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FeaturedStory

Working with state and territorial public health leaders is always exciting and incredibly rewarding: every day there’s a new development, a new solution, a new headline that impacts the health of all Americans. Of course, that also has its downside – some of those things that make public health challenging come at a tremendous cost to our nation’s health: measles outbreaks, rising STD rates, growing burden of chronic diseases, and illnesses like EVALI. And that’s just scratching the surface.Read More »

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What You Need to Know About Federal Emergency Supplemental Funding for COVID-19

April 02, 2020|9:28 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

To prepare and respond to COVID-19, Congress and the Administration approved three emergency supplemental bills for the federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governmental agencies. Emergency supplemental bills are not unique to public health emergency response efforts-- Ebola, Zika, H1N1, and various natural disasters all saw Congress approve multiple emergency supplemental funding bills to ensure resources were allocated to address those threats. Here are some key things to keep in mind about this money and the upcoming efforts to provide financial relief. Read More »

COVID-19 Highlights Need to Fund State Public Health

April 01, 2020|9:38 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

If the current COVID-19 pandemic can teach us anything, it’s the importance of having a strong public health infrastructure. State and local health agencies maintain core capabilities critical to promoting and protecting the public’s health, in both times of crisis and calm. Read More »

Social Distancing: How States are Handling Business Closures

March 25, 2020|4:32 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, states are using their emergency powers to authorize a variety of social distancing measures designed to reduce social interactions and slow the spread of infectious diseases. A common type of social distancing measure being implemented by governments at all levels is the closure of businesses. While these measures are effective in “flattening the curve,” they can have a major impact on the financial stability of the business and its employees. Below is a summary of executive orders that have led to the closure of many businesses and nonprofit organizations. Read More »

Don’t Stand So Close to Me

March 19, 2020|11:00 a.m.| Marcus Plescia MD, MPH | ASTHO Chief Medical Officer

The refrain from the popular Police song “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” takes on new meaning in the current era of COVID-19 infection and control. While there are many things we do not know about the spread of COVID-19, we do know is that it is an infectious disease transmitted person to person. We also know there are three actions we can all take to control the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of infection nationwide: isolate, quarantine, and social distance. Read More »

16 Key Considerations for Drive-Through or Mobile Testing

March 19, 2020|9:43 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

The outbreaks of COVID-19 across the country have forced the health-care workforce to think more creatively. As cases of the virus continue to climb upward across the country, it’s imperative to get people tested in an efficient and safe manner. To prevent hospitals from getting overrun, several states and health-care facilities have implemented drive-through or mobile testing units to minimize the surge of individuals at healthcare settings such as local emergency department. However, providing a satellite setting to get tested requires a bit of planning. This post outlines key considerations for state health departments that are exploring drive-through or mobile testing options for COVID-19. Read More »

States Tackle the Climbing Maternal Mortality Rate in the U.S.

March 18, 2020|4:25 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

There are two alarming health trends on the rise affecting women across the United States: maternal mortality, a death resulting from pregnancy or delivery complications, and severe maternal morbidity-- characterized as short- or long-term mental and physical health consequences resulting from a woman’s pregnancy or delivery. The U.S. is the only developed country with an increasing rate of maternal mortality. Data from the CDC indicates that nearly 60 percent of maternal deaths in the U.S. are preventable and most occur within 42 days of the postpartum period. Read More »

States Seek to Strengthen Tobacco 21 Laws

March 11, 2020|1:00 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Youth e-cigarette use is a public health issue the FDA and Surgeon General claim has “hit epidemic proportions.” It is also a growing concern among state and federal policymakers. E-cigarettes are now the most popular tobacco products among youth and young adults. Between 2017 and 2018, there was almost a 78 percent increase in use among high schoolers. The percentage of high schoolers who reported using e-cigarettes rose to 20.8 percent in 2018. More recently, results from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) found that more than 27.5 percent of high schoolers use e-cigarettes. Read More »

State Emergency Declarations and COVID-19

March 05, 2020|12:49 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

As the spread of COVID-19 continues at an almost breakneck pace in the U.S, three governors have declared a state of emergency to free up resources and funds to slow and stop the spread of the virus. More are likely to follow in the coming day and weeks. Read More »

Creating Incentives to Improve Lifestyle for a Healthier Heart

February 27, 2020|1:31 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

February is Heart Month, a time to not only celebrate our love for others but also the organ that pumps us full of life. According to CDC, heart disease-related deaths continue to be the leading cause of death in the U.S. High blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, diabetes, and obesity are key risk factors for developing heart disease. These risk factors are often related to lifestyle choices, such as unhealthy diets, a lack of physical activity, and tobacco use. These behaviors are often influenced by one’s environment, whether they have access to healthy and fresh foods, and opportunities to engage in safe, physical activity. Read More »

Health Equity and Healing Hate: A Conversation with Norman Oliver

February 20, 2020|9:39 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

As Black History Month comes to a close, it’s important to take stock of how far we still have to go in achieving health equity and optimal health for all across racial lines. The reality is African Americans still lag behind other races across many health outcomes: maternal mortality, obesity, hypertension, to name a few. To get a better understanding of this, ASTHO staff spoke with Norman Oliver, MD, MA, the state health official for the Virginia Department of Health. Oliver is an expert on health inequities and was the keynote speaker for a recent conference at the University of Virginia called "Healing Hate: A Public Health Perspective on Civil Rights in America.". Read More »

States Take Legislative Action to End the HIV Epidemic

February 19, 2020|10:32 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Each year, tens of thousands of Americans are diagnosed with HIV. In February 2019, the federal government announced a goal to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. Meanwhile, states are taking things into their own hands by introducing and implementing evidence-based policies to prevent HIV cases. Policy trends include improving access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and establishing programs to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, like syringe services programs. In 2020, ASTHO expects states will continue to adopt laws aimed at preventing new HIV cases. Read More »

Taking Tobacco Cessation to Heart

February 11, 2020|2:43 p.m.| Marcus Plescia MD, MPH | ASTHO Chief Medical Officer

February is American Heart Month, and Friday is Valentine’s Day, so it’s a time to reflect on the people we love and care about. It is well-known that heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country, but many are surprised at the toll it takes on young and middle-aged adults. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now reports that one in three of the life-changing cardiovascular events that took place in 2016 happened to adults aged 35 to 64. Heart disease is a surprisingly common cause of disability and even death in an age group that is frequently overlooked for public health interventions. If we want to lead long lives for our loved ones, our heart health should be a priority. Read More »

Stronger Together: ASTHO and NACCHO Team Up for Public Health Advocacy

February 11, 2020|10:37 a.m.| Adriane Casalotti, Chief of Government and Public Affairs, NACCHO | Carolyn Mullen, Chief of Government Affairs and Public Relations, ASTHO

The work of public health is often invisible. It is only when there is a disaster or outbreak that the safety net of public health becomes apparent. In our daily lives, we rarely consider the safety of the food we eat, the air we breathe, or the water we drink. But our nation’s public health system is, at its core, a partnership between federal, state, and local governments. That is why again ASTHO and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) will host a joint public health advocacy day to bring these messages to elected officials from across the country on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. this month. Read More »

Public Health Workforce Continues All-Hands Approach to Coronavirus, Risk to Public Low

February 06, 2020|2:39 p.m.| Jim Blumenstock | ASTHO Chief of Health Security

Under the technical and scientific leadership of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an aggressive layered approach is being implemented in strong partnership with state, local, and territorial public health departments to delay the entry and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. This containment strategy is driven by prudence, not panic. The temporary measures put in place provide precious time to allow us to enhance and mobilize our readiness efforts and, as of now, this virus is not spreading in the community in the United States and the vast majority of Americans have a low risk of exposure. Read More »

States Consider Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Prevention and Treatment

February 04, 2020|10:49 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

States are adopting a variety of policies to address neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). In 2019, state legislation trended toward standardizing screening and treatment for mothers and newborns, adding the diagnosis of NAS to the list of notifiable conditions, reporting requirements and safe care plans for infants with NAS and their caregivers. Read More »

Flavored Tobacco Products Dominate State Legislatures as 2020 Kicks Off

January 30, 2020|11:21 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

As state legislatures return to session, legislation to regulate the sale and distribution of flavored e-cigarettes is ramping up. Many of the proposals go beyond the federal policy by prohibiting the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes and/or flavored tobacco products within the state. Below is an overview of current state legislative proposals to address flavored e-cigarettes and flavored tobacco. Read More »

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus: What We Know

January 23, 2020|4:55 p.m.| Jim Blumenstock | ASTHO Chief of Health Security

This week, the first case of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was confirmed in the United States. The current outbreak of this new coronavirus began last month in Wuhan, China and is rapidly evolving and escalating. Hundreds of cases in China have been confirmed, including cases outside Wuhan, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries, including the United States. While many cases have reported some link to a seafood and animal market in Wuhan City, there are a growing number of patients who are not linked to any markets, suggesting limited person-to-person transmission in addition to animal-to-person transmission. Read More »

Regulating Toxic Compounds: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

January 23, 2020|11:06 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Even if you aren’t familiar with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), you are likely familiar with the materials this family of man-made chemicals is used in: water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics, paints, firefighting foams, and cookware. During production and use, PFAS can migrate into the soil, water, and air. But because of their wide use and the fact that they do not easily breakdown in the environment, PFAS can accumulate over time in people and animals. In some instances, exposure to and absorption of certain PFAS has been associated with harmful health effects such as, low infant birth weight and increased risk of certain types of cancers. Read More »

Getting to Work: ASTHO’s Federal Policy Priorities in 2020

January 15, 2020|10:36 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

The band U2 once said, “nothing changes on New Year’s Day.” That may be the case for some, but at ASTHO there are a few important things that begin anew as the year clicks over--namely, the effort to implement our 2020 Federal Legislative Agenda. This agenda is a trusted map for ASTHO’s government affairs team, as it keeps us on track and in line with our members’ priorities. Each year, in close partnership with the ASTHO Government Relations Committee and Board of Directors, we prioritize our advocacy activities by three tiers. The programs and issues that we will lead on are considered tier one, issues we’ll partner to support are tier two, and issues we’ll continue to monitor are tier three. Read More »

Beyond Opioids: Tobacco and Other Substance Use Among Pregnant Women

January 14, 2020|1:54 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Perinatal substance use is not only a serious public health issue resulting in detrimental and even life-threatening fetal outcomes, but it’s one that continues to grow. The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found an increase in both tobacco and alcohol use among pregnant women from 2016 to 2017, with 22.6 percent of pregnant women reportedly using alcohol or tobacco. Read More »

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