ASTHO Earns Two National Awards for Public Health Program Innovation

July 27, 2023

ARLINGTON, VA—The Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) earned two national awards from The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). ASTHO has been selected as a 2023 Power of Associations Gold Award winner for its Partnering for Vaccine Equity initiative, and a 2023 Power of Associations Silver Award winner for its Disability and Preparedness Specialist Program.

Gold Award: As part of CDC’s Partnering for Vaccine Equity Program, ASTHO worked with the National Community Action Partnership and five community action agencies to increase vaccinations among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. To date, our partners hosted over 400 outreach and clinic events; engaged over 1.4 million community members through media, social media or one-on-one outreach; and provided nearly 5,000 vaccines including COVID-19, influenza, shingles, and other vaccines. In addition to reaching racial and ethnic minority populations, ASTHO partners are reaching out to people living with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, migrant workers, rural populations and others who may experience mistrust of vaccines or have less access to healthcare services.

Silver Award: Through a CDC-funded cooperative agreement, ASTHO embedded 18 disability and preparedness specialists in state and territorial health agencies to voice the needs of people living with disabilities in COVID-19 and broader emergency preparedness planning. Once in place, specialists worked directly in the jurisdiction’s health agency. The specialists brought the disability perspective to emergency preparedness programs, policies, and staff at the health agencies, making changes that will outlast the longevity of their positions. ASTHO’s disability and preparedness specialist program provided critical positions in the health agencies that may not have otherwise existed. Overall, this program helped to alleviate the workload of health agencies, expand their capacity, and increase community impact during one of the most important moments in public health history.

“These ASAE awards are extremely meaningful to our staff and our members. They recognize ASTHO’s collaboration and expertise in helping our members work collaboratively to address disparities and the needs of individuals with disabilities to improve vaccination rates across the country,” says Michael Fraser, PhD, ASTHO CEO. “COVID was an opportunity for our team to step up in the midst of an incredibly challenging time. It is work like this that kept us going through COVID and work that truly made a difference to our field.”

“Congratulations to ASTHO for exemplifying the impact associations have on the industries and professions they represent, and on society at large,” says ASAE President and CEO Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE. “It’s always so incredibly satisfying to see associations going above and beyond their everyday mission to change the world. We’re very proud to spotlight these award-winning initiatives.”


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.