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ASTHO President's Challenge Initiatives

A yearly initiative of ASTHO to improve population health through the work of state public health agencies.

my.ASTHO

Join your colleagues and participate in various discussion topics on my.ASTHO, ASTHO's collaboration and discussion platform. ASTHO members can access the platform here »

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StatePublicHealth.org

  • Building Bridges to Better Health the ASTHO Way

    “Building Bridges to Better Health,” the theme for the 2021 National Public Health Week, resonates with me for two main reasons. First, ASTHO is committed to building and maintaining the partnerships and connections needed to achieve our shared vision of state and territorial health agencies advancing health equity and optimal health for all. These relationships are bridges that connect us to others and to work that amplifies and complements our own. Second, we are deeply rooted in our mission to support, equip, and advocate for state and territorial health officials in their work of bettering health by providing technical assistance and capacity building in areas that advance our collective health and well-being.

  • States Work to Support Rural Hospitals Despite Pandemic Challenges

    When rural hospitals close, it increases the distance people must travel for essential healthcare services. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and magnified the factors leading to rural hospital closures across the country. Many healthcare facilities suspended elective procedures to conserve critically needed personal protective equipment and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by patients and hospital staff. For many rural hospitals, however, the suspension of elective procedures with the reduced the use of non-urgent services by apprehensive patients meant a loss of revenue and the furloughed healthcare staff. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately half of all rural hospitals are experiencing negative operating margins due to reduced outpatient revenue. The rate increases in states that have not expanded Medicaid. Unfortunately, these kinds of challenges are not new to rural hospitals.

  • Regulating and Remediating PFAS in States

    A once obscure public health issue that’s gotten more attention in recent years, polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemicals used in products such as nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics, cosmetics, and firefighting products. During production and use, PFAS can migrate into soil, water, air, where they persist. Because they remain in the environment, PFAS can accumulate in humans and animals and can be found at low levels in many food products. Exposure to PFAS can lead to harmful health effects, including an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer and a decreased vaccine response in children.