Featured Story

FeaturedStory

ASTHO launched a social media campaign to showcase successful public health initiatives and outcomes from every state, U.S. territory, and freely associated state. Visit our website to view the full collection of successes featured in the campaign as part of ASTHO’s 75th anniversary.Read More »

See more featured stories »

Striving to Improve Influenza Immunization Uptake in Hispanic Adults in New York State

December 08, 2017|10:53 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

While scientific data and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree that the influenza (flu) vaccine is the best way to prevent and reduce the number and severity of illnesses caused by the influenza virus, lower flu vaccination coverage persists within the U.S. population and is even lower in racial and ethnic minorities. Specifically, in New York State, influenza and pneumonia is ranked in the top five leading causes of death among Hispanics, in part due to lower rates of vaccine coverage due to vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine hesitancy is a behavior in which individuals may delay or refuse vaccines due to a variety of factors including misconceptions or misinformation about vaccines, lack of general knowledge about vaccines, and other socio-cultural factors. Read More »

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana

December 07, 2017|4:57 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Currently, 31 states and territories, as well as Washington, D.C., authorize the use of medical marijuana and establish the qualifying or debilitating conditions a person must have before being allowed to use it. While all legislatures can add or remove the conditions for medical marijuana, many have delegated the authority to approve new qualifying or debilitating conditions to state and territorial health agencies. Read More »

Member Spotlight: Lance Himes

December 07, 2017|1:27 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Lance Himes is director for the Ohio Department of Health. Before serving as director, Himes served in the agency’s legal department for more than 10 years, where he oversaw several attorneys and office staff. A successful public health attorney, Himes played a significant role in the legal implementation of Ohio’s smoke-free workplace law and rules, as well as an extensive overhaul of Ohio’s sewage treatment regulations, which helped reform the laws for the first time since 1977. As director, Himes helps drive the mission of the Ohio Department of Health—that is, to protect and improve the health of all Ohioans by preventing disease, promoting good health, and assuring access to quality care. Read More »

Tobacco Companies Highlight Deadly Health Effects of Smoking

December 01, 2017|11:13 a.m.| Marcus Plescia and Erin Boles Welsh

By the time the Pilgrims celebrated their first Thanksgiving in 1621, tobacco was an established agricultural commodity. John Rolfe is credited with introducing commercial cultivation of tobacco in Jamestown in 1612, with the first shipment sent to England in 1617. Even then, critics raised concerns about the adverse health effects of tobacco, including King James I, who described it as “loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black and stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.”. Read More »

State Legislation to Prevent Antibiotic Resistant Infections

November 30, 2017|3:44 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Each year, antibiotic resistant infections are responsible for approximately two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States. In 2017, ASTHO tracked state legislation aimed at preventing antibiotic resistance. Read More »

Member Spotlight: Thomas Williams

November 30, 2017|3:13 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Thomas Williams, MD, serves a dual role as chief medical officer and director of the Division of Public Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to this, Williams, an anatomic and clinical pathologist with subspecialty expertise in chemical pathology, practiced medicine at the Nebraska Methodist Hospital. Read More »

Preparedness From the Field: Harry Bruce Jeffries, Jr.

November 21, 2017|4:27 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Harry Bruce Jeffries, Jr., commonly known as Jeff, is the deputy director of health protection at the Georgia Department of Public Health. In this role, Jeff oversees the state’s Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), Pubic Health Emergency Preparedness Program (PHEP), immunization section, Office of Refugee Health, and Office of Pharmacy. . Read More »

ASTHO Thanks the Public Health Community!

November 17, 2017|3:00 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Today, ASTHO joins Research!America in celebrating Public Health Thank You Day—an opportunity to thank all of the dedicated public health professionals for their tireless work and service in helping to protect and improve the health of all people and communities. To show their gratitude for the public health workforce, members of ASTHO’s board of directors shared a few personal messages, each detailing what they are most thankful for as public health leaders. . Read More »

Opioid-related Overdoses as a Reportable Condition

November 16, 2017|4:03 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

While data shows a dramatic rise in the opioid-related overdose death rate, the rate of nonfatal opioid overdoses remains a mystery. Accurate and timely information about nonfatal opioid-related overdoses can be used to identify areas where health agencies can increase intervention measures. It can also be used by community outreach organizations to provide additional resources. . Read More »

The Power of Rural: Kim Malsam-Rysdon Discusses South Dakota Efforts to Improve Rural Health

November 13, 2017|5:39 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

On the third Thursday of November each year, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health celebrates National Rural Health Day to highlight public health and healthcare successes in rural communities across the country and provide an opportunity to discuss the challenges these communities face. With this in mind, ASTHO spoke with Kim Malsam-Rysdon, secretary of health for the South Dakota State Department of Health, to discuss South Dakota’s efforts to improve rural health statewide. Read More »

How to Make an Impact in the Lives of Low-Income and Rural Tobacco Users

November 13, 2017|3:44 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

According to CDC, factors like income level and whether one lives in a metropolitan, urban, or rural area have a significant impact on one’s likelihood to smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products. To gain a better perspective on tobacco control initiatives designed for rural and low-income tobacco users, ASTHO spoke with Donald R. Reed Jr. – a tobacco treatment specialist and faculty member with the West Virginia University Extension Service in McDowell County – after he participated in a Truth Initiative Warner Series panel discussion on eliminating tobacco use disparities. Reed’s insights on and experiences with reaching out to rural and low-income West Virginians can inform state and territorial health department efforts to deliver tobacco-free messaging and resources to populations that disproportionately shoulder the health burdens of tobacco use. Read More »

Economic Research, Policy, and Infant Health

November 09, 2017|4:48 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Recent research is expanding our understanding of how social and economic factors impact child health. Through research such as this, public health leaders are better positioned to serve as chief health strategists and partner across sectors to improve outcomes surrounding infant mortality and low birthweight. Read More »

Member Spotlight: Lillian Shirley

November 09, 2017|1:48 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Lillian Shirley is director for the Oregon Public Health Division. Before coming to Oregon, Shirley served as director of public health for the city of Boston and executive director of the Boston Health Commission, where she led the agency through the establishment, design, and organization of the new public health authority in Boston. A local and a national leader in advancing public health, Shirley has served on the boards of the Public Health Foundation, the Oregon Public Health Institute, and the Portland Sustainable Development Commission. In addition, Shirley was president of the National Association of City and County Health Officials. She received the National Public Health Institute’s Balderson Award and has been recognized by Research America as a public health hero. Read More »

Opioid Commission Recommendations and the Three-Day Rule

November 02, 2017|11:52 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

This week, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released its final report setting out 55 recommendations for addressing the national opioid crisis. The recommendations address issues such as federal funding and programs, opioid addiction prevention, and research and development. Read More »

Member Spotlight: Ed Ehlinger

November 02, 2017|10:36 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Ed Ehlinger, MD, is commissioner of health for the Minnesota Department of Health. As commissioner, Ehlinger is responsible for directing the work of the Minnesota Department of Health, which is dedicated to protecting, maintaining, and improving the health of all Minnesotans. A past-president of ASTHO, Ehlinger previously served as director and chief health officer at Boynton Health Service at the University of Minnesota, as well as director of Personal Health Services for the Minneapolis Health Department. Read More »

Jim Blumenstock Leads ASTHO Public Health Preparedness Efforts

October 26, 2017|2:01 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Jim Blumenstock is chief program officer for health security at ASTHO. His portfolio includes emergency preparedness and response, infectious and emerging diseases, immunization services, and environmental health. As an expert in public health preparedness, Blumenstock leads ASTHO’s state and territorial preparedness efforts, helping to ensure our nation’s health security. Read More »

States Using Coverage and Reimbursement Policy to Address the Opioid Epidemic

October 26, 2017|12:55 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved West Virginia’s demonstration waiver to create a continuum of care for individuals with substance use disorders (SUD). CMS has promoted the use of such waivers to address the opioid epidemic by implementing state-level delivery system reforms that ensure access to high-quality, evidence-based treatment and recovery services. Read More »

Using Environmental Public Health Tracking to Improve Health in Colorado: An Interview with Martha Rudolph

October 25, 2017|11:56 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

ASTHO recently spoke with Martha Rudolph, director of environmental programs at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), about how environmental public health tracking program has helped protect Colorado communities. Read More »

What a Federal Emergency Declaration for Opioids Might Look Like for States

October 19, 2017|4:40 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Earlier this week, President Trump stated that a “major announcement” about the opioid crisis would be coming shortly, probably by next week. There are a few ways the federal government could go about in declaring the opioid crisis an emergency. Below is a brief summary of the measures that could be taken at the federal level and some of the potential impacts on states. Read More »

Member Spotlight: Christopher Pezzullo

October 19, 2017|3:47 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Christopher Pezzullo, DO, is state health officer for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). A graduate of the University of New England College Of Osteopathic Medicine, Pezzullo has practiced medicine for more than 20 years as a pediatrician. Pezzullo previously served as the medical director of the division of population health at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and chief medical officer for University Health Care. Pezzullo’s clinical interests include developmental, behavioral, and integrative pediatrics. He and his family reside in Cape Elizabeth. Read More »

See additional recent stories »