Day Two: ASTHO Annual Meeting Recap

September 21, 2017|2:32 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Thurs., Sept. 21

ASTHO Executive Director Mike Fraser opened the second day of ASTHO’s annual meeting by presenting Immediate Past President Jay C. Butler with an award recognizing his contributions, leadership, and dedication to ASTHO over the past year.

Introduction of ASTHO's New PresidentExcited to step into his new role, newly-elected ASTHO President John Wiesman shared brief remarks and introduced CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald. ASTHO issued a press release today on Wiesman's appointment.

  • Opening Remarks Presenter Brenda Fitzgerald, MDOpening Keynote – CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald discussed early brain development and underscored the importance of intervening early in children’s lives with effective public health prevention strategies. Fitzgerald commented that early brain development and the social determinants of health are closely intertwined. She shared an example of a population-based approach to supporting young children in Georgia that involved the state’s WIC program, nurse and childcare training initiatives, and partnerships between public health, education, and social services agencies. These efforts served to promote early, robust language development among children and improve long-term health, social, and economic outcomes. Universal access to early language development is a public health imperative.
  • Keynote Presenter Jack Shonkoff, MDThe Future of Public Health—The Science of Early Childhood Brain Development and its Impact on Health Through the Lifecourse – Building on Fitzgerald’s remarks, Jack Shonkoff, director of Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, delivered three messages from the scientific community for policymakers about leveraging the science to strengthen the foundations of lifelong health and well-being:
    - The architecture of the developing brain is built and shaped by continuous interactions.
    - Achieving better outcomes at scale for children facing adversity requires that we support the adults who care for them.
    - Current best practices that affect the health and development of young children make a difference—but should be viewed as a starting point, not a final destination.
  • Thought Leaders on Connecting Science and Practice PresentersThought Leaders on Connecting Science and Practice – Next, an expert panel explored the importance of language acquisition and early brain development in optimizing health outcomes for all children. Comer Yates, executive director of the Atlanta Speech School, emphasized that language nutrition for all babies—30,000 loving words per day—is an essential element in addressing the nation’s illiteracy problem. Christine Yoshinaga-Itano from the University of Colorado at Denver discussed the developmental outcomes of children who are deaf or hard of hearing identified through universal newborn hearing screening. Children who are deaf or hard of hearing can develop language skills commensurate with their hearing peers, but follow-through data and enrollment in early intervention services are paramount to ensuring more successful developmental outcomes. Ami Klin, director of the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, spoke about changing the narrative around autism spectrum disorder, the role social interactions play in early brain development, and opportunities for communities to engage in public health solutions.
  • The Public Health Landscape: A Federal Perspective from HRSA PresentersThe Public Health Landscape: A Federal Perspective from HRSA Presenters – Diana Espinosa, HRSA’s deputy administrator, gave an overview of the agency’s priorities and explained how HRSA’s Healthy Start program promotes early childhood development by providing individual services, risk assessments, and health education to communities with high infant mortality rates and other health and economic disparities. Michael Lu, director of HRSA’s maternal and child health bureau, shared that improving early brain development in America starts with improving maternal health before and during pregnancy. Maternal health is important because experiencing stressful events or environmental hardships during pregnancy can increase the likelihood of adverse birth outcomes.
  • PIHOA and PHAB Awards – James Gillan, director of the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services, presented ASTHO President John Wiesman with an award on behalf of the Pacific Island Health Officers' Association. Gillan also presented a bowl to Paul Jarris, former executive director of ASTHO, as a token of appreciation and thanked him for his work to increase representation from the Pacific jurisdictions on ASTHO’s Board of Directors.

    Paul Halverson, dean of the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health and chair of ASTHO’s Alumni Society, and Kaye Bender, President and CEO of the Public Health Accreditation Board, also presented a resolution to ASTHO commending the organization’s commitment to accreditation.
  • Amplifying Our Voice PresentersAmplifying Our Voice—The Power of State and Territorial Health Official Alumni: Advocacy at the State and National Levels – Over lunch, several ASTHO alumni shared insights on leveraging experiences as health officials to advocate for public health at the national and state levels. Five former health officials offered tips for building relationships with policymakers and successfully advancing advocacy efforts:
    -  Be able to convey why public health is important and simplify complex issues.
    -  Develop messages that resonate across the political spectrum.
    -  Put in the effort to nurture and sustain relationships with policymakers.
  • Innovations to Enhance Our Impact Presenter Sanjeev Arora, MD, FACP, FACGInnovations to Enhance Our Impact: Project ECHO and State and Territorial Health Agencies – Project ECHO Director Sanjeev Arora introduced a telehealth model to treat complex diseases in rural locations and developing countries. Arora outlined the potential benefits of the ECHO model to the healthcare system, including providing cost-effective care, reducing variations in care, and integrating public health into the treatment paradigm.
  • Picture This: Charting the Future of Public Health Presenter Estella Geraghty, MD, MS, MPH, GISPPicture This: Charting the Future of Public Health – Este Geraghty, ESRI’s chief medical officer and health solutions director, described how geospatial technologies are being leveraged to support planning and response efforts, and how we can tap into this groundbreaking work to tackle current public health issues, like the opioid epidemic, natural disasters, and vector-borne disease.