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Overdose fatality reviews allow states to examine and understand the circumstances surrounding fatal drug overdoses. Review teams can uncover the individual and population factors and characteristics of potential overdose victims. Knowing the who, what, when, where, and how of fatal overdoses provides a better sense of the strategies and coordination needed to prevent future overdoses.Read More »

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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 »

As E-Cigarette Popularity Rises, State Legislatures Look to Curb their Appeal with Price Increases

September 20, 2018|4:14 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use by youth is a growing concern among state and federal policymakers and a public health issue that FDA claims has “hit epidemic proportions.” On Sept. 12, FDA took historic action against more than 1,300 retailers and five major manufacturers for enabling youth access to e-cigarette products through illegal sales and false marketing. Read More »

Connecting Public Health and Philanthropy: A Conversation with Judy Monroe

September 20, 2018|1:52 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Judy Monroe (alumna-IN) is president and CEO of CDC Foundation. A former CDC deputy director and director of the Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (CSTLTS), Monroe also previously served as Indiana’s state health commissioner and president of ASTHO. In 2017, ASTHO opened a regional office in CDC Foundation’s headquarters in Atlanta. With this in mind, ASTHO spoke to Monroe about her past experience, the foundation and its relationship with CDC, and opportunities for collaboration between ASTHO and CDC Foundation. Read More »

Why Medicaid is Important to Advance Maternal Health in the United States

September 13, 2018|9:39 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country in the world and the rate is climbing higher each year. On average, between 700 and 900 American women die each year (and 65,000 nearly die) from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. Moreover, there are pronounced racial and geographic disparities in the U.S. maternal mortality rate. Black women die from pregnancy-related causes at three to four times the rate of white women, even after controlling for socioeconomic factors. Women in rural areas also have higher maternal mortality rates than those of their urban counterparts. Read More »

APHL's Scott Becker Explains How NewSTEPs 360 is Promoting Innovation in Newborn Screening

September 12, 2018|5:13 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Newborn Screening Awareness Month takes place every September to remind new and expecting parents, healthcare professionals, and the public about the importance of newborn screening to test babies for certain diseases and conditions before the symptoms even appear. This includes blood testing, hearing screening, and pulse oximetry. Throughout the month, public health and newborn screening communities rally around the principle that all babies deserve a healthy start. Ahead of this year’s observance, Scott Becker, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), discusses initiatives and collaborations to help improve newborn screening, as well as the work ASTHO is doing to promote this vital work among state and territorial public health leaders. Read More »

ASTHO CMO Offers Solutions Following CDC Report Warning of Rising Heart Disease Burden

September 06, 2018|3:24 p.m.| Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH

On Sept. 6, CDC released a Vital Signs report detailing state-specific data on emergency department visits, hospitalizations, medical costs, and deaths associated with heart disease and stroke. Particularly concerning is the significant burden of heart disease among those aged 35-64, which account for one-third of reported cardiovascular events. Read More »

State Activity Addressing PFAS Exposure

September 06, 2018|2:23 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Over the past couple of years, rising health concerns related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have resulted in state policymakers taking action to reduce, monitor, and regulate PFAS exposure. For example, Michigan’s efforts to test all of the state’s water systems for PFAS revealed alarming levels of PFAS in the drinking water of one township and led to a declared state emergency. Read More »

New Mexico Implements and Expands Physical Activity Programs in Rural Communities

September 05, 2018|3:23 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Since 1995, the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center (UNM-PRC) has been working in partnership with underrepresented and under-resourced rural communities to improve health outcomes, education, and quality of life. In 2007, UNM-PRC partnered with Cuba, New Mexico, a rural-frontier, tri-ethnic community, to successfully implement evidence-based physical activity programs. Since then, UNM-PRC has scaled this program model to 31 other rural communities in New Mexico. Read More »

Larry Sabato on the Politics of Public Health

August 30, 2018|12:16 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

In a year filled with politics, primaries, polls, and elections, everyone turns to longtime political analyst and veteran election prognosticator Larry Sabato. A Rhodes Scholar and author of more than twenty books on political analysis and history, Sabato is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, founder and director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, and creator of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a free newsletter and must-read for all political junkies. Read More »

State Action to Stem Rising Prescription Drug Costs

August 30, 2018|11:52 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

The high cost of prescription drugs is a persistent problem in the United States, with about 10 percent of overall health spending attributed to prescription drugs. In recent years, there has been increased interest among states to address the rising cost of prescription drugs. Just this year, 24 states passed 37 bills to stem rising drug costs. In total, state legislatures have introduced 160 bills targeting prescription drug costs in 2018. Read More »

Leadership Defines A Legacy: State Approaches to Health Equity

August 16, 2018|10:36 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

On Aug. 6, the world mourned the death of Margaret Heckler, the former HHS secretary under President Ronald Reagan who worked to prioritize health disparities and social determinants of health. In 1985, Heckler commissioned the landmark Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health. Now commonly known as the Heckler report, this assessment highlighted the disproportionate burden of death and illness impacting racial and ethnic minorities and initiated a taskforce to improve the health of minorities and eliminate health disparities, the first of its kind by the federal government. Read More »

State Policy Approaches to Incorporating Doula Services into Maternal Care

August 09, 2018|3:59 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Maternal mortality rates in the United States continue to rise, with ethnic and racial minority populations facing even starker statistics. Policymakers are pursuing a variety of approaches to improve perinatal and postnatal care to support healthy and safe pregnancies, including expanding access to doula services. A doula is a trained professional that provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support during and shortly after childbirth. Through this continuous support system, doulas positively impact both mothers and babies, as well as help families achieve a healthy and positive birthing experience. For women at-risk for adverse birth outcomes because of racial disparities, doula care can provide positive benefits and improve factors that mediate mortality, including decreasing cesarean births, operative vaginal births, use of analgesics, and duration of labor. Read More »

Affordable Care Act Update

August 02, 2018|5:33 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

While state public health agencies recognize that much of what contributes to health lies outside the doctor’s office, there is evidence demonstrating that stable and ongoing insurance coverage enables consumers to utilize preventive and primary care services that improve outcomes and downstream healthcare spending. Changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that have occurred over the past several years are likely to impact market stability and insurance coverage, as well as actions states are pursuing, given uncertainty around the future of ACA. Read More »

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