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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States Consider a Wide Array of Paid Family Leave Legislation

March 21, 2019|11:20 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Paid family leave allows employees to take paid time off during pregnancy, after the birth or adoption of a child, or when a family member needs care. Only an estimated 13-14 percent of workers in the United States have access to employer-based paid family leave. Evidence shows that paid family leave provides health-related benefits for mothers and children including increases in health benefits associated with breastfeeding, better mother-child interactions, and decreased maternal and marital stress. Read More »

Innovative Approaches for Overdose Prevention

March 20, 2019|4:07 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

For several years, state opioid overdose prevention efforts have focused on a narrow set of strategies and policies such as morbidity and mortality surveillance, prescription drug monitoring programs, provider education and guidelines, and increasing access to naloxone. According to Martha Yeide, ASTHO’s senior director for social and behavioral health, “States have focused on implementing the strategies with the most available evidence or data suggesting efficacy in addressing the opioid epidemic. At this point, now that states have several years of experience in addressing these issues, we are realizing that we need to expand our focus to continue stabilizing and driving down overdose rates.”. Read More »

State and Federal Telehealth Policy Activity

March 14, 2019|1:32 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

With access to health services becoming an increasingly important issue, states are looking to telehealth as a mechanism to increase access and remove access barriers in 2019 legislative sessions. Telehealth uses electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical healthcare, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration. Telehealth modalities include live videoconferencing, store-and-forward, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health. Read More »

Public Health on the Hill: A Coalition for Sustained Support

March 07, 2019|1:36 p.m.| Adriane Casalotti, Chief of Government and Public Affairs, NACCHO | Carolyn Mullen, Chief of Government Affairs and Public Relations, ASTHO

Our nation’s public health system is, at its core, a partnership between federal, state, and local governments. While these partnerships are clear on the ground in communities, many members of Congress are unaware of the important work being done each day to keep their states and communities safe and healthy. Read More »

States Move Toward Regulating CBD Products

March 07, 2019|1:01 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

With the enactment of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, the federal government removed industrial hemp, as well as its derivatives, extracts, and cannabinoids, from the definition of marijuana. It will now be lawful to grow and process industrial hemp as long as it and any resulting products do not contain more than 0.3 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Industrial hemp contains a number of cannabinoids, chemical compounds that act on receptors affecting such things as appetite, learning, memory, anxiety, depression, and pain. One of the most widely known cannabinoids is cannabidiol or CBD. Read More »

Ensuring Schools Remain Tobacco-Free

February 28, 2019|1:37 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

According to CDC and FDA, e-cigarette use increased 78 percent among high school students between 2017 and 2018, resulting in 1.5 million more young e-cigarette smokers in the United States over the course of the past year. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams (alumnus-IN) described the increase in e-cigarette use among young people as an epidemic, releasing a public statement and an advisory. Read More »

ASTHO Member Spotlight: Thomas Dobbs

February 21, 2019|3:15 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Thomas Dobbs, MD, MPH, is state health officer for the Mississippi State Department of Health. Formerly state epidemiologist and deputy state health officer, Dobbs is an infectious diseases physician by training, with experience in public health, private practice, hospital administration, and academics. In addition to his role at the health department, Dobbs is currently an associate professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Population Health, where he teaches courses in epidemiology and health policy. Read More »

States Move to Eliminate Non-Medical Exemptions for Vaccinations

February 21, 2019|12:44 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

With the increased use of non-medical vaccine exemptions leading to more outbreaks of measles and other easily preventable diseases, ASTHO expects more states to eliminate non-medical exemptions. ASTHO will continue to keep its members and the public health community informed about this important policy area. Read More »

As Awareness Around the Importance of Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity Increases, State Legislation Follows Suit

February 14, 2019|10:37 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Policymakers are increasingly recognizing evidence regarding the role that the social determinants of health play in shaping individual and community wellness, health outcomes, and healthcare spending. Public health officials are well positioned to advance population health by creating policy, building partnerships across sectors, and advocating for community-defined priorities. State legislatures are also becoming increasingly active in this space. Read More »

Matters of the Heart and Mind

February 14, 2019|10:24 a.m.| Marcus Plescia MD, MPH | ASTHO Chief Medical Officer

Many of the activities that protect our hearts also protect our minds. This is particularly true for heart health. We’ve known for some time that preventive and medical interventions can reduce the risk of strokes. However, recent studies have shown that lifestyle modifications and medical treatments are associated with slowing cognitive impairment and lowering the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Read More »

Measles Outbreaks and School Exclusions: Public Health’s Authority to Protect Children and Stop the Spread of Disease

February 07, 2019|1:12 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

As they work to improve the health of tomorrow, today’s public health officials are increasingly occupied with the diseases of yesterday. For example, cases of measles, a highly contagious disease that was once a constant presence in the United States, have increased over the past several years, despite the ready availability of a highly effective vaccine (i.e., the MMR vaccine). Read More »

Preparedness in the Caribbean: A Conversation with Danny Staley

February 07, 2019|9:06 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Danny Staley (alumnus-NC) is chief of ASTHO’s Caribbean Operations. He previously served as director of the North Carolina Division of Public Health. Staley began his career in public health in 1992 after graduating from Appalachian State University with a degree in health education, followed by a master’s degree in community health administration and wellness promotion. Read More »

State Legislation Aimed at Preventing Hepatitis A Outbreaks Linked to Illicit Drug Use

January 31, 2019|4:56 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Since 2017, several states have experienced hepatitis A outbreaks. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease that can be spread through close personal contact with an infected person (e.g., via sexual intercourse, or sharing of personal items) or when a person eats food that is contaminated with the virus. In 2016, the last year with available data, there were an estimated 2,007 hepatitis A cases in the United States. However, even though the data for 2017 and 2018 cases are not yet available, CDC expects the incidence of hepatitis A to increase due ongoing outbreaks. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination and good hygiene (i.e. thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food). Read More »

ASTHO Speaks to CDC’s Stephen Redd as Atlanta Prepares for Super Bowl LIII

January 31, 2019|4:11 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Stephen Redd is CDC's Deputy Director for Public Health Service and Implementation Science and director of the Center for Preparedness and Response. He served as CDC’s acting principal deputy director from January to March 2018. Prior to this, Redd served as director of CDC’s Influenza Coordination Unit. During the H1N1 pandemic, he served as Incident Commander for the nearly yearlong response. Redd is a Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General in the United States Public Health Service. . Read More »

Three Things to Know About the Governmental Public Health Workforce: PH WINS 2017 Results

January 29, 2019|3:55 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

State health agencies and local health departments serve a critical role in promoting and protecting the health of all people in their jurisdictions and the communities in which they live, learn, work, and play. The workforce in state and local health departments is essential in preventing disease, promoting health and well-being, protecting communities, and building partnerships with other sectors to advance health. Read More »

Improving Public Health Surveillance Through Interoperability, Data Standards, and Legislation

January 24, 2019|2:13 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Emerging infectious diseases and natural disasters, as well as the ever-increasing prevalence of chronic disease, greatly increases the need for public health agencies to have more comprehensive knowledge of patients’ health coupled with an understanding of how to appropriately use technology. As patients move around the healthcare ecosystem, information from electronic health records (EHRs) must be available and understandable to help public health agencies identify threats to the health and safety of the population, as well as individuals. EHRs have also afforded patients better access to their own information and provided them with the opportunity to exercise some independence when making decisions for their own healthcare. Read More »

Using Evidence to Improve Public Health Outcomes

January 24, 2019|12:08 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

As public health practitioners strive to achieve optimal health for all, they seek to implement proven and cost-effective policies and practices that maximize scarce resources. One method for determining what is effective entails assessing the evidence base for a particular approach. Because accessing and understanding research literature can require technical expertise in research methods, access to the literature, and considerable time investments, multiple registries have been developed that assess the research evidence and translate the findings so that policymakers and practitioners can identify evidence-based approaches—that is, programs, practices, and policies with evidence of favorable effects. Read More »

Improving Population Health by Modernizing the Implementation of Clinical Guidelines

January 24, 2019|11:48 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

ASTHO worked with Maria Michaels, public health advisor for CDC’s Deputy Director of Public Health Science and Surveillance, to capture key considerations for state and territorial public health agencies to improve population health by modernizing their implementation of clinical guidelines. Michaels’ background has covered a variety of perspectives, including research, federal health IT regulatory policy, national health IT program implementation, health system health IT program implementation, and public health strategies related to health IT. Below Michaels and ASTHO staff outline how public health agencies can better intersect with healthcare to help ensure that clinical guidelines are implemented as intended and result in the desired health actions and outcomes. Read More »

State Legislation Supporting Increased Breastfeeding Duration

January 17, 2019|12:03 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Breastfeeding is known to have health benefits for both mothers and babies, including reduced risks of asthma and obesity for babies and a lower risk of high blood pressure and breast cancer for mothers. Unfortunately, barriers such as a lack of support from a woman’s partner, family, hospital, or worksite, can make it difficult for some women to breastfeed through their baby’s first year. Read More »

The Vital Role of State Primary Care Offices: Ensuring Access to Quality Care

January 10, 2019|3:06 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Ensuring access to competent primary care is an essential function of state and territorial health agencies. Research findings indicate that access to regular primary care is associated with higher rates of receiving preventive care and lower rates of preventable emergency department visits. To improve access to primary care in their jurisdiction, state and territorial health officials rely on their state primary care offices (PCO) to coordinate and execute this systems-level work. Read More »

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