversary Gala Recap

September 20, 2017|8:45 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Tues, Sept. 19 – ASTHO Policy Summit & Anniversary Gala Recap

2017 Policy Summit Presenter Andrew GurmanPolicy Summit – ASTHO kicked off with a policy summit featuring leader-to-leader executive roundtable sessions and a keynote luncheon address from Andrew Gurman, immediate past president of the American Medical Association (AMA) who spoke about AMA’s advocacy efforts on key public health issues such as reversing the opioid epidemic, healthcare reform, and greater transparency surrounding pharmaceutical pricing.

ASTHO's 75th Anniversary GalaASTHO 75th Anniversary Gala – The evening honored public health leaders and celebrated the power of state and territorial public health. Nirav Shah, senior vice president and chief operations officer of clinical operations at Kaiser Permanente, Southern California, gave the keynote address on the importance of standardization, innovation, and transparency in healthcare and public health systems change. “We need to embrace bottom-up, community-directed solutioning, tied to evidence-based strategies supported by a transparency agenda,” Shah advised. An awards reception followed in which ASTHO recognized its 2017 leadership awardees.

Wed, Sept. 20 – ASTHO Annual Meeting

The 2017 ASTHO Annual Meeting kicked off with ASTHO President Jay Butler, ASTHO Executive Director Michael Fraser, and LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the District of Columbia Department of Health, by providing opening remarks, followed by a day full of enriching and inspiring presentations and discussion. 

Highlights include: 

  • New Frontiers PresentersNew Frontiers in Public Health Approaches to Substance Misuse and Addictions – Ed Morrow, external affairs manager of the Royal Society for Public Health (Great Britain), outlined a report that argues for different approaches to drug policy that move away from viewing drug use through an ideological lens and toward an evidence-based approach. Morrow called for closely aligned, health-led strategies, and using public health workforce to support drug users entering treatment. Nora Volkow, MD, director of the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, discussed skyrocketing fentanyl-related deaths, as well as the NIH Research Initiative, which uses research to help end the opioid epidemic.
  •  
  • 21st Century Cures Act Presenters21st Century Cures Act and Future Opportunities for Public Health – Wilson Compton, deputy director of the NIH National Institutes on Drug Abuse; Rob Morrison, executive director and director of legislative affairs for the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors; and Anita Everett, chief medical officer of SAMHSA, shared their visions for public health and discussed the strategic priorities and current initiatives to address substance misuse with a focus on the 21st Century Cures Act and Future Opportunities for Public Health 
  •  
  • From the Field PresentersFrom the Field: States and Territories Responding to the Opioid Crisis – This discussion highlighted states and territorial responses to the opioid crisis, featuring state health officials Monica Bharel (MA), John Dreyzehner (TN), and Rahul Gupta (WV). Bharel focused on risks and opportunities for intervention based on data from Massachusetts. Dreyzehner spoke candidly about mistakes made and challenges during the initial years responding to the opioid crisis in Tennessee. Gupta outlined the comprehensive public health strategy and policy strategies enacted to address the opioid epidemic in West Virginia. 
  •  
  • Keynote Speaker Anna LembkeLuncheon Keynote: Reframing Medical Practice Involving Controlled Substances – Anna Lembke, medical director of addiction medicine and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford University and author of Drug Dealer, MD. Lembke took a broad view of the opioid epidemic, looking at how doctors, drug-seekers, and big pharma have all played key roles in contributing to the crisis. Lembke also addressed myths surrounding opioid prescribing and looked at how public health and healthcare providers can improve by using practices such as mindful prescribing, fewer prescriptions, and vigorous prescription drug monitoring programs. 
  •  
  • Richard BesserKeynote and Dialogue: Creating A Culture of Health – Richard Besser, president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, spoke about the many ways to become public health leaders, including bringing the public health message directly to the public, using stories to touch the heart, using the media in an advantageous way, and reaching people where they are. 
  •  
  • Working Together to Create a Culture of Health PresentersWorking Together to Create a Culture of Health: Local and State Perspectives – Lillian Shirley, state public health director of the Oregon Health Authority, discussed the roadmap she used to modernize the Oregon Health Authority by improving capacity, coordinating public health with stakeholders for the greatest impact on health, and improving health outcomes through accountability metrics and evaluation. Umair Shah, executive director of Harris Country Public Health, Texas, spoke about the importance of considering the social determinants of health and knowing the community before developing plans and creating strategies to address public health challenges. Shah also shared recent experiences in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, including the inspiring ways in which communities can come together and collaborate following the devastation that occurs after a major weather event. 
  •  
  • A Look Forward at Public Health's Future Presenter Clem BezoldASTHO’s 75th Anniversary: A Look Forward at Public Health’s Future – Clem Bezold, chairman and senior futurist at the Institute for Alternative Futures, outlined how ASTHO and the Institute for Alternative Futures developed three scenarios describing how the future of public health may unfold until 2035. Bezold encouraged state health officials to utilize these scenarios to help inform strategic planning efforts in their health agencies. 
  •  
  • A Conversaton with the Surgeon General Presenter VADM Jerome AdamsA Conversation with the Surgeon General – VADM Jerome Adams, spoke about the role of the Surgeon General, the importance of working with law enforcement to address the opioid epidemic, collaborating with all stakeholders—big and small—to improve health equity, and the economic argument for public health.
  •  

ASTHO recognized Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, and Virginia with 2017 Vision Awards, as well as winners of the first-ever PH WINS: Research to Action Model Policies and Practices Challenge. 

We look forward to the second day of the 2017 ASTHO Annual Meeting! A full agenda of events can be found here.