Featured Story


As we kick off 2017, here are a few items I predict will be key priorities and issues for ASTHO this year. While I do not have a crystal ball, several issues will certainly challenge us, presenting new opportunities for state and territorial public health agencies.Read More »

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Member Spotlight: Esther Muña

January 19, 2017|12:56 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Esther Muña is chief executive officer for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, the health agency for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which is responsible for the territory’s sole hospital, dialysis center, community health center, as well as other public health services and programs. Muña has served on ASTHO’s Access Policy Committee for three years. Read More »

Medicaid and Social Determinants of Health: ASTHO and HHS Engage State and Local Leaders in Dialogue

January 17, 2017|5:08 p.m.| Karen DeSalvo and Michael Fraser

On January 6, 2017, ASTHO gathered state health officials, state Medicaid directors, and HHS and non-profit stakeholders from the New England and Empire regions to learn from one another and identify new ways to collaborate to achieve better health for their communities. Read More »

The State Role in Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act Implementation

January 13, 2017|1:36 p.m.| Anna Bartels

SAMHSA has reported that approximately one in five, or 43.6 million, American adults have experienced some form of mental illness in the past year, and eight percent, or 20.2 million had a substance use disorder. Yet nearly 60 percent of these adults with mental illness did not receive mental health services in 2014, and black and Hispanic Americans utilize mental health services at about half the rate of white Americans and a third the rate of Asian Americans. Read More »

Member Spotlight: Terry Cline

January 12, 2017|4:04 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Terry Cline, PhD, is commissioner of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which is responsible for health departments in 68 counties across the state and provides oversight of more than 114,000 assorted business and occupational licenses annually, in addition to disease surveillance and intervention, emergency preparedness, maternal and child health, the WIC program, tobacco and obesity reduction programs, and many other services. In addition, Cline served on the ASTHO Board of Directors for seven years, in various capacities including regional representative and president. Read More »

Public Health Issues to Watch in 2017

January 12, 2017|3:35 p.m.| KT Kramer

As the 2017 state legislative sessions get under way, trends in proposed legislation are emerging. Responding to the opioid epidemic remains a major priority for lawmakers. Read More »

Leading State Health: Ed Ehlinger

January 05, 2017|12:46 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

In his latest blog post, Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health, delivers a thought-provoking essay about health, housing instability, and policy decisions through the eyes of characters from a classic fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs. Read More »

Member Spotlight: John Hellerstedt

January 04, 2017|4:27 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

John Hellerstedt, MD, is commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, one of the state’s largest agencies. As commissioner, Hellerstedt oversees disease prevention and disaster preparedness, community health services, environmental and consumer safety, state mental health facilities, and the state’s regulatory programs. Read More »

Member Spotlight: Jerome Adams

December 22, 2016|3:31 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Jerome Adams, MD, is commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health. In this role he oversees the public health protection and laboratory services, health and human services, healthcare quality and regulatory, and tobacco prevention and cessation commissions. Read More »

States Implement Policy Measures in 2016 to Address Opioid Misuse

December 22, 2016|3:16 p.m.| KT Kramer

ASTHO tracked legislation across the 48 jurisdictions that held legislative sessions in 2016 to identify the actions policymakers are taking to protect public health. Read More »

Member Spotlight: Harry Chen

December 15, 2016|2:38 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Harry Chen, MD, has been commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health since 2011. On Jan. 5, 2017, he will step down, having decided not to seek reappointment. Chen spoke with ASTHO about his tenure as a state health official and why he believes public health is so important. Read More »

Member Spotlight: Richard Opper

December 08, 2016|3:05 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Richard H. Opper, MS, is the state health officer and director of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, an agency that also provides human services, such as SNAP and TANF benefits. In addition, the department protects children and adults from abuse and neglect, provides services to people with disabilities, and administers the state’s Medicaid program. Read More »

Member Spotlight: Elke Shaw-Tulloch

December 01, 2016|10:50 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Elke Shaw-Tulloch, MHS, is administrator of the Division of Public Health at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, which serves the state by providing infrastructure for population health initiatives and acts as a first responder during times of public health need. She has been an ASTHO member since 2012 and she currently services on ASTHO’s board of directors. Read More »

ASTHO President Rallies Health Officials to Prevent Substance Misuse and Addictions

November 15, 2016|1:16 p.m.| Leslie Erdelack

Substance misuse remains a serious and multifaceted public health problem in the United States, one that ASTHO President Jay Butler will confront as part of the 2017 President’s Challenge. Read More »

Leading State Health: David Sundwall on Public Health and the Presidential Election

November 10, 2016|4:33 p.m.| David Sundwall

With the transition to a new presidential administration, ASTHO continues to advance its nonpartisan agenda to transform state and territorial public health. Read More »

How Public Health Fared on the Ballot in 2016

November 10, 2016|3:58 p.m.| KT Kramer

On Tuesday, voters across the country had the opportunity to influence state policy through ballot initiatives on key public health issues like marijuana use, tobacco taxes, and health system reform. While official results are a few weeks away, the preliminary results are in. Read More »

Open Enrollment Period Begins November 1 for Marketplace Insurance Coverage

November 04, 2016|12:19 p.m.| Anna Bartels

State and territorial health departments are well-positioned to raise awareness of resources and enrollment deadlines to expand access to health insurance coverage. Read More »

Closing the Gap on Health Disparities

October 31, 2016|3:23 p.m.| Kathy Sykes

The elimination of health disparities in the U.S. would mean billions of dollars in savings in direct healthcare spending. Read More »

Advancing Health Equity Blog Series: Introduction

October 31, 2016|2:52 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

This 2016-2017 blog series on advancing health equity in state and territorial public health will feature leaders from across the country who are advancing health equity and optimal health for all by addressing the social determinants of health. Read More »

Social Determinants of Health and Infant Mortality: Cross-Cutting Actions

October 28, 2016|1:25 p.m.| Alethia Carr and Kay Johnson

Each day this week, ASTHO’s blog StatePublicHealth.org will take a look at a set of strategies developed by the Social Determinants of Health Learning Network as part of the nationwide Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN). Today, the topic is cross-cutting policies and program as described in the WHO framework for tackling social determinants of health. Read More »

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