ASTHO's briefs are short 1- to 2-page reports or infographics that provide a summary of key topics, programs, policies, or research findings of importance and interest to state and territorial health officials and partners.

Reducing Vaccine Hesitancy for People Living With Disabilities

October 19, 2021

ASTHO, in collaboration with CDC, provided full-time disability and preparedness specialists to 17 jurisdictions to better meet the needs of people with disabilities. In this brief, specialists share their thoughts on why people living with disabilities may be hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine and some approaches public health officials can take to address vaccine hesitancy in people living with disabilities.Read More »

Reducing Forensic Pathologist Shortages: Visas

October 06, 2021

A recent surge in overdose deaths combined with the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic has translated into larger case volumes for medical examiner and coroner systems. States continue to struggle with growing, recruiting, and retaining board-certified forensic pathologists, resulting in a constricted workforce pipeline. This brief spotlights the critical role that international medical graduates play in minimizing forensic pathology workforce shortages, highlights some of the bottlenecks and limitations of the visa process, and examines considerations for state partners looking to harness the talent of these essential specialists.Read More »

Reducing Forensic Pathologist Shortages: Funding

October 06, 2021

Board-certified forensic pathologists play a critical role in public health by investigating death so as to better serve the living. Despite forensic pathology’s contribution to public health surveillance, prevention, and response, the discipline remains largely under-resourced. This brief spotlights a local effort to address financial disincentives for medical graduates entering the field and highlights federal funding opportunities and resources for state partners looking to minimize forensic pathology workforce shortages.Read More »

How Health Departments Can Work With Schools to Improve K-12 Contact Tracing Programs

October 05, 2021

Developing and implementing contact tracing programs in K-12 schools presents a crucial opportunity for both health department and school leaders to keep students healthy, and schools open. This brief shares considerations for health departments working with schools to develop and implement contact tracing programs.Read More »

Summarizing CDC Guidance to Support COVID-19 Contact Tracing in K-12 Schools

October 05, 2021

As schools work to stay open for in-person learning, it is essential to understand key recommendations related to COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools. CDC recommends that health department staff work closely with K-12 schools to effectively prevent and respond to COVID-19 infections. Health department staff may look to school officials to understand the unique context of each school setting, while school officials may look to health department staff to better understand federal, state, and local guidance. This document compiles CDC guidance for COVID-19 prevention strategies in K-12 schools and should supplement state or territorial and local policies. Schools and health departments should layer the COVID-19 prevention strategies listed in this ASTHOBrief.Read More »

Creating a Shared Approach to Suicide and Overdose Prevention

September 01, 2021

In the United States, suicide and overdose are among the top 10 leading causes of death. At the intersection of suicide and overdose are shared factors that can be assessed to support a comprehensive approach to prevention. The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional stress on communities and individuals, straining resources and exacerbating the suicide and overdose epidemics. This infographic is a tool that can assist states and territories in fostering cross-sector partnerships by demonstrating the intersection of suicide and overdose and how a multi-sector approach can lead to comprehensive prevention. This infographic also reminds us that we can build healthy and supportive communities together, in a strategic and unified way.Read More »

Strategies for Vaccinating People Who Are Homebased

July 29, 2021

According to the federal government, a homebased individual is someone who requires the help of another person or supportive device to leave the home, someone who is advised against leaving the home by a physician, and/or someone for whom it is extremely taxing to leave the home. Compared to non-homebased adults, homebased people are more likely to be older, have lower income, and belong to racial minority groups—as well as live with disabilities, chronic health conditions, and comorbidities. Individuals who are homebased therefore tend to be at increased risk for COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.Read More »

Bridging the Digital Divide in Healthcare to Improve Access to Care

July 20, 2021

The digital divide in healthcare has created a growing division between communities who have access to digital health technologies and broadband versus those who experience limited access to these resources. Marginalized communities such as communities of color and rural populations are hardest hit by these access challenges. This brief shares information on how federal agencies and states are expanding digital access through funding investments, unique partnerships, and other innovative interventions to improve digital equity and access to care.Read More »

Expanding Vaccination Site Accessibility: Insights From the Field

June 16, 2021

ASTHO placed 14 disability and preparedness specialists in health agencies to support inclusivity of people living with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. In this brief, three of these specialists share their experiences with ensuring COVID-19 vaccination sites are accessible to people living with disabilities. They share their perspectives and recommendations for expanding vaccine site accessibility.Read More »

Opportunities and Strategies for Tobacco Prevention During the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 10, 2021

While the COVID-19 response has strained tobacco prevention and control efforts, the pandemic has afforded health officials unique opportunities to retool their tobacco prevention response. This brief spotlights new findings on tobacco use and COVID-19, opportunities for tobacco prevention during the pandemic, guidance for communicating risk, and recommendations for engaging state health officials.Read More »

Addressing Equity Challenges Using a Health in All Policies Approach

May 24, 2021

This brief highlights how both states are using the Health in All Policies framework to address systemic racism and social inequity between populations of different racial and ethnic groups.Read More »

Website Accessibility: Enhancing Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Registration and Beyond

May 18, 2021

For many individuals living with disabilities, inaccessible vaccination websites have been a significant barrier to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Recent studies have found that many vaccination websites do not reliably meet accessibility standards. This brief discusses how several disability rights laws apply to COVID-19 vaccine registration websites and offers considerations for state and territorial health agencies as they work to improve website accessibility for people living with disabilities.Read More »

The Role of Syringe Services Programs in New Mexico’s Opioid Crisis Response

May 05, 2021

This brief describes how the New Mexico Department of Health has enhanced its harm reduction program to provide an evidence-based comprehensive care model to support the health of people who use drugs. New Mexico’s success in leveraging partnerships to reduce substance-related harm and enhance wellness can serve as a model to other state and local jurisdictions looking to take a more holistic approach to their harm reduction programs.Read More »

Evidence-Informed Substance Use Disorder Policies for Maternal and Child Populations

April 05, 2021

The unintended consequences of substance use disorder policies can be significant for women and families impacted by substance use disorders (SUD). Policies such as mandatory minimum sentencing and prosecution of low-level substance use offenses have led to soaring imprisonment rates, especially for Black and Latina populations. This brief discusses the gendered and racialized impacts of substance use and child maltreatment policies and offers four considerations to policymakers as they look to create effective, meaningful policy to improve outcomes for women and families impacted by SUD.Read More »

Adverse Childhood Experiences: The Case for Funding Primary Prevention

March 26, 2021

States and territories can reduce adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) through evidence-based primary prevention strategies designed to reduce risk factors. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the health disparities and gaps in ACEs prevention. This brief overviews maltreatment prevention programs that mitigate ACEs while offering a positive return on investment. Highlighted strategies include building parent management skills, improving parent-child relationships, and increasing child health and development knowledge. State and territorial health agencies should review these programs to address and prevent ACEs during and after the pandemic.Read More »

Adverse Childhood Experiences in States and Territories Infographic Three: A Look at ACEs Prevention Strengths—Partnerships

January 21, 2021

Cross-sector collaboration is critical to successfully preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Because the impact of ACEs have societal implications and can potentially affect chronic/behavioral illnesses, everyone has a role in preventing ACEs. This infographic details how state and territorial health agencies utilize partnerships to increase ACEs prevention capacity. Health agencies should review internal and external partnerships and strategic plans to understand roles and responsibilities and reveal opportunities to strengthen collaborative efforts.Read More »

Adverse Childhood Experiences in States and Territories Infographic Two: A Look at Areas of Improvement for ACEs Prevention—Health Equity and ACEs Disparities Data

January 21, 2021

State and territorial health agencies report varying levels of capacity to prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) across populations. Unfortunately, a higher ACE burden is experienced by foster care children, justice-involved communities, and communities experiencing poverty and concentrated violence. This infographic details how state and territorial health agencies have opportunities to improve selected partnerships to impact health equity. By strengthening collaboration with justice systems through transformational approaches grounded in reciprocity, S/THAs can improve health equity and reduce ACEs disparities.Read More »

Adverse Childhood Experiences in States and Territories Infographic One: A Look at Primary Prevention Priorities

January 21, 2021

State and territorial health agencies can prevent many chronic illnesses and behavioral health issues by preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This infographic details how agencies prioritize primary prevention strategies that stop ACEs from occurring in the first place. By promoting programs with larger societal impact, such as policies that strengthen family economic supports, agencies can have a more considerable influence in preventing ACEs.Read More »

Exploring Innovations in GIS and Visualization for Healthier Communities

November 23, 2020

This brief details innovative uses of geographic information systems (GIS) in public health. It showcases original research conducted by ASTHO staff to better understand the value of GIS in mapping national public health emergencies—like the COVID-19 pandemic—and highlights how public health practice can be strengthened by linking environmental health and healthcare data.Read More »

Advancing Breastfeeding During a Pandemic

November 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for breastfeeding families and state breastfeeding initiatives. This brief discusses these challenges and how states in ASTHO’s Breastfeeding Learning Community are overcoming COVID-19 challenges and continuing their efforts to make policies, systems, and environments more breastfeeding-friendly. Strategies include utilizing online training for lactation support staff, holding virtual focus groups, removing financial barriers to program participation, and educating employers on how improving lactation accommodations supports the COVID-19 response.Read More »

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