Featured Story

FeaturedStory

November 15 is the Great American Smokeout, an event that the American Cancer Society has hosted for over 40 years every third Thursday of November. It began in the 1970s when smoking and secondhand smoke were more common and has since helped dramatically change Americans’ attitudes about tobacco. In the wake of new data that shows cigarette smoking among adults is at an all-time low, this year’s observance is an opportunity to both reflect on a major public health success story and look ahead at new policy and systems change strategies to reduce the harmful health effects of all tobacco products on the market. Read More »

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ASTHO Thanks the Public Health Community

November 19, 2018|1:28 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

ASTHO is celebrating Public Health Thank You Day by thanking all state and territorial public health professionals for their tireless work and service in helping to protect and improve the nation’s health. This year, ASTHO’s president and members of the board of directors reflect on what they are most thankful for as public health leaders and offer a “thank you” message to some of their own personal mentors. Read More »

The Right Track: ASTHO’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Fellowship

November 19, 2018|12:48 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

From the air we breathe to the water we drink, our health is directly impacted by the health of our environment. But how many of us have considered the possible threat of Radon, the potentially poisonous gas, seeping into our newly acquired dream home? Or how to make time-sensitive decisions about protecting our family’s health during a wildfire smoke event? Fortunately, CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Program is working around the clock, focusing their state-based efforts on protecting people from these and other possible health threats. Read More »

As Cottage Food Production Increases, States Balance Economic Benefits and Food Safety

November 19, 2018|10:14 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Over the past few years, local and small-scale food production has increased in the United States. As of August 2018, there were 8,720 farmers markets listed in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, a seven percent increase since 2013. With the recent growth in demand for local foods and the increased availability of venues to purchase these foods, individuals are producing and selling more food and beverages made in home kitchens, commonly referred to as cottage foods. State and local health agencies are often responsible for enforcing food safety laws and regulating food production. By licensing and monitoring food production, health agencies are in a position to prevent, reduce, and mitigate outbreaks of foodborne illness. Read More »

Approaches for Improving Oral Health Outcomes for Low Income Americans

November 15, 2018|5:10 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Poor oral health is considered a health disparity for low-income children and adults; it has significant impacts on the overall health and well-being especially for those who are vulnerable. Dental illnesses significantly increase the risk of chronic health conditions, may result in missed days of work and school, negatively affect employability, and increase use of expensive acute care. States can utilize a variety of approaches to mitigate this issue for low income Americans. Read More »

Rural-Proofing: A Conversation with North Dakota’s Mylynn Tufte on National Rural Health Day

November 14, 2018|5:42 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Mylynn Tufte is state health officer of the North Dakota Department of Health. Tufte has more than 20 years of experience in the health industry, serving in a strategic and health advisory role to some of the largest payers and providers in the country. In recognition of this year’s National Rural Health Day, ASTHO spoke with Tufte about the unique challenges faced by rural communities, steps North Dakota is taking to address disparities and improve health outcomes in the state, and how the 2019 ASTHO President’s Challenge, “Building Healthy and Resilient Communities,” aligns with these activities. Read More »

2018 Midterm Election: Impacts on Public Health Priorities

November 08, 2018|1:30 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

With the Democrats in the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Republicans maintaining control of the U.S. Senate for the next two years, ASTHO anticipates these changes will have an impact on public health, including the federal budget, oversight, ACA, and the potential for gridlock in Washington, D.C. Read More »

To Combat the Childhood Obesity Epidemic, States and Territories Leverage School Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies

November 01, 2018|4:43 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Earlier this month, ASTHO released “Preventing Childhood Obesity Through Healthy Communities,” a new episode in its Public Health Review podcast series. The episode, featuring leaders from CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity and the Tennessee Department of Health, highlights the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic and discusses ways to reduce climbing obesity rates by increasing access to healthy foods and promoting physical activity. Read More »

Emerging Topics in Public Health Accreditation: Aligning Accreditation and Opioid Response Activities

October 30, 2018|10:34 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) serves as a framework to help health agencies respond to emerging public health issues by systematically examining their infrastructure, policies, and processes. With the opioid epidemic continuing to impact communities across the United States, preparation, coordination, and efficiency are crucial to a health agency’s ability to prepare for and respond to this public health crisis. Read More »

Prescription Drug Take Back Events Raise Awareness About Safe Drug Use, Storage, and Disposal

October 25, 2018|2:41 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

October 27 marks the DEA’s next Take Back Day: a nationwide event designed to encourage communities to dispose of and destroy expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Prescription drug take back programs were conceptualized in the early 2000s with a dual purpose: (1) to reduce contamination caused by prescription drugs in the environment and (2) to prevent the misuse of unused prescriptions. Read More »

Expecting the Unexpected - An Interview with CDC's Anne Schuchat

October 25, 2018|12:27 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Rear Admiral Anne Schuchat, MD, is CDC’s principal deputy director. Schuchat has worked at CDC since 1988 in the areas of immunization, respiratory, and infectious disease. During her career, she has also worked on the frontlines of disease emergency responses, including the SARS outbreak in China, the prevention of infectious streptococcal disease in children, the 2009 H1N1 response, and most recently last year’s flu season, the worst in nearly a decade. At ASTHO’s annual meeting in September, Schuchat received the Ed Thompson Lifetime Achievement Medal. Following the ceremony, ASTHO reached out to Schuchat, who reflected on her career in public health, her advocacy work around vaccination, and future public health priorities. Read More »

State Relief and Empowerment Waiver Guidance

October 25, 2018|12:18 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

On Oct. 22, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new guidance on Section 1332 of the ACA, allowing states new flexibilities in the marketplace through Section 1332 waivers—now referred to as State Relief and Empowerment waivers. Read More »

Legislative and Legal Approaches to Address Key Rural Health Issues

October 18, 2018|3:38 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

This week, National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released the Life in Rural America report. Based on a survey of 1,300 adults ages 18 or older living in the rural United States, the report reveals the views and experiences of rural Americans facing a number of economic and health issues. Read More »

Larry Cohen Reflects on a Career in Public Health and the Future of Prevention

October 11, 2018|12:48 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Larry Cohen is founder and executive director of the Prevention Institute, a national nonprofit that works to shape the way the country thinks about health and prevention. This October, the Prevention Institute celebrates its 21-year anniversary and Cohen plans to retire. ASTHO recently spoke to Cohen about his leadership, how to maximize the value of prevention work to breakdown silos and better support communities, what excites him most about the current generation of public health leaders, and strategies to advance public health prevention and innovation. Read More »

As Urgent Care Centers Increase, Licensing Authority Falling Under State Health Agencies

October 11, 2018|11:42 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

The number of urgent care centers in the United States is rapidly growing. According to an urgent care trade association, the number of centers grew by five percent between 2016 and 2017, from 7,271 to 7,639. Additionally, the number of private insurance claim lines for urgent care centers (i.e., the individual procedures listed on an insurance claim) increased by 1,725 percent between 2007 and 2016, more than seven times the growth of emergency room claim lines in the same period. Poor access to primary care, overburdened primary care providers, and emergency room wait times and overcrowding are seen as contributing factors to the increase in urgent care centers over the last five years. Read More »

Rhode Island Coordinates Statewide Efforts to Address Lead Exposure in Maternal and Child Health Populations

October 11, 2018|10:48 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Oct. 11 is Children’s Environmental Health Day, a day to raise awareness around children’s health issues, share successes and new initiatives, and discuss ongoing challenges. Children continue to face high rates of chronic diseases and developmental disabilities linked to environmental exposures. One of the harmful environmental exposures that state health agencies have prioritized is lead. Read More »

ASTHO Annual Policy Summit and Leader to Leader Roundtable Highlights

October 04, 2018|12:54 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

ASTHO hosted its annual policy summit last week, offering state and territorial health officials and other invited guests an opportunity to focus on priority and emerging policy issues facing public health agencies. After a morning plenary presentation from the National Partnership for Action on ways state and territorial health agencies can help end health disparities, participants attended a set of leader to leader executive roundtables. Read More »

ASTHO’s 2018 Vision Awards Recognize Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas

September 28, 2018|9:53 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

On Sept. 25, ASTHO presented four state health departments with 2018 Vision Awards during its annual conference. Created in 1990, the awards are presented annually to recognize outstanding programs or initiatives at state and territorial health departments that demonstrate creative approaches to address public health challenges. The Vision Awards promote awareness and expand recognition of successful state and territorial health programs. Read More »

Day Two: 2018 ASTHO Annual Meeting Recap

September 27, 2018|2:27 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

ASTHO CEO Michael Fraser opened the second day of ASTHO’s annual meeting by congratulating and officially introducing ASTHO President Nicole Alexander-Scott (SHO-RI) and ASTHO President-Elect Nate Smith (SHO-AR). Read the full announcement here. ASTHO Immediate Past-President John Wiesman (SHO-WA), ASTHO Past President Jay Butler (SHO-AK), and Mary Currier (SHO-MS) then presented the Ed Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award to Anne Schuchat, CDC’s principal deputy director. Additionally, Schuchat provided welcoming remarks and reflected on her career in public health and spoke about CDC’s current direction and future priorities. Read More »

Day One: 2018 ASTHO Annual Meeting Recap

September 26, 2018|6:24 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Policy Summit – ASTHO kicked off the day with a policy summit featuring leader-to-leader executive roundtable sessions with several federal partners and a keynote luncheon address from Larry Sabato, Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and founder and director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. During the keynote, Sabato provided a historical review of previous midterm elections, the current political environment, and his forecast for the November midterm elections. ASTHO’s six policy committees met later in the day to discuss emerging policy issues. Read More »

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