News Releases

NACCHO's news releases cover critical topics in public health, presenting messages to local and national media on the importance of local health departments in keeping our communities healthy and safe.

You can view archived press releases here

Programs

Theresa Spinner

Director, Media & Public Relations

202-783-5551 / tspinner@naccho.org

Washington, DC, March 7, 2017 - The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, is disappointed that the “American Healthcare Act” eliminates funding for core public health programs that keeps communities healthy and safe.

The “American Healthcare Act” eradicates funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) in FY2019, which makes up 12% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) funding. Among the programs at risk at the CDC are the 317 Immunization Program, Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Diabetes Prevention, among others.

“The Prevention and Public Health Fund provides vital resources to governmental public health at the federal, state, and local levels, and its elimination will serve to further erode our public health system. Congress continues to invest the nation’s health resources in a sick care system, while severely scaling back investment in programs that prevent people from getting sick in the first place,” said NACCHO’s Chief of Government Affairs Laura Hanen, MPP.

In addition, the “American Healthcare Act” ends funding in FY2020 for the Medicaid expansion in 32 states, which has provided access to primary and emergency care to millions of Americans. The bill also caps federal Medicaid funding that will ultimately result in shifting responsibility to the states and counties ― leaving governors, state legislatures, and local governments facing tight budgets with no choice but to reduce coverage for millions of seniors, low-income families, people with disabilities, and children.

“The bill’s provisions would severely handicap seniors and working families that are struggling to meet basic necessities, including food and shelter, and would create an untenable situation where increased costs will put healthcare out of reach for these citizens,” said Hanen. “Our nation is stronger when everyone has the opportunity to be healthy. The House bill would severely impact access to care for low-income Americans and maintenance of a good quality of life for all.”

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Washington, DC, February 27, 2017 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, joins more than 150 scientists to exchange facts and information about options and methods for monitoring and controlling Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and to reduce illness in people infected with Zika and other vector-borne diseases at a meeting hosted by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.  Epidemiologist Dr. Oscar Alleyne, NACCHO’s Senior Advisor for Public Health Programs, will provide the local public health department perspective on the Zika emergency.

In addition, NACCHO, in collaboration with the CDC, has just released a summary of findings evaluating vector control capacity across ten Zika Virus (ZIKV) priority jurisdictions. This initiative was launched by the CDC Zika State Coordination Task Force (SCTF) and the Zika Vector Issues Team as part of their national ZIKV response efforts. Mosquito control activities were assessed across jurisdictions in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Los Angeles County, each identified as vulnerable for potential impact resulting from ZIKV. NACCHO supported this effort by developing and distributing an electronic quantitative tool to measure vector control competency for local health departments (LHDs) and vector control agencies serving these localities.

Dr. Alleyne said, “NACCHO is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the scientists at the CDC.  The Zika emergency is having a profound emotional and financial effect on families in the U.S.  Our local health departments are on the front lines working to protect their communities from the virus, and by collaborating with the CDC, NACCHO can arm its local health departments with the best research and data available.  Collaborations like this one are crucial to protecting the public’s health.  These results show that in order for us to have a strong line of defense against Zika and other mosquito-transmitted diseases, we need to support our local jurisdictions — the ones tasked with the responsibility of vector control. If they fail, we fail. But be warned that when the lives of our communities are at stake, public health is not in the business of failure."

NACCHO and the CDC compiled findings and implications into this slide deck, aiming to further advance LHD vector control and ZIKV response planning. Collectively, the responses illustrate that mosquito control programs, expertise, activities, and financial resources are highly variable throughout the ten jurisdictions. The assessment revealed a wide range of capacity, including agencies with zero to minimal capabilities, and others with fully operational programs, equipped with advanced integrated mosquito management resources.

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Three Things Everyone Should Know

Q&A With Laura Hanen, MPP, NACCHO Chief of Government Affairs
Washington, DC, February 27, 2017 

Q.  Ms. Hanen, NACCHO represents nearly 3,000 county and city health departments in the U.S. The new Administration has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Why is preserving it so important?  

The Affordable Care Act brought about significant change to the healthcare and public health landscape. It fundamentally shifted how we as a nation think about the meaning and value of health. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that an impressive 17 million uninsured people have gained health insurance under the law. In addition to expanding access to care, the ACA encourages a more holistic approach to care by rewarding clinical care providers for value instead of volume. As a result, we’re seeing a greater focus on quality and outcomes in the clinical setting.  If the law is repealed, millions of Americans may lose their insurance coverage.  The ACA also expanded access to clinical preventive services and disease screenings. Another crucial piece of the law to local health departments and the communities they serve is the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

Q.  What is the Prevention and Public Health Fund?

The Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) is a funding stream primarily dedicated to investments in core public health programs at state and local health departments. The PPHF makes up 12% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) funding. Since 2010, the PPHF has supported efforts to combat infectious disease, prevent lead poisoning, detect causes of diseases and injury, and address the leading causes of rising healthcare costs. The PPHF is in jeopardy because of the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  A core principal of our organization’s mission is to promote equal access to good health. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act would severely impact access to care and maintenance of a good quality of life for Americans.

Q.  What do our leaders on Capitol Hill need to know about potential cuts to the Prevention and Public Health Fund?

With the effort to repeal the ACA, funding from PPHF is in peril. Congress can stop this from happening. NACCHO urges local health departments to take action now and call their Members of Congress to oppose cutting the PPHF. Among the vital programs at risk at the CDC are the 317 Immunization Program, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Diabetes Prevention among others.
NACCHO’s Board of Directors, Big Cities Health Coalition, and state associations of county and city health officials will be visiting their Members of Congress this week to let them know how vital continued funding is to our nation’s local health departments to serve their communities and keep people healthy and safe.

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Statement by LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director

Washington, DC, January 12, 2017 — “As the voice of more than nearly 3,000 local health departments across the United States, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) fully believes that vaccines are the best defense we have against infectious diseases, and they play a vital role in protecting the health of communities. Thanks to the development of safe and effective vaccines, immunization has been one of the most successful and safest public health measures available to populations worldwide, with an unparalleled record of disease reduction and prevention.

“Our nation’s scientifically-based vaccine safety system – which is managed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – carefully studies, evaluates, and monitors vaccine safety and efficacy. Yet, despite the success and strong safety record of vaccines, vaccine hesitancy has been increasing. This threatens local public health by producing an environment where vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps and pertussis (whooping cough) can spread quickly from person-to-person simply because vaccination rates are low.

“To prevent such disease outbreaks, we must continue to educate and inform the public on the positive effect vaccines have on public health. In the U.S., vaccines will prevent more than 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths among children born between 1994-2013, saving the nation approximately $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs. The evidence-based benefits of vaccines are real, and are critical to bolstering confidence in the safety of vaccination as a widely-used, effective, and appropriate measure to protect the residents and visitors of our nation.”

For more information on immunization, including vaccine safety, view NACCHO’s Immunization policy statements.


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NACCHO Announces New Initiative to Address Disparities in HIV Outcomes among Minority Populations in the South

Washington, DC, November 3, 2016 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in partnership with Cicatelli Associates, Inc. (CAI), is pleased to announce the launch of the Southern Initiative, a project which aims to improve HIV outcomes among minority populations in the Southern United States. This three-year initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, and administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Bureau, Division of Metropolitan HIV/AIDS Programs. 

The Southern Initiative will focus on four Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part A jurisdictions: Atlanta, Houston, Memphis, and New Orleans. One organization in each jurisdiction will receive funding and technical assistance to implement innovative and evidence-based interventions aimed at improving outcomes across the HIV care continuum, and reducing disparities among minority populations, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM), youth, cisgender and transgender women, and people who inject drugs. In alignment with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, interventions will focus on establishing systems to seamlessly link people to care immediately after HIV diagnosis, and support retention in care to achieve viral suppression. For those who test negative, interventions will support prevention counseling and planning, including PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis. 

The South bears a disproportionate burden – over 50% – of newly diagnosed cases of HIV. In addition, outcomes along the HIV care continuum are among the lowest in the country, and disparities among minority populations are particularly pronounced. For example, African Americans are severely affected by HIV in the South. Black MSM face an especially heavy burden, accounting for 59% of all HIV diagnoses among African Americans in the South, and black women account for 69% of all HIV diagnoses among women in the South. 

“Health disparities among our minority communities is a public health problem that must be addressed,” said NACCHO Executive Director LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH. Organizations will participate in NACCHO’s acclaimed Roots of Health Inequity course to increase awareness of the health inequities and social injustices which impact the health outcomes of minority populations. New knowledge, insights, and awareness attained through participation in the course will help build organizations’ capacity to engage and serve minority populations, and address the social, structural, economic, and environmental issues that impact the implementation and success of clinical and behavioral interventions to improve HIV outcomes. “We’re committed to working with NACCHO to lend our expertise and assist providers to successfully address health disparities in HIV in the South,” said Barbara Cicatelli, CAI’s President and Founder.

NACCHO and CAI will work closely with each jurisdiction’s Ryan White Part A program and local health department to achieve the goals of the Southern Initiative. Close collaboration with local HIV prevention and care programs will ensure that the efforts of the Southern Initiative are integrated into the local HIV services infrastructure and sustainable beyond the project period. Successful interventions and lessons learned through this initiative will be shared broadly to support the improvement of HIV outcomes among minority populations across the Southern U.S., as well as throughout the country.

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About NACCHO
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation's nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about NACCHO, please visit www.naccho.org.

About CAI  
CAI is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of underserved populations worldwide. For more than 35 years CAI has provided customized capacity building services to health and human service organizations in more than 27 countries and in all 50 states. Offering more than 1,500 training programs annually, CAI’s passionate staff works to fulfill its mission: to use the transformative power of education and research to foster a more aware, healthy, compassionate and equitable world. For more information about CAI, please visit www.caiglobal.org.


This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF) and administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB), Division of Metropolitan HIV/AIDS Programs (DMHAP).


New Jersey Health Director Elected to the Board of Directors

Washington, DC, October 5, 2016 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) announced today that Kevin G. Sumner, MPH, has been selected by votes cast by NACCHO’s membership to serve as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the remainder of the 2016-2017 term. Sumner will fulfill the term previously vacated by Dr. Umair Shah, due to Dr. Alina Alonso’s resignation in June 2016.  As Vice President, Sumner becomes a member of the Board’s Executive Committee.

Sumner is the Health Officer/Director for the Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission, a local health agency providing public health services to five municipalities in Somerset County, NJ with a population of 45,000. He has been employed by the Commission for over 30 years in various capacities, including environmental health specialist, health educator, and health officer.  Sumner is a Past-President of the New Jersey Health Officers Association, a 2006 Scholar of the Northeast Regional Public Health Leadership Institute, and recipient of the 2009 Health Officer of the Year Award from New Jersey Local Boards of Health Association.

“I congratulate Kevin on his election to the Executive Committee and look forward to his stewardship,” said NACCHO Executive Director LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH.

In addition to Sumner, NACCHO’s officers include:

  • Claude-Alix, Jacob, President (Board Chair); Chief Public Health Officer for the City of Cambridge (MA)
  • Dr. Umair Shah, President-Elect;  Executive Director of Harris County Public Health and Local Health Authority for Harris County (TX)
  • Dr. Georgia Heise, Immediate Past President; Director for the Three Rivers District Health Department (KY)
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Statement by LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director

Washington, DC, September 29, 2016 — “The National Association of County and City Health Officials representing nearly 3,000 local health departments across the nation gratefully acknowledges Congress’ bipartisan effort to pass H.R. 5325, legislation providing funding for federal state, tribal and local agencies to protect the public from the Zika virus.  The passage of this bill will enable local health departments to better protect pregnant women and their families from the devastating consequences of the Zika virus.  The additional funds it provides are critical to our members because it is local health departments who are delegated the authority and responsibility to respond to the Zika emergency in places like Harris County, TX; Miami-Dade County, FL; and New York City all of which have hundreds of travel-acquired cases.

Because half of the local health departments across our nation depend solely on federal funding for emergency preparedness, the passage of this bill is especially welcome.  Local health departments will be able to increase their efforts to protect vulnerable mothers and their babies while continuing to do their day-to-day job of protecting the public health.  We thank Congress for their efforts to address the Zika emergency and ask them to consider creating a standing emergency preparedness fund that could be tapped whenever the next public health crisis strikes.   This would benefit us all.”

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Washington, DC (August 16, 2016) —Claude-Alix Jacob, the new President of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) described his personal journey to the presidency during the opening general session of the organization’s 2016 Annual Conference held in Phoenix, July 19-21.

Calling NACCHO his “professional home” Jacob, Chief Public Officer at the Cambridge Health Alliance for the City of Cambridge, MA said, “When I arrived in Cambridge nearly a decade ago, I was encouraged by mentors and colleagues to become an active member in NACCHO.  I joined one of the workgroups which focused on leadership and workforce development for new local health officials.”  Jacob went on to say, “The work of our membership association creates linkages that set the standards for our profession, represent our profession, improve our profession, and safeguard our interests.  To be a local health official today is to feel a range of complex emotions about our work, our communities, and our futures together.  Conferences such as NACCHO Annual allow us to address health, equity and security in our communities.”

Describing Jacob, NACCHO Executive Director LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH offered, “Claude is a confident public health leader with a career full of successes.  He is passionate about tackling critical local health department issues such workforce development, quality improvement and health equity.  We are very pleased to have him serve as NACCHO’s president at a time when many of our members are being forced to do more with less while always working to protect the public’s safety and well-being.”

“We had one of largest turnouts for this year’s annual meeting which speaks to the need for our members to hear from national experts while mobilizing to address the pressing issues in their respective communities.  I look forward to sharing the NACCHO story in the season ahead,” said Jacob.

In his address, Jacob congratulated the elected members of the NACCHO Board of Directors for the 2016-17 term.  He also singled out NACCHO Board Member Bob England, MD, MPH, Director of the Maricopa County Health Department to thank him and his team, many of whom volunteered at the conference and helped make it a success.

Claude-Alix Jacob, MPH, is the Chief Public Health Officer for the City of Cambridge, MA. He has over 20 years of experience in public health and has led the operations of the Cambridge Public Health Department since 2007. Serving a population of 107,000 residents and hundreds of businesses, the Cambridge Public Health Department is a city department administered by Cambridge Health Alliance, a regional health care delivery system.

During Jacob’s tenure as Chief Public Health Officer he has overseen federally funded initiatives for addressing health disparities among men of color and reducing obesity in children and adults. Under Jacob’s direction, the Cambridge Public Health Department is developing a model in which local government and the community are partners in improving health. This collaborative spirit is reflected in the department’s recently completed Community Health Improvement Plan, which has set the city’s health agenda through 2020.

His previous work experience includes serving as a senior health administrator at the Illinois Department of Public Health, Baltimore City Health Department, and Sinai Health System in Chicago. 

In addition to being NACCHO’s President, Jacob also serves on the Board of Directors for the Public Health Foundation, the Massachusetts Public Health Association, and the National Advisory Board of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

As President of NACCHO, Jacob chairs the Board of Directors of the association.  The Board establishes NACCHO’s strategic direction and initiatives, ensures that annual goals are met, sets the annual legislative agenda, and provides financial oversight.  The Board is NACCHO’s public face and represents members in matters of policy, public health practice and collaboration with partners in the public and private sectors.

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Washington, DC (August 5, 2016)—On July 19–21, more than 1,300 attendees convened in Phoenix for the 2016 NACCHO Annual Conference, making it the largest gathering of local health department (LHD) leaders and other public health professionals in the United States. The meeting provided participants with an opportunity to hear from national thought leaders, learn about successful and replicable public health practices from their peers, and discuss the pressing challenges affecting LHDs today.

This year’s conference theme, Cultivating a Culture of Health Equity, provided a venue for in-depth conversations about the impact that local health practitioners can have on the social determinants of health equity to achieve health and well-being for all members of their communities. A diverse mix of speakers addressed the theme during four general sessions and more than 100 sharing sessions, providing attendees with a range of perspectives on and approaches for tackling health inequities at the local level. Four plenary sessions were offered.

To mark the start of the conference, attendees were welcomed to Phoenix by Bob England, MD, Director of the Maricopa County (AZ) Department of Public Health.  England introduced Arizona democratic state senator Steve Gallardo of the 13th district. Describing instances of health inequity in his district, Gallardo said he knew of legal residents among his constituency too afraid to seek care when they are sick, because of their concerns about their family’s mixed immigration status. “Healthcare is a basic right, not a political cause,” declared Gallardo.

Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S., Department of Health and Human Services, called local public health professionals on the front lines “my heroes.” She noted that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided health and mental health coverage for 20 million Americans. “Those with the lowest income are those we need to help the most.” Like several other presenters at the conference, DeSalvo noted that the community in which we live has a greater impact on our health than our genes. “Improving health and health equity will take more than great healthcare, because our zip code is a greater determinant of health than our genetic code. We must invest in health, not just healthcare,” she said.
 
Leandris Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA, Associate Director, Minority Health and Health Equity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) described how her office is promoting health equity through the use of evidence and data. She noted that health department efforts to reduce health inequities requires data, an effective workforce, accountability, and leadership. “Health inequities are patterns, systematic and unavoidable,” said Liburd. She told the assembly to “Consider issues of power and measure changes over time.” 

John Auerbach, MBA, Senior Policy Adviser to the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), described the CDC’s “three buckets of prevention” approach to eliminating health disparities.  Auerbach told the gathering that public health agencies must leverage their relationships and work to share resources. He talked about the need to “shape the conversation about where public health is going.”

During Wednesday’s general session Tony Iton, MD, JD, MPH, Senior Vice President of Health Communities, The California Endowment, described the organization’s $1 billion, 10-year mission to improve the health of 14 communities by examining the social determinants of health. He stressed the importance of changing the narrative about health and health equity and explored how LHDs can build power among disenfranchised groups to effect policy, systems, and environmental change. 

Iton said that unfortunately, there is a narrative of exclusion in America and an effort to dehumanize certain populations. Dehumanization shapes policy, according to Iton. “Who belongs and who doesn’t belong has an effect on policy.” To change policy, he said, there has to be a change “in the power of poor people.”  

Dr. Iton was joined by panelists Kathleen Grassi, RD, MPH, Director of the Merced County (CA) Public Health Department; Elsa Jimenez, MPH, Interim Director of Monterey County (CA) Health Department; and Melissa Jones, MPA, Executive Director of the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative. They discussed successful strategies to improve health equity at the county and regional levels.

Thursday morning’s general session, Achieving Health Equity: A Public Health Approach, featured a powerful discussion about the structural causes of health inequity and the actions LHD leaders can take to eliminate them. The session was moderated by Richard Hofrichter, PhD, Senior Director of Health Equity at NACCHO, and featured Ron Sims, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Ed Ehlinger, MD, MSPH, Health Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health; and Camara P. Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Satcher Institute for Public Health Leadership at Morehouse College. 

Dr. Hofrichter opened the panel, noting that achieving health equity means meeting fundamental human needs, minimizing exploitation, and ending processes that marginalize certain groups. 

Mr. Sims urged action by LHD leaders rather than more studies. He stressed that the environments in which people live are a critical determining factor in health, and shared examples of how transportation, lighting, community gathering points, and community gardens affect the health of residents and change how cities function. 

Dr. Ehlinger pointed out that most of public’s health work has focused on primary prevention among at-risk populations, which, although important, is insufficient for addressing the social determinants of health inequity. Ehlinger said community organizing—a hugely underutilized public health resource—may be one avenue through which public health practitioners can catalyze change. 

Dr. Jones conveyed her definition of health equity, which she described as assurance of the conditions of optimal health for all people. From her perspective, achieving health equity requires valuing all populations equally and recognizing and rectifying injustice. She noted that racism, or a system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on the interpretation of how one looks, is pervasive in the United States. She called on the audience to put racism on the agenda, examine the ways in which it currently operates, and strategize ways to eliminate it. 

The final general session of the conference on Thursday afternoon was Slow Violence, Health Inequity, and the Future Well-Being of Communities. The panelists included Mindy Fullilove, MS, MD, Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences and Psychiatry at Columbia University; Donald Warne, MD, MPH, Chair of the Department of Public Health, North Dakota State University; and Linda Rudolph, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Climate Change and Health, Public Health Institute.

Dr. Fullilove called upon her background in community development and displacement to share how inequality affects the health and well-being of communities. She reminded attendees that inequality is not static; it is a process. She called for interventions to disrupt unequal processes and redistribute resources to combat inequity. 

Dr. Warne discussed health inequity in the context of Native Americans, noting that Native Americans die from preventable health issues at significantly higher rates than other Americans. Warne described how Native Americans largely have been left out of national public health conversations and explored ways LHDs can engage tribes. 

Dr. Rudolph explored the relationship between climate change and health inequity, urging conference-goers to consider the relationship between healthy people, healthy places, and a healthy planet. Rudolph shared examples of several LHDs engaged in climate change-related activities and encouraged health department leaders to engage in similar activities in greater numbers and with more urgency. 

In addition to four plenary presentations, NACCHO held an awards ceremony to honor local health departments in Missouri and Texas, along with Patrick M. Libbey, for outstanding achievements in demonstrating innovative ways of improving public health and safety.

Dr. Hasbrouck presented the Local Health Department of the Year Award to the Kansas City (MO) Health Department (medium jurisdiction category) and Harris County (TX) Public Health (large jurisdiction category). 

Patrick Libbey, Co-Director of the Center for Sharing Public Health Services in Olympia, WA, received the Maurice “Mo” Mullet Lifetime of Service Award. The award honors current or former public health officials for noteworthy service to NACCHO that has reflected commitment, vigor, and leadership as exemplified by the distinguished career of Dr. Maurice “Mo” Mullet.
 
NACCHO also recognized 23 local health departments with Model Practice Awards for programs that demonstrate exemplary and replicable qualities in response to a critical local public health need. The departments are in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

Dr. Hasbrouck said, “We applaud the passion, ingenuity, and success of this year’s award winners. They exemplify what’s best about local health departments around our nation. These dedicated professionals help millions of Americans live safer, longer, and healthier lives.” 

The conference provided attendees with diverse perspectives and new resources and frameworks to help them improve the health and well-being of their communities. For more from the conference, visit www.nacchoannual.org. Save the date for NACCHO Annual 2017, July 11–13 in Pittsburgh.

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Phoenix, AZ (July 20, 2016) — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) today honored local health departments in Missouri and Texas, along with Patrick M. Libbey, for outstanding achievements in demonstrating innovative ways of improving public health and safety.

During the 2016 NACCHO Annual Conference, NACCHO Executive Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, presented the Local Health Department of the Year Award to the Kansas City (MO) Health Department (medium jurisdiction category) and Harris County (TX) Public Health (large jurisdiction category). 

Patrick Libbey, Co-Director of the Center for Sharing Public Health Services in Olympia, WA, received the Maurice “Mo” Mullet Lifetime of Service Award. The award honors current or former public health officials for noteworthy service to NACCHO that has reflected the commitment, vigor and leadership as exemplified by the distinguished career of Dr. Maurice “Mo” Mullet.  

In addition, NACCHO recognized 23 local health departments with Model Practice Awards for programs that demonstrate exemplary and replicable qualities in response to a critical local public health need. The departments are in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Said Hasbrouck, “We applaud the passion, ingenuity and success of this year’s award winners. They exemplify what’s best about local health departments around our nation. These dedicated professionals help millions of Americans live safer, longer and healthier lives.” 

Local Health Department of the Year Award

The Local Health Department of the Year Award honors the outstanding accomplishments of local health departments for their innovation, creativity and impact on their communities. NACCHO recognized this year's winners for their ability to align performance management with continuous quality improvement as a way to position themselves for the future. 

2016 Winners

Medium LHD: Kansas City Health Department 

The department established a Memorandum of Understanding between Communities Creating Opportunity (COO) and the City of Kansas City, Missouri to form an alliance to improve the community-wide impact on health outcomes, specifically increasing life expectancy and reducing inequities by race and zip code.

Large LHD: Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, Houston, Texas

The department developed a three-part health equity infrastructure of policies and procedures for incorporating health equity into all aspects of their local public health practice health equity. The department is recognized for its public health leadership in utilizing principles of innovation and engagement in building public health of tomorrow.

Maurice "Mo" Mullet Lifetime of Service Award
2016 Winner


The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is pleased to recognize Patrick M. Libbey as the recipient of the 2016 Maurice “Mo” Mullet Lifetime of Service Award. This award honors current or former local health officials for noteworthy service to NACCHO that has reflected the commitment, vigor, and leadership exemplified by Mo’s distinguished career. Throughout Libbey’s more than 35 years in public health, he has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to advocating for and strengthening the work of local health departments. He has also served NACCHO in a number of important capacities, amplifying the voice of local health departments at the national and federal levels.

Model Practice Awards

NACCHO recognized 23 outstanding local health departments with the Model Practice Award for programs that demonstrate exemplary and replicable qualities in response to a critical local public health need. A committee of peers chose the recipients from a list of 65 applications. The NACCHO Model Practice searchable online database contains Model Practice Award-winning best practices on an expansive range of public health issues, such as immunization, infectious diseases, emergency preparedness and many others. Read more about these award-winning programs at http://archived.naccho.org/topics/modelpractices/search.cfm.

2016 Winners:

CALIFORNIA
Orange County Health Care Agency/Public Health, Waste Not Orange County Coalition.

San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department, OutsideIn SLO: We Take Health and Climate Change Personally.

COLORADO
Tri-County Health Department, Assessing and Providing Marijuana Education to WIC Clients following Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in Colorado.

FLORIDA
Florida Department of Health in Broward County for four programs: “Beach Blitz”: A High Impact Prevention Strategy to Reduce New HIV Infections; Integration of HIV Prevention, Care, and Treatment in Broward County; Performance Management Through Use of Cascading Scorecards in a Centralized Performance Management System; and Using Tracking Technology in a Point of Dispensing Vaccination Operation.

The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County, A Regional Approach to Community Engagement and Healthy Food Access in Underserved Communities.

GEORGIA
Cobb & Douglas Public Health, Food Safety Partnership Panels: Using Television to Boost Access to Public Health Information.

ILLINOIS
Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, No Arm Left Behind: School Physicals and Immunization Access Project.

KANSAS
Johnson County Department of Health & Environment, Video – Dot 3HP TB Infection Treatment.

MICHIGAN
Kent County Health Department, Two Accreditations, One Workforce Development Plan: How PHAB and PPHR Can Drive an Agency’s Workforce Development.

MINNESOTA
Minneapolis Health Department, Green Business Cost Sharing Program.

MISSOURI
Kansas City Health Department, Aim4Peace Violence Prevention Program.

NEW YORK
Nassau County Department of Health, A Safe Place to Sleep: Developing a National/Local Partnership.

OHIO
Cincinnati Health Department, Creating Healthy Communities Coalition.
Columbus Public Health, Camp Public Health.

OKLAHOMA
Oklahoma City-County Health Department, Chronic Disease Prevention and Management: Place-Based Strategies.

OREGON
Multnomah County Health Department, Quad-County Measles Protocol and Toolkit Development.

TEXAS
Northeast Texas Public Health District, Fired Up for Prevention – Center for Healthy Living.

Tarrant County Public Health Department, First Responder Infectious Disease Notification.

UTAH
Salt Lake County Health Department, Succession Planning – Preparing for the Future.

WASHINGTON
Clark County Public Health, Saving Lives with the Opioid Overdose Prevention Program in Clark County, WA.

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Washington, DC, Revised July 26, 2016—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is proud to announce the 2016-2017 election results for NACCHO Officers and Board of Directors.  Claude-Alix Jacob, MPH, Chief Public Health Officer for the City of Cambridge, MA, will become NACCHO President.  Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health (HCPH) in Houston, TX will become the Vice President.   

Swannie Jett, DrPH, MSc, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County is the Immediate-Past President. 

We wish to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Alina Alonso, MD, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach, FL who has stepped down from the Board to devote her time to attend to a family matter.  She has served on NACCHO’s Board since July 2011 and has been a valued member of both the Executive and Finance Committees respectively. Her stellar contributions to the membership association, tireless efforts and her work to support local public health initiatives are to be highly commended.

Due to Dr. Alonso’s resignation that resulted in a vacancy of the position of President-Elect at the end of June, Dr. Umair Shah is now required to serve in this capacity for the full term.   The position of Vice President will be filled through a special call for nominations that has been issued to the membership.

The Nominations Committee chaired by NACCHO’s Immediate Past President, Dr. Swannie Jett is seeking nominations for the open seat of Vice President on NACCHO’s Board of Directors. This special election was announced at the NACCHO Annual Conference in Phoenix, AZ at the morning plenary session held on Thursday, July 21, 2016. Materials about this process have been distributed to NACCHO members for self-nominations or to nominate someone for the vacant position.

As the governing body, the Board of Directors establishes NACCHO’s strategic direction and initiatives, ensures that annual goals are met, sets the annual legislative agenda, and provides financial oversight. The Board is NACCHO’s public face, and represents its members in matters of policy, public health practice and collaboration with health partners in the public and private sectors.

Claude-Alix Jacob, MPH, is the Chief Public Health Officer for the city of Cambridge, Mass.  Mr. Jacob has over 20 years of experience in public health and has led the operations of the Cambridge Public Health Department since 2007. Serving a population of 107,000 residents and hundreds of businesses, the Cambridge Public Health Department is a city department administered by Cambridge Health Alliance, a regional health care delivery system.

During Mr. Jacob’s tenure as Chief Public Health Officer, he has overseen federally funded initiatives for addressing health disparities among men of color and reducing obesity in children and adults. Under Mr. Jacob’s direction, the Cambridge Public Health Department is developing a model in which local government and the community are partners in improving health. This collaborative spirit is reflected in the department’s recently completed Community Health Improvement Plan, which has set the city’s health agenda through 2020.

Previous work experiences include serving as a senior health administrator at the Illinois Department of Public Health, Baltimore City Health Department, and Sinai Health System in Chicago. 

Mr. Jacob is passionate about workforce development, accreditation, quality improvement, and health equity. Mr. Jacob also serves on the Board of Directors for the Public Health Foundation, the Massachusetts Public Health Association, and the National Advisory Board of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

Mr. Jacob received training at the National Public Health Leadership Institute and completed the W.K. Kellogg Fellowship for Emerging Leadership in Public Health. He received a master of public health from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.         

Dr. Shah was appointed in May 2013 as the Harris County Public Health (HCPH) Executive Director and the Local Health Authority for Harris County, Texas – the third most populous county in the United States with a population of 4.3 million spread over 1778 square miles, the approximate size of the state of Rhode Island.  Prior to joining HCPH, Dr. Shah served as the Chief Medical Officer at the Galveston County Health District and since 1999, an emergency department physician at Houston’s well-respected Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. Dr. Shah assumed the dual role as Deputy Director and its Director of Disease Control & Clinical Prevention upon joining HCPH in 2004, overseeing all departmental clinical and infectious disease activities. Under his leadership at HCPH, the department has won numerous national awards for its innovative work.  Dr. Shah earned his B.A. (philosophy) from Vanderbilt University and his Medical Degree from the University of Toledo Health Science Center.

The complete list of the NACCHO Board of Directors is noted below. This esteemed group of public health leaders began their official responsibilities on July 1, 2016. 

·         Dawn Allicock, MD, MPH, CPH, Director/Health Officer, Florida Department of Health in St. John’s County, St. Augustine, FL (PHS Region 4)

·         Claudia Blackburn, MPH, RNC, Health Officer, Leon County Health Department, Tallahassee, FL

·         Brian Bowden, MSc, Associate Legislative Director for Health, National Association of Counties (NACo), Washington, DC (Ex Officio)  

·         Sara H. Cody, MD, Health Officer, Santa Clara County Public Health Department, San Jose, CA  

·         Melody Counts, MD, MHM, District Director, Cumberland Plateau Health District, Lebanon, VA (PHS Region 3)

·         Della Cox-Vieira, RN, MPH, Director, Alamosa County Public Health Department, Alamosa, CO

·         Muriel DeLavergne-Brown, RN, MPH, Public Health Director, Crook County Health Department, Prineville, OR

·         Pramod Dwivedi, DrPH, Health Director, Linn County Public Health Department, Cedar Rapids, IA (PHS Region 7)

·         Bob England, MD, MPH, Director, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Phoenix, AZ

·         Andre Fresco, MPA, Administrator, Yakima Health District, Union Gap, WA (PHS Region 10)

·         Melanie Hutton, RN, Administrator, Cooper County Public Health Center, Boonville, MO

·         Joseph Iser, MD, DrPH, MSc, Chief Health Officer, Southern Nevada Health District, Las Vegas, NV (PHS Region 9)

·         Jennifer C. Kertanis, MPH, Director of Health, Farmington Valley Health District, Canton, CT (PHS Region 1)

·         Jeff Kuhr, PhD, Public Health Director, Mesa County Health Department, Grand Junction, CO (PHS Region 8)

·         Doug Mathis, MA, Administrator, Henry County Health Department, New Castle, IN 

·         Crystal Miller, DrPH, MPH, Public Health Director, Wedco District Health Department, Cynthiana, KY 

·         Gretchen Musicant, RN, MPH, Commissioner, Minnesota Health Department, Minneapolis, MN (PHS Region 5)

·         William S.  Paul, MD, MPH, Director, Metro Public Health Department, Nashville, TN

·         George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer, Northeast Texas Public Health District, Tyler, TX (PHS Region 6)

·         Scott Sjoquist, MS, RS, Director of Health, Mohegan Tribal Health, Uncasville, CT (Tribal Health Department Representative)

·         Kevin Sumner, MPH, Health Officer/Director, Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission,  Green Brook, NJ (PHS Region 2) 

·         Crystal D. Swann, MS, Assistant Executive Director for Health and Human Services, United States Conference of Mayors, Washington, DC (Ex Officio)

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Washington, DC, July 15, 2016 — As the nation continues to witness an escalation of police violence in communities of color, most recently in cities such as Ferguson, MO, Cincinnati, OH, New York City, Baltimore, MD, and Falcon Heights, MN and the protests that followed, it is imperative that public health engages in critical dialogue on its proper role.  The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is leading the public health approach to reducing violence and health inequity in our communities.    This year’s annual conference theme is Cultivating a Culture of Health Equity. The meeting’s 100 sharing sessions and four plenaries will focus on reducing and eliminating the root causes of inequity and disparity in the distribution of illness, disease, injury and death in communities across the county.

 NACCHO has a longstanding policy recognizing intentional injury, or violence as a public health issue and calls on local health departments to work to protect and improve community safety in coordination and collaboration with local, state, and national efforts. At the NACCHO Annual 2015 in Kansas City, MO, NACCHO led a discussion on Police and Community Relations: How Local Public Health Can Help Bridge the Gap. Presenters included Leana S. Wen, MD, MSc, FAAEM, Health Commissioner, Baltimore City, Jasmine D. Graves, MPH, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner Associate, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Jeffrey Blackwell, Chief of Police, Cincinnati, OH.   Join us at NACCHO’s 2016 Annual Conference in Phoenix on July 19-21 as experts discuss strategies to reduce harmful public health outcomes resulting from health inequity. Find the full agenda at http://nacchoannual.org. NACCHO encourages the media to join the conversation and monitor sessions as they happen on Twitter by following @NACCHOalerts and the conference hashtag, #NA16.

WHEN/WHERE:  July 19–21, Sheraton Grand Phoenix, 340 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix, Ariz.

Plenary Session 1: Collaborative Pathways for Advancing the Future of Local Public Health Tuesday, July 19, 3:00–5:30 PM MST Room: Valley of the Sun
Moderator - LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO, Washington, District of Columbia

Speakers

John Auerbach, MBA, Associate Director for Policy, Office of the Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Ga.
Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, District of Columbia 
Leandris Liburd, PhD, MPH, MA, Associate Director, Minority Health & Health Equity, CDC, Atlanta, Ga.

Mr. Auerbach will provide a general overview of CDC’s 6|18 Initiative, CDC’s framework for public health-healthcare collaboration, discuss the role that LHDs can play in advancing the initiative and share successes-to-date from CDC and Medicaid’s perspective in implementing a select number of the targeted interventions. Dr. DeSalvo will provide an overview of the version 3.0 of the open government plan and explore how local health departments can help further HHS strategies. Dr. Liburd will focus on the importance of monitoring and addressing health equity and the necessity of establishing an operational framework within local health departments to effectively address social determinants of health and pursue health equity.

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Plenary Session 2 - Building Power for Health Equity Wednesday, July 20, 8:00–10:00 AM MST Room: Valley of the Sun
Keynote Speaker:  Anthony Iton, MD, JD, MPH, Senior Vice President of Healthy Communities, The California Endowment, Oakland, Calif.

Speakers
● Kathleen Grassi, RD, MPH, Director, Merced County Public Health Department, Merced, Calif.
● Elsa M. Jimenez, MPH, Interim Director of Health, Monterey County Health Department, Salinas, Calif.
● Melissa Jones, MPA, Executive Director, Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative, Oakland, Calif.

Dr. Anthony Iton is a leader of the health equity movement, having significantly spread awareness of and instigated action in response to the fact that zip codes are more important than genetic codes when it comes to health. Prior to joining The California Endowment, Dr. Iton served as the Director and Health Officer for the Alameda County Public Health Department, where he oversaw the implementation of a strategic plan for advancing health equity. At The Endowment, Dr. Iton leads the place-based aspects of Building Healthy Communities, a billion-dollar, 14-site, place-based health improvement effort targeting comprehensive local and statewide policy and systems change. During the panel, Dr. Iton will highlight the Building Healthy Communities theory of change and lessons learned and share his thoughts on how local health departments can advance a health equity practice. He’ll focus on the following as they relate to local health departments: 

•      Understanding and addressing structural racism;
•      Changing the narrative about health and health equity;
•      Supporting power-building to address the roots causes of health inequities;
•      Growing multi-sector partnerships for policy and systems change; and
•      Institutionalizing commitment to health equity across all systems.

Dr. Iton will be joined by three panelist who will describe how they are advancing health equity. Kathleen Grassi, Director, Merced County Department of Public Health, will how to advance a health equity agenda in a rural, conservative context by lifting up the cross-sector, community-centered efforts to improve access to vital health-promoting infrastructure in divested parts of the County. Elsa Jimenez, Interim Director, Monterey County Health Department, will describe the evolution of local health department efforts to advance Health in All Policies thinking and action and drive a multisector, community-driven approach based on the principles of Governing for Racial Equity. Melissa Jones, Executive Director of the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities, will share the importance of organizing local health departments regionally to advance health equity.

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Plenary Session 3 - Achieving Health Equity – A Public Health Approach Thursday, July 21, 8:00–9:30 AM MST Room: Valley of the Sun
Moderator - Richard Hofrichter, Senior Director, Health Equity, NACCHO, Washington, District of Columbia

Keynote Speakers
Ed Ehlinger, MD, MSPH, Minnesota Health Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, Minn.
Camara P. Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, Senior Fellow, Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.
Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and former Executive of Martin Luther King, Jr. County, Mount Baker, Wash.

This panel will explore different approaches and perspectives for tackling the root causes of health inequity in public health practice. Panelists will address the policies, procedures and unnoticed public narratives that perpetuate health inequities and identify opportunities for more intensive, coordinated action with allies.

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Plenary Session 4 - Slow Violence, Health Inequity and the Future Well-Being of Communities Thursday, July 21, 4:00–5:00 PM MST Room: Valley of the Sun

Moderator - Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MS, MD, Hon AIA, Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences and Psychiatry, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.  

Keynote Speakers

Linda Rudolph, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Climate Change and Health, Public Health Institute, Berkeley, Calif.
Donald Warne, MD, MPH, Chair, Department of Public Health, North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D.

This panel will focus on the ways in which health inequity, which often takes decades to manifest its full impact, is a form of slow violence, whereby whole communities have devastation visited upon them. Dr. Linda Rudolph will discuss the specific threats related to those populations made most vulnerable and the challenge posed by inertia, denial and inattention to those most at risk. Dr. Fullilove will talk about the implications of gentrification, redlining, home foreclosure and other forms of dispossession and historical trauma that create health crises for whole communities. Dr. Warne will talk about consequences resulting from the dispossession of American Indian populations over the decades, including the extraordinary historical trauma and its effects on entire populations.

How to Attend: Members of the media may receive complimentary registration to attend NACCHO Annual or select sessions. Find the full agenda at http://nacchoannual.org.  For more information, or to set up an interview with any of the above speakers, please contact NACCHO’s Director of Media and Public Relations, Theresa Spinner, at 202-783-5551 or tspinner@naccho.org.

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About NACCHO

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is the national nonprofit association representing the approximately 2,800 local health departments (LHDs) in the United States, including city, county, metropolitan, district and tribal agencies. NACCHO’s vision is health, equity and security for all people in their communities through public health policies and services. NACCHO’s mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst and voice for local health departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease and improve the quality and length of all lives.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials Dismayed by Congress’ Inability to Act

Washington, DC, July 14, 2016—Congress is leaving for the summer without approving funding to combat the threat the Zika virus poses to the public’s health, especially to pregnant women and their babies.  The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) representing the 2,800 local health departments working on the front lines to protect communities from emergencies like Zika is disappointed by our federal leaders’ inability to put health and safety above politics.  

Local health officials believe that emerging infectious disease threats like Zika require ongoing vigilance, but the particular risks from this virus require immediate, additional investments. With emergency funding for Zika, state and local health departments would be supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with increased virus readiness and response capacity focused on areas with ongoing Zika transmission; enhanced laboratory, epidemiology and surveillance capacity in at-risk areas and surge capacity to limit potential clusters of Zika virus in the United States.


“By not addressing the threat now, we risk squandering our nation’s opportunity to prevent the Zika virus from gaining a foothold in the United States this summer. Local health departments are rightfully concerned because they are on the front lines of responding to this crisis. Resources are still desperately needed to launch prevention efforts and to respond to any local transmission of Zika. On behalf of families across the nation, we implore federal leaders to find a solution to enable local health departments to do what they are trained to do and protect the public’s health.” said LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, NACCHO’s executive director.

Washington, DC, July 6, 2016 — The Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Its most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain and headache. Pregnant women with Zika risk passing the virus to their unborn child. There have been cases of babies being born with microcephaly (a smaller-than-normal head). 

Here are some simple things you can do to keep you and your family safe this summer. To prevent mosquito bites you should:

1.  Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and spray clothes with insect repellent. 

2.  Stay in places with air conditioning, and with window and door screens to keep mosquitos outside.

3.  Remove standing water to keep mosquitos from laying eggs inside and outside the home.  Once a week, empty and scrub vases, pet water bowls, flowerpot saucers, discarded tires, buckets, pool covers, birdbaths, trash cans, and rain barrels.

4.  Wear insect repellent containing DEET. Products containing DEET include OFF!, Skintastic, and Cutter. If you are also using sunscreen apply sunscreen first and insect repellant second.

5.  Use mosquito netting to cover babies younger than two months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.

6.  Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air-conditioned or screened-in rooms are not available, or if sleeping outdoors.

7.  Zika can be transmitted sexually by an infected male. To prevent sexual transmission of Zika, use a condom.

Your local health department is working to keep you safe this summer.  For a list of local health departments in your area, please click here.

Washington, DC, RevIsed July 7, 2016 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is proud to announce the 2016-2017 election results for NACCHO Officers and Board of Directors. Claude-Alix Jacob, MPH, Chief Public Health Officer for the City of Cambridge, MA, will become NACCHO President. Umair Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (HCPHES) in Houston, TX will become the Vice President.

Swannie Jett, DrPH, MSc, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County is the Immediate-Past President.

We wish to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation to Alina Alonso, MD, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach, FL who is stepping down from the Board to devote her time to attend to a family matter. She has served on NACCHO’s Board since July 2011 and has been a valued member of both the Executive and Finance Committees respectively. Her stellar contributions to the membership association, her tireless efforts and her work to support local public health initiatives are to be highly commended.

Due to Dr. Alonso’s resignation that will result in a vacancy of the position of President-Elect at the end of June, a special election will be held during the Board Meeting on July 18th at the NACCHO Annual 2016 Meeting in Phoenix, AZ in order to fill this executive committee seat with a current NACCHO Board member.  he call for nominations will reflect a total of four executive committee seats including the position of Vice President.

As the governing body, the Board of Directors establishes NACCHO’s strategic direction and initiatives, ensures that annual goals are met, sets the annual legislative agenda, and provides financial oversight. The Board is NACCHO’s public face, and represents its members in matters of policy, public health practice and collaboration with health partners in the public and private sectors.

Claude-Alix Jacob, MPH, is the Chief Public Health Officer for the city of Cambridge, Mass.  Mr. Jacob has over 20 years’ experience in public health and has led the operations of the Cambridge Public Health Department since 2007. Serving a population of 107,000 residents and hundreds of businesses, the Cambridge Public Health Department is a city department administered by Cambridge Health Alliance, a regional health care delivery system. 

During Mr. Jacob’s tenure as Chief Public Health Officer, he has overseen federally funded initiatives for addressing health disparities among men of color and reducing obesity in children and adults. Under Mr. Jacob’s direction, the Cambridge Public Health Department is developing a model in which local government and the community are partners in improving health. This collaborative spirit is reflected in the department’s recently completed Community Health Improvement Plan, which has set the city’s health agenda through 2020.

Previous work experiences include serving as a senior health administrator at the Illinois Department of Public Health, Baltimore City Health Department, and Sinai Health System in Chicago.  

Mr. Jacob is passionate about workforce development, accreditation, quality improvement, and health equity. He is the current President of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Mr. Jacob also serves on the Board of Directors for the Public Health Foundation, the Massachusetts Public Health Association, and the National Advisory Board of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. 

Mr. Jacob received training at the National Public Health Leadership Institute and completed the W.K. Kellogg Fellowship for Emerging Leadership in Public Health. He received a master of public health from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

Dr. Shah was appointed in May 2013 as the Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES) Executive Director and the Local Health Authority for Harris County, Texas – the third most populous county in the United States with a population of 4.3 million spread over 1778 square miles, the approximate size of the state of Rhode Island. Prior to joining HCPHES, Dr. Shah served as the Chief Medical Officer at the Galveston County Health District and since 1999, an emergency department physician at Houston’s well-respected Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. Dr. Shah assumed the dual role as Deputy Director and its Director of Disease Control & Clinical Prevention upon joining HCPHES in 2004, overseeing all departmental clinical and infectious disease activities. Under his leadership at HCPHES, the department has won numerous national awards for its innovative work. Dr. Shah earned his B.A. (philosophy) from Vanderbilt University and his Medical Degree from the University of Toledo Health Science Center.

The complete list of the NACCHO Board of Directors is noted below. This esteemed group of public health leaders will begin their official responsibilities on July 1, 2016.

  • Dawn Allicock, MD, MPH, CPH, Director/Health Officer, Florida Department of Health in St. John’s County, St. Augustine, FL (PHS Region 4)
  • Claudia Blackburn, MPH, RNC, Health Officer, Leon County Health Department, Tallahassee, FL
  • Brian Bowden, MSc, Associate Legislative Director for Health, National Association of Counties (NACo), Washington, DC (Ex Officio)
  • Sara H. Cody, MD, Health Officer, Santa Clara County Public Health Department, San Jose, CA
  • Melody Counts, MD, MHM, District Director, Cumberland Plateau Health District, Lebanon, VA (PHS Region 3)
  • Della Cox-Vieira, RN, MPH, Director, Alamosa County Public Health Department, Alamosa, CO
  • Muriel DeLavergne-Brown, RN, MPH, Public Health Director, Crook County Health Department, Prineville, OR
  • Pramod Dwivedi, DrPH, Health Director, Linn County Public Health Department, Cedar Rapids, IA (PHS Region 7)
  • Bob England, MD, MPH, Director, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Phoenix, AZ
  • Andre Fresco, MPA, Administrator, Yakima Health District, Union Gap, WA (PHS Region 10)
  • Melanie Hutton, RN, Administrator, Cooper County Public Health Center, Boonville, MO
  • Joseph Iser, MD, DrPH, MSc, Chief Health Officer, Southern Nevada Health District, Las Vegas, NV (PHS Region 9)
  • Jennifer C. Kertanis, MPH, Director of Health, Farmington Valley Health District, Canton, CT (PHS Region 1)
  • Jeff Kuhr, PhD, Public Health Director, Mesa County Health Department, Grand Junction, CO (PHS Region 8)
  • Doug Mathis, MA, Administrator, Henry County Health Department, New Castle, IN
  • Crystal Miller, DrPH, MPH, Public Health Director, Wedco District Health Department, Cynthiana, KY
  • Gretchen Musicant, RN, MPH, Commissioner, Minnesota Health Department, Minneapolis, MN (PHS Region 5)
  • William S. Paul, MD, MPH, Director, Metro Public Health Department, Nashville, TN
  • George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer, Northeast Texas Public Health District, Tyler, TX (PHS Region 6)
  • Scott Sjoquist, MS, RS, Director of Health, Mohegan Tribal Health, Uncasville, CT (Tribal Health Department Representative)
  • Kevin Sumner, MPH, Health Officer/Director, Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission, Green Brook, NJ (PHS Region 2)
  • Crystal D. Swann, MS, Assistant Executive Director for Health and Human Services, United States Conference of Mayors, Washington, DC (Ex Officio)

Washington, DC, June 20, 2016 — The Trustees of The Foundation for the Public's Health (TFPH) met in late April 2016 to establish the organization’s strategic priorities. TFPH champions public health philanthropy, collaborating with local and tribal health departments, private enterprise, and other nonprofits to secure the health and safety of hundreds of millions of Americans. TFPH’s first initiative is to mobilize funds to support the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).

With close to 1,000 units and 200,000 volunteers, the MRC provides critical public health assistance through emergency response and preparedness, as well as community resilience projects. This work, often done in conjunction with local health departments, is at risk from budget cuts.

In partnership with the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), which helps to coordinate funding to MRC units, TFPH is seeking philanthropic dollars to sustain and grow MRC public health programming. MRC units have limited experience of how private philanthropy can benefit them; with rare exceptions, most MRC units secure funds through government grants and challenge awards coordinated through NACCHO. As a result, many MRC units are underfunded, and the public’s health suffers as a result.

“TFPH will offer an array of fundraising, consulting, and training opportunities tailored to MRC-specific challenges and opportunities,” says George Roberts, Chair of the Foundation. “Through grants, sponsorships and fees, and community coalitions, MRC units will have many opportunities to build sustainable funding sources for their most important programs,” says LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, NACCHO Executive Director and Secretary of the Foundation.

The Foundation for the Public’s Health's second initiative is a partnership program with WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. WomenHeart was founded in 1999 by three women who had heart attacks while in their 40s. They were faced with many obstacles, including misdiagnosis, inadequate treatment, and social isolation. WomenHeart’s mission is to improve the health and quality of life of women living with or at risk of heart disease, and to advocate for their benefit. With local health departments as conveners, TFPH and WomenHeart will work with young women to develop an advocacy program to prevent chronic illness in the communities where they live. WomenHeart Champions, volunteers who are women living with heart disease and raise awareness and share information about women and heart disease, can act as mentors to young women and help them craft messages to encourage preventative care.

With government funding for chronic disease in decline, jeopardizing many important public health programs, the TFPH/WomenHeart partnership comes at a critical time. Local health departments are being asked to play an increasingly larger role in chronic disease prevention. However, the importance of our nation’s public health infrastructure, which is central to sustaining population health and safety, remains undersupported.

“Investing in young women as advocates for health accomplishes two goals – 1) we empower those whose voices are critical to the health of our nation, and 2) we empower the women behind those voices with the education and confidence to address public health epidemics, like heart disease in women,” says Mary McGowan, CEO of WomenHeart.

Washington, DC, May 16, 2016 – Two newly released studies of county, city, and state health departments starkly illustrate the need for continued Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) funding to safeguard our nation’s health. The studies were conducted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), in coordination with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE).

On March 16, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a shift of $44.2 million from the current fiscal year state and local base PHEP grants to pay for the Zika response. The CDC took this action because Congress has not appropriated emergency Zika funding to pay for current and future CDC Zika preparedness and response activities as requested by President Obama in February. These studies were undertaken to determine how the redirection of PHEP grants may affect local health departments’ ability to carry out their mandate to protect the public’s health.

The studies reveal PHEP spending cuts will decrease local health departments’ ability to plan and respond to emergencies. The studies also indicate local health departments are estimated to receive an 8.5% reduction in PHEP grant funding. In particular, half of local health departments that responded to NACCHO’s study expected PHEP funding cuts to have some or significant impact on their local health department’s jurisdiction’s Zika preparedness and response, as well as other emergency efforts. Many respondents expressed concern that the redistribution of funds threatens the sustainability of preparedness programs and sets a dangerous precedent.

“When you weaken the local public health infrastructure, you weaken a community’s ability to respond to emerging threats, natural disasters, or any emergency. Local health departments are rightfully concerned because their ability to respond after an emergency is directly related to their capacity and preparedness before the emergency,” said LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, NACCHO’s executive director.

Local health departments reported that public health preparedness capabilities most negatively impacted by PHEP funding reprogramming are community preparedness, followed by volunteer management, and medical countermeasure dispensing. They also reported that pre-event readiness, the availability of supplies and staffing levels will be hampered by funding cuts. Nearly half of local health departments reporting expected a decrease in staffing capacity as a result of cuts with local health departments predicting the high possibility of staffing cuts hiring freezes, furloughs, and the reassignment/reduction of staffing duties.

Said James S. Blumenstock, ASTHO’s chief program officer, health security, “The survey results clearly show that, no matter how necessary it may be to reprogram funds for a specific emergency, it will have consequences on the overall preparedness and response capabilities of our nation’s public health system. All the more reason why we urge the Administration and Congress to come together and swiftly provide needed resources to combat Zika, including restoration of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement funds.”

Respondents expressed concern about their ability to perform adequately with limited or reduced money for supplies, training, exercises or personnel. Local health departments perform a myriad of critical services including epidemiological investigations, disease surveillance, community outreach and education, and preventative services as part of Zika and other disease preparedness and response activities. But how much more can they do with less? Local health departments want to serve but they need the resources to mount a sustainable and effective public health effort. What if there is another virus, another emergency, or what if Zika infections become more and more common in the United States?

It is challenging to address local health departments’ Zika preparedness in the context of other ongoing activities and competing priorities. However, with emergency Zika funding, local health departments will be better prepared if and when cases of disease go up and will have increased capacity to respond when the risk is greatest. If Congress approves emergency Zika funding to restore and increase local and state health department funding, this is possible.

Click here to read the studies.

Washington, DC, May 4, 2016—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has awarded up to $25,000 each to eleven local health departments to enhance coordination for preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Lessons in INfection Control (LINC) Initiative award recipients will test new approaches to prepare for and respond to Ebola, healthcare-associated infections, and other emerging infectious diseases.

The LINC Initiative supports local health departments in improving healthcare and community infection control practices by working with hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare settings to identify and address needs and opportunities. Award recipients will test creative solutions addressing the gaps identified during the U.S. response to Ebola, and ways to combat the 700,000 healthcare-associated infections in the U.S. each year. The award also sponsors local health department staff to receive certification in infection control.

“Those of us in public health are learning hard lessons about preparation and response to healthcare-associated infections and diseases, including Ebola and Zika: that concerted coordination, preparation, and response are the keys to keeping our communities healthy. The LINC awards will go a long way in giving these eleven local health departments the freedom and ability to create strategic partnerships that will outlast the life of the grant,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, executive director of NACCHO.

Local health departments that received the award include the following:

  • Barren River District Health Department (KY)
  • Clark County Public Health (WA)
  • Eau Claire City-County Health Department (WI)
  • El Paso County Public Health (CO)
  • Flathead City-County Health Department (MT)
  • Florida DOH Pasco County
  • Kent County Health Department (MI)
  • Marion County Public Health Department (IN)
  • Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (WV)
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County (WA)
  • St. Louis City Department of Health (MO)

The awardees will implement this project throughout 2016.

Washington, DC, May 3, 2016 – A newly released study co-authored by LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, executive director of NACCHO examines the longstanding public health agency workforce shortage and why the current surplus of public health graduates may be reluctant to apply for available jobs in governmental public health. The study, “Educational Pipeline / Public Health Workforce Mismatch—Can It Be Reconciled?” was published in the May/June 2016 edition of Public Health Reports.

Dr. Hasbrouck said, “We know that public health agencies have faced workforce shortages for well over a decade. And yet, schools of public health are graduating 69 percent more students than ten years ago. What explains this supply and demand imbalance? For instance, are salaries too low? Is applying for a governmental job so complicated that it discourages potential applicants? Do public health graduates feel they have acquired the right skills to succeed in a public health agency career? Our study is important, because we have made an evidence-based inquiry into the issue. We cannot rely on assumptions if we want to tackle the problem of public health agency workforce shortages.”

Among their findings, the researchers learned that on average, public health salaries are not as low as commonly assumed. In addition, they noted that while a protracted hiring process has been cited in previous research to explain low job application rates, there is little real evidence to support this.

The researchers also asked whether the workplace shortages are, in fact, real. They concluded that much more study of these questions is needed. “Lacking research examining these issues, including to what extend graduates desire vacant positions within the field and whether agencies feel they are qualified for these vacancies, public health agencies will remain uninformed and possibly misaligned with strategies to resolve these issues with evidence-based approaches.”

Dallas, Texas, April 21, 2016

Representatives from major public health organizations addressed attendees at the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ Preparedness Summit in a late-breaking session that succinctly addressed the threats of Zika virus disease, as well as the latest scientific information and front-line response activities from both states and the federal government. 

The numbers growing daily show the sheer breadth of the disease: There could be up to four million cases this year, just eight months after the first case was reported in Brazil. There are 30 countries with active virus transmission. As of April 13, the CDC reports that there were 358 confirmed cases of travel-associated Zika virus disease in the United States.

The speakers—representing state health departments, the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), and federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—brought a wealth of expertise and urgency to the meeting, discussing diagnostics, efforts to address at-risk populations, risk communications, surveillance, and vector control. 

The experts (titles and affiliations listed below) brought a much-needed perspective to understanding the Zika virus disease. Christine Kosmos, CDC, said, “We didn’t even have time to deactivate after Ebola before we had to deal with Zika; we haven’t seen a virus that causes birth defects since measles.” She presented the CDC’s current response actions, including surveillance, laboratory testing and diagnostics, and vector surveillance and control, noting that “no supplemental funding has been given to CDC, but the one thing I talked to our prep directors about is that if we learned a lesson from Ebola, it was that the speed and the scale in which you can response to a public health emergency has a lot to do with the trajectory of the illness, and how you can impact that trajectory.” CDC’s response actions include a phased risk-based plan for states; vector control, and communication planning. “Zika could explode through the Americas and spread to the U.S., and these could be devastating and lifelong,” Ms. Kosmos said. “We have learned a great deal, and it’s been a unique response, bringing together “response partners that haven’t traditionally worked together… in what is an extraordinarily complex, dynamic, and challenging response.”

Dr. Sally Philips of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that “HHS is taking a very proactive stance, using a strategy of requiring better diagnostics, getting guidance and communications into the hands of healthcare providers, vector control, identifying parties to create capacity and service, screening blood, ensuring case management, and ascertaining lab capacity. 

Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said that “the gulf states are the longstanding vector for the mosquitos we’re worried about; our planning isn’t ‘if’; it’s ‘when,’ and we hope we can do everything we can with vector control agencies to postpone or prevent [widespread Zika infections] from happening. The crux of the problem is that it’s very challenging to understand what kind of response we’ll have… How will we meet the demand in testing pregnant women if we have mass infections? Some of the challenges specific to Texas are that we don’t have statewide surveillance system, so cities and counties are responsible for the first type of response needed. We’d love to know the risk in a statistical sense; this creates the real challenge. We know the devastating effects for women of childbearing age, and that risk will only increase, but we don’t have any statistical way of explaining what that risk might be.”

Brooke Courtney, Senior Regulatory Counsel, Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats, for the FDA, said “Like others in the federal family, we’re fully engaged with our partners and with the international community.” The FDA is engaged in blood safety, clinical diagnostic tests, vaccine development, vector control, and monitoring for fraudulent products. Currently, no FDA-approved, -licensed, or –cleared medical products are available to prevent, treat, or diagnose Zika virus. The FDA is also exploring genetically engineered mosquitoes and reviewing proposals for innovative vector control strategies — this may cut down on the mosquito population, but not the disease. 

Scott Becker, MS, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, shared the lab response to the crisis, noting that ongoing needs and challenges require money. “The Administration has been doing a great job of making the case, but we need to let Congress know that we really need this money. The new normal is that there will be an EOC [emergency operations center] throughout the year.” APHL has been engaged in a highly rigorous response in incident management driven by science with the goal of supporting public health labs; offering technical assistance; conducting assessments to understand capability and capacity; creating partnerships; engaging in public policy with briefings for key congressional staff and regulatory discussions with the FDA; and responding to media requests to explain the role of public health labs and capabilities. 
“We can’t spray our way out of this,” said Umair Shah, MD, MPH executive director of Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (Houston), as he gave the local perspective, discussed Texas’ highly diverse population, and added that “what we do together really matters.” With urgency, Dr. Shah said that currently, the community is experiencing the worst flooding in years, and this “brings to light some of the challenges related to Zika and the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. 

  • Engaged in mosquito surveillance using historical data on Aedes combined with expanded surveillance, including predictive modeling within 268 operational areas; 
  • Generating GIS maps indicating key metrics, such as mosquito population density levels of Aedes, Zika-confirmed mosquito samples, local cases of human infections, and sources of breeding;
  • Conducting necessary staff training for inspectors, larvicide applicators, and other support personnel;
  • Acquiring testing materials and lab equipment for mosquito virology lab for Zika; and 
  • Working with partners and community members on key issues around reducing mosquito habitats.

Washington, DC, April 5, 2016

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units around the country are in the forefront of creating projects that address public health needs in their communities.  The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Medical Reserve Corps Program Office funded a total of 167 innovative community projects in the amount of $2.5 million from volunteer MRC units across the country.  

“We’re very pleased to support the MRC Challenge Awards for the fourth year,” said NACCHO Executive Director LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH. “The program’s focus on innovation in areas that align with national health initiatives are significant at the local level, and often serve as the backbone for efforts to strengthen public health, improve emergency response capabilities, and build resiliency.” Beginning in spring 2016, the Challenge Awards will fund projects that benefit local communities in one of four focus areas: Community Resiliency, Chronic Disease Prevention, Partners for Empowered Communities, and Mental and Emotional Wellbeing. 

The Medical Reserve Corps is a national group of nearly 200,000 local volunteers dedicated to improving the health and safety of their communities. Through a cooperative agreement with the MRC Program Office, NACCHO works to increase awareness and understanding of the MRC program; promote, support, and build capacity within the MRC network; enhance cooperation between the MRC Program Office and local and state  authorities to support and increase MRC capacities at the local level; and expand the efforts and capabilities of local MRC units to support their community-based public health, preparedness and response initiatives.

Washington, D.C., March 9, 2016

Emergency preparedness lies at the heart of a community’s ability to survive both natural and man-made disasters; therefore, funding is critical in creating resilient communities. Preparedness and building resilience are the focus of NACCHO’s 2016 Preparedness Summit to be held April 19–22, in Dallas, Texas, “Planning Today for Rebuilding Tomorrow: Resiliency & Recovery in the 21st Century.”

“The chances of experiencing an event that displaces thousands of people are higher than ever in this country, due to our increasingly unstable climate and our reliance on a federal response system,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, executive director of NACCHO. “The Preparedness Summit is a premier opportunity for local health departments on the frontlines to gather and learn from our top experts and from each other on what it means to help create conditions for resilient communities in the face of disaster.”

Local, state, and federal public health organizations are a key piece of the resiliency puzzle. The 2016 Preparedness Summit’s opening plenary on April 19 will explore Innovations in Community Resilience, Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Marion McFadden and 100 Resilient Cities’ Andrew Salkin will join Dr. Nicole Lurie from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and NACCHO executive director LaMar Hasbrouck to discuss their programs and public health’s vital place in the federal government ’s community resilience efforts.

On Wednesday, April 20, the plenary, Making Smart Choices: Disaster Risk Reduction at Home and Abroad, takes an international approach to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) best practices. DRR states that while we can’t prevent a hazard from happening, we can prevent it from becoming a disaster by investing in measures to mitigate the impact of these hazards on communities. Speakers include leading experts Dr. David Applegate, Acting Deputy Director, U.S. Geological Survey; Virginia Murray, Head of Extreme Events and Public Protection, Public Health in the UK; William Raisch, Director of the International Center for Enterprise Preparedness, NYU; and Mark Keim, founder of DisasterDoc and on White House Subcommittee on Disaster Risk Reduction.

At the Preparedness Summit's closing plenary, Planning for the Marathon, Not the Sprint: Building Disaster Mental Health Recovery into Preparedness Planning, Steven Moskowitz from the New York State Office of Mental Health, Dr. Ben Springgate from the St. Charles Avenue Multi-Specialty Clinic in New Orleans, and Kelly Suter from the International Medical Corps in Washington, D.C. will highlight successful programs that have built behavioral health recovery initiatives into their planning efforts. The speakers will discuss their experiences in mental health recovery during the Ebola response, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy recoveries, and active shooter events.

Washington, DC, February 23, 2016

Citing a critical need to combat Zika virus disease, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has urged Congress to provide $1.8 billion in emergency funding as requested by President Barack Obama. In its February 16 letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, NACCHO wrote in support of sustained federal funding for public health programs to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus. Local health officials believe that emerging infectious disease threats, including Zika virus disease, require ongoing vigilance, but the particular risks from this virus require immediate, additional investments.

NACCHO Executive Director LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, said, “It is absolutely critical that new funding is made available to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments to be prepared for what will surely be an increased number of Zika virus disease cases in the future, perhaps as early as this spring. Since local health departments are on the front lines of community preparation and response, funding is needed for public education, mosquito eradication, investigation and vector control, refinement of diagnostics and vaccines, and expanded capacity to test people suspected of having contracted the disease.”

Currently, there are now 82 confirmed cases of travel-associated Zika virus disease in the U.S., and the urgency to act is clear. Although not a new virus, 2015 marked the first widespread transmission of the Zika virus in the Americas. The virus is spread primarily by mosquitoes and usually causes only mild illness or no symptoms, but it may be causing a steep increase in birth defects, including microcephaly (a congenital neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by abnormal smallness of the head) in infants born to mothers who were infected during pregnancy. Coinciding with the Zika cases has been a rise in the number of cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a debilitating disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The link to Zika virus disease is unclear, but the current outbreak in Colombia, South America is raising concerns that are challenging doctors to discover if Zika is causing GBS, or whether it is reacting with antibodies from other widespread mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue or chikungunya.

Given limited investments in public health infrastructure, such surge funding for emergent threats like Zika is necessary. NACCHO also cited the need for Congress to sufficiently fund the core infectious disease program at CDC to help avert these situations in the future. This program includes the vector-borne diseases program that provides resources to state and local health departments to detect, control, and prevent bacteria and viruses transmitted by mosquitoes.

Washington, DC, February 22, 2016

BlackDoctor.org (BDO), the leading online health destination for African Americans, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions have announced the highly anticipated list of distinguished honorees for the 3rd Annual Top Blacks in Healthcare Awards Gala. This celebration of service and commitment will take place on Thursday, April 21, 2016 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore, MD.

Now in its third year, the awards gala will honor and recognize 24 individuals who have made outstanding contributions to medicine and health. These highly esteemed and accomplished individuals not only maintain a demanding work/life balance, but they are also progressively moving their communities forward.

“Hard work pays off. These individual have dedicated their careers to ensure that everyone has access to quality healthcare. As a result of their extraordinary accomplishments, they’ve reached the highest plateau, the Top Blacks in Healthcare. BlackDoctor.org along with Johns Hopkins Center of Health Disparities Solutions is honored to recognize these individuals for their hard work and to celebrate their successes," said Reggie Ware, President and CEO of BlackDoctor.org.

The 2016 honorees were identified and selected by award recipients from the 2014 and 2015 Top Blacks in Healthcare as well as key individuals from partner organizations such as the National Medical Association, Johns Hopkins University, and the American Hospital Association.

“I appreciate this recognition because it acknowledges efforts to eliminate health disparities among our nation’s communities. I am elated to share this honor with these esteemed colleagues, trailblazers, and passionaries,” said LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH.

Silver Sponsor-level companies for the 2016 event are Bayer Corporation and Novartis. Additional sponsors include Colgate-Palmolive Company, KentuckyOne Health, Purdue Pharma L.P., American Hospital Association and Mercy Health Foundation.

Award recipients will be featured on the BlackDoctor.org website, its Facebook page and other related media in celebration of Black History Month. Currently, BlackDoctor.org has a total monthly audience reach of more than 24 million visitors.

Executive Editor, Sandria Washington said, “Something magical happens when we recognize these outstanding role models who look like our audience. Not only does it show there are people on the front lines concerned about us, it also encourages people to excel in their own career endeavors and dreams.”

About NACCHO
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is the national non-profit association representing the approximately 2,800 local health departments (LHDs) in the United States, including city, county, metro, district, and tribal agencies. NACCHO’s vision is health, equity, and security for all people in their communities through public health policies and services. NACCHO’s mission is to be a leader, partner, catalyst, and voice for local health departments in order to ensure the conditions that promote health and equity, combat disease, and improve the quality and length of all lives.

About BlackDoctor.org
BlackDoctor.org (BDO) is the world's most comprehensive online health resource for black consumers. With a monthly total audience reach of 24 million, BDO is the leading producer of targeted, culturally and clinically accurate health and editorial content on African Americans. BDO's users appreciate receiving health information in an environment they trust and in a language and context they understand. BDO also boasts the largest online database of black physicians and dentists as part of its free doctor search tool, and a medical expert panel including many of the most respected and accomplished experts in their field. Learn more at BlackDoctor.org, follow them on Twitter @BlackDoctor, and Facebook at facebook.com/BlackDoctor.org.

About Johns Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions
The Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions (HCHDS) was established in October 2002 and brings together the health research and program development resources of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes (Schools of Public Health, Medicine, and Nursing) to demonstrate the efficacy of public health, social science and medical science in mitigating health disparities. HCHDS does this through efforts in research, training and community outreach. The Center has a national focus, but much of its work takes place in the local Baltimore community. The HCHDS is designated as a National Comprehensive Center of Excellence in Health Disparities by the NIMHD of the National Institutes of Health.

Washington, DC, February 1, 2016 

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) launched its newly designed website to make its rich array of resources and information more accessible to its members, partners, and visitors in enhancing population health. The new site’s functionality will also allow NACCHO to drive member engagement, maximize retention rates, and increase organizational relevancy.

NACCHO Executive Director LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, said, “Our website has always been an important vehicle for us to share critical information about improving population health. The redesigned website has a new look and improved functionality to ensure an easier and more engaging experience for users. Our goal is to ensure the new website is faster, easier to navigate, and more user-friendly.” 

NACCHO’s new search engine not only offers a robust search of naccho.org, but also features trending topics that gives the user an intuitive experience in accessing information. The website’s new navigation tool is a collapsible menu, and the new hover feature allows the user to identify a program area and content by color; that is, blue for Community Health, green for Environmental Health, orange for Preparedness, and purple for Public Health Infrastructure. NACCHO’s new site also offers the latest in-page navigation techniques and allows for simple sharing on social media.  

In Phase II of the website redevelopment, NACCHO will incorporate several exciting new features, including a state-of-the-art virtual community, which will allow NACCHO members to collaborate and connect. Phase II will also include a new Toolbox and Model Practice interface, which will have a sleeker look and be more intuitive to NACCHO members and users.

NACCHO’s design team worked with MilesHerndon, a full-service brand strategy agency, to develop this user-friendly website with heavy consultation from their staff within a short timeline. The objective was to create a website that allows users to easily access key resources including a dynamic Toolbox and policy and advocacy materials. 

The ten-month website redesign project was informed by an intense study period that included usability studies, target audience participation sessions, and staff input. The final three design concepts—member-based, story-based, and resource-based—were presented and voted on by attendees at NACCHO’s 2015 Annual Conference. Ultimately, the new and improved site incorporates the best elements of all three concepts.