US Washington Capitol

NACCHO's Second Annual Virtual Hill Week

Mar 08, 2022 | Rachel Miller

From February 22-25, NACCHO hosted its second annual Virtual Hill Week with local health leaders from across the country championing local public health with their members of Congress. Ninety-two leaders from NACCHO’s Board of Directors, Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC), State Associations of County and City Health Officials (SACCHO), and National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH) spoke with over 117 congressional offices across 26 states in a collective voice for local public health. Members of Congress were able to join 21 of these meetings to hear directly from their local leaders.

Virtual Hill Week participants emphasized the needs of their local communities and called attention to three ways Congress can help:

  1. Cosponsor legislation to establish a public health loan workforce repayment program (H.R. 3297/S. 3506) to give local, state, and tribal public health departments an important tool to recruit and retain top talent.
  2. Provide predictable, sustained, disease-agnostic funding through annual appropriations and authorizing legislation to support core public health infrastructure. Such funding could be used to focus on certain skillsets that are critically necessary – like communication, outreach, data analysis, and digitalization – but that local health departments don’t have the resources to invest in today.
  3. Ensure public health funding reaches local health departments equitably and efficiently by including directive language in public health authorization and appropriations language.

Participants had thoughtful and engaging conversations throughout the week. For many, the meetings were an opportunity to build on established relationships with members of Congress and their staff. For others, they were a chance to introduce themselves and their role in protecting the health and safety of the congressional district or state. Participants offered to serve as a resource to members of Congress and their staff and encouraged them to reach out to their local health officials and NACCHO when considering issues related to public health.

The fruits of Virtual Hill Week were felt almost immediately – the next week, four more members of Congress signed on to cosponsor legislation to establish a public health workforce loan repayment program (H.R. 3297). NACCHO looks forward to building on the important advocacy that occurred during Virtual Hill Week and encourages our members to continue to engage with Congress on matters that affect local public health year-round.


About Rachel Miller

Government Affairs Intern

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