Welcome to day two of NACCHO 360
! Yesterday, Chief Executive Officer, Lori Tremmel Freeman opened the first plenary, “Leadership in Turbulent Times” by welcoming over 580 virtual attendees. She shed light on the challenges of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the efforts of health department staff in mitigating its spread.
NACCHO Immediate Past-President George T. Roberts, Jr., gave his past-presidential address and discussed the issues that local health officials are facing in the wake of the pandemic. He also shared many of NACCHO’s accomplishments of the past year and gave kudos to the front line workers responding to COVID-19.
Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, Deputy Director for Non-Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spoke about how local public health is leading the COVID-19 response and stated, “Local health departments are our most valued partners in this work.”
Dr. Philip went on to explain how the pandemic has created an opportunity for multiple sectors to act together as a public health system. In addition, Dr. Philip acknowledged the attack on public health officials by saying, “We’re all painfully aware of the departure of local public health officials and leaders, who are just trying to stand up and do the right thing. We know this isn’t an easy task, and CDC is here to work with NACCHO to stop this trend.”
Tomás Aragón, MD, DrPH, Health Officer of the City and County of San Francisco, and director of the Population Health Division at the San Francisco Department of Public Health defined public health leadership as the “the practice of mobilizing people, organizations, and communities to effectively tackle tough public health challenges.” Dr. Aragón closed with saying, “To be anti-racist, we need to open our minds to our own prejudices.”
Emily Brown, MPH, CPH, NACCHO Board Member and the former Director for Rio Grande County Public Health in Colorado, provided suggestions when activated in emergency response, including finding support networks, taking care of your own health, setting limits, and frequent communication.
Gerard Giuliano, JD, Director for the Office of Public Health Legal Affairs at the Nassau County Department of Health in New York, highlighted his jurisdiction’s challenges in implementing essential services during the pandemic. He also discussed serving quarantine orders according to the law.
Tuesday’s final keynote speaker, Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin, discussed the importance of building multisectoral relationships with public health officials and agencies. Mayor Benjamin went on to highlight the need to reimagine how society supports human potential.
Don’t miss the rest of the conference! Registration to NACCHO 360 is still open and the content will be available after the conference for up to a year.