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.

Programs

Theresa Spinner

Director, Media & Public Relations

202-783-5551 / tspinner@naccho.org

NACCHO Opposes Proposed “Public Charge” Rule Changes Affecting Immigrant Communities

Proposed Regulation Deters Immigrants from Using Social Services

Washington, DC, October 10, 2018 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, strongly opposes immigration policy that unfairly discriminates against immigrants with respect to education, employment, basic human rights, and social welfare. Under the proposed “public charge” rule published today in the Federal Register, individuals who have received public benefits may be denied entry to the United States or a green card allowing them to stay in the U.S. legally.

In addition, the proposed changes may have a chilling effect on those seeking to apply for assistance designed to support low-income families, including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy Program, and several housing programs.

“NACCHO vigorously opposes anti-immigrant laws that discriminate and exclude on the basis of nationality and immigration status,” said CEO Lori Tremmel Freeman. “Our local public health departments are here to protect and preserve the health and well-being of the communities they support, especially the most vulnerable among us. Clearly, public health will be compromised if families are too afraid to access vital services, fearing the loss of permanent residency status. Limited or reduced access to support programs will affect their health, financial stability, and the healthy development of their children.” Under the proposed rule, the changes would likely lead to broad decreases in participation in Medicaid and other programs among legal immigrant families and their primarily U.S.-born children, beyond those directly affected by the changes. Nationwide, over 19 million or one in four (25%) children live in a family with an immigrant parent, and nearly nine in ten (86%) of these children are citizens.

NACCHO Applauds Passage of the Labor, Health & Human Services (LHHS) and Education Appropriations Bill

—President Urged to Promptly Sign Bill—

Washington, DC, September 26, 2018 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local health departments, commends Congress for passing the FY2019 Labor, Health & Human Services (LHHS) and Education Appropriations bill, and looks forward to the president signing it into law. The bill provides funding for the three departments for the fiscal year starting October 1.

It provides an additional $2 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $584 million to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and a $126 million increase to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Our local health departments are entrusted with protecting the health and well-being of our communities,” said NACCHO CEO Lori Tremmel Freeman. “We turn to them for help during infectious disease outbreaks, during natural disasters including hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, and as a resource for preventative care across the whole health spectrum. To carry out their mandate, local health departments depend on the funds allocated by this bill. This financial support is critical for keeping our communities healthy and safe.”

The bill funds various programs that support local public health departments and their work to protect and improve health in their communities. Included in the bill is continued support for prevention and response to the opioid epidemic, and new funding to address the infectious disease challenges related to the epidemic. It also contains increased funding for emergency preparedness grants and CDC, as well as a new rapid-response fund for infectious disease emergencies.

NACCHO Commends House Passage of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act

Washington, DC, September 25, 2018 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, thanks the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (H.R. 6378). This important legislation maintains the commitment of the federal government to local public health preparedness.

Among the provisions in the bill:

  • Strengthens the National Health Security Strategy, including global health security;
  • Authorizes the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise, reauthorizes the Strategic National Stockpile, and places additional requirements on how development, procurement, and deployment decisions are made;
  • Calls for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to manage Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) assets;
  • Clarifies state liability laws for volunteers in the Medical Reserve Corps, or involved in the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals;
  • Establishes the children's preparedness unit at CDC and authorizes advisory committees on children, people with disabilities, and seniors; and
  • Clarifies language for the public health emergency rapid response fund to make it easier to provide funding for the immediate needs resulting from a potential public health emergency.

“Americans in the Carolinas are just beginning their recovery from Hurricane Florence and we will soon enter flu season, which may impact the entire country. Federal support of local health departments’ mandate to protect their communities during such events is literally life-saving,” said NACCHO CEO Lori Tremmel Freeman. “NACCHO calls on the Senate to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act without delay.”

New CDC Report Shows Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia Rates Increasing Again in 2017

—Newborn syphilis cases more than double in four years, reaching twenty-year high—

Washington, DC, September 25, 2018 — Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Surveillance Report, 2017. For the fourth year in a row, rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are increasing, with gonorrhea and syphilis rates being the highest since the early 1990s. Of special concern, there were 918 cases of congenital syphilis (occurs when a mother with untreated syphilis passes the infection to the fetus), which is double the number of cases in 2013, with 64 reported stillbirths.

Reversing these trends will require health departments, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders to work together to more effectively implement proven prevention strategies and develop new tools and approaches to address what isn’t working. For local health departments, this means educating both providers and the public about the increasing risk of syphilis, including congenital syphilis, and the need for early prenatal care, including syphilis testing, to properly treat babies being born with congenital syphilis.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, has worked closely with the CDC to provide its members with the support they need to tackle rising STD rates. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can have serious consequences for adults and babies if left untreated, but is simple to cure, including in utero, with the right treatment. This is a widespread problem, as thirty-seven states reported at least one case of congenital syphilis in 2017.

“We simply cannot ignore the barriers to women seeking healthcare, including critical prenatal care, such as poverty, stigma, and lack of health insurance. These barriers also increase the mother’s risk for syphilis,” says NACCHO CEO, Lori Tremmel Freeman. “Prenatal care is crucial for every pregnancy, and getting tested for syphilis just once during pregnancy is unlikely to be sufficient to avoid the consequences of congenital syphilis.”

Syphilis during pregnancy is easily cured with the right antibiotics, but without early and regular prenatal care, cases of syphilis in pregnant women cannot be detected. All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis at their first prenatal visit, but for many, this will be insufficient and a syphilis test at the beginning of the third trimester, approximately 28 weeks’ gestation, and potentially again at delivery, is also needed.

“We must expand our efforts to ensure providers and the public know that syphilis is a real concern during pregnancy and accessing prenatal care including syphilis testing is necessary,” continued Freeman. “Additionally, when any patient receives a syphilis test, we should take advantage of that interaction to discuss the patient and their partner’s pregnancy intentions.”

Local health departments across the country are actively expanding evidence-based strategies to increase identification of STDs; assuring appropriate clinical services for STD clients and their sexual partners; conducting health education and promotion; using surveillance data to inform programmatic efforts and focus on populations disproportionately impacted by STDs; and educating the public, providers, and key stakeholders on effective policy approaches. At this time of increasing STD rates and congenital syphilis cases, it is critical that funding for STD prevention be increased to allow this work to expand.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials Supports the Surgeon General’s Call to Erase Stigma Associated with Opioid Addiction

Washington, DC, September 21, 2018 —U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams has released the report Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Spotlight on Opioids, calling for a cultural shift in the way Americans talk about the opioid crisis, and recommending actions that can prevent and treat opioid misuse and promote recovery.

“Addiction is a brain disease that touches families across America – even my own,” said Dr. Adams. “We need to work together to put an end to stigma.”

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, wholeheartedly supports Dr. Adam’s approach. Local health departments are on the front lines of this national public health crisis, working to protect and support communities across the country.

The Surgeon General is calling on all individuals to do the following:

  • Talk about opioid misuse. Have a conversation about preventing drug misuse and overdose.
  • Be safe. Only take opioid medications as prescribed, ensure that medication is stored in a secure place, and dispose of unused medication properly.
  • Understand pain and talk with your healthcare provider. Treatments other than opioids can be effective in managing pain.
  • Understand that addiction is a chronic disease. With the right treatment and supports, people do recover.
  • Be prepared. Get and learn how to use naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversing drug.

“Local health departments can play a crucial role in raising awareness and educating their communities about opioid addiction, effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment, access to care and resources for those struggling,” said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel Freeman. “They are also important community partners, working across other sectors within the community, including hospital systems, healthcare delivery, mental health and substance abuse, social services, emergency services, and law enforcement, to address this epidemic.”

To learn more about NACCHO’s position on the opioid epidemic, click here.

Senate Passes Legislation Strengthening Public Health Programs

Washington, DC, September 18, 2018 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, applauds the Senate for passing the FY2019 Labor, Health & Human Services (LHHS), and Education Appropriations bill.

The bill provides an additional $2 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $584 million to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and a $126 million increase to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The bill funds various programs that support local public health departments and their work to protect and improve health in their communities. Included in the bill is continued support for prevention and response to the opioid epidemic, and new funding to address the infectious disease challenges related to the epidemic. It also contains increased funding for emergency preparedness grants and CDC, as well as a new rapid-response fund for infectious disease emergencies. “Over the past few days, we have seen Hurricane Florence cause loss of life in the Carolinas as a result of the severe flooding, as well as the inability of some people to evacuate. The storms and flooding have not yet passed, yet it is anticipated that property damage will cost at least $17 billion,” said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer, Lori Tremmel Freeman. “Learning to prepare for and respond to natural disasters will require collaborative efforts, and our local public health departments stand ready to provide a host of services. Critically, more than half of local health departments rely solely on federal funding to prepare for public health emergencies. This is why continued federal support is vital.”

NACCHO urges the House to pass the bill without delay and the President to sign the bill which provides funding for the fiscal year starting October 1.

The Senate Opioid Bill Will Benefit U.S. Communities and the Local Health Departments Addressing the National Opioids Crisis

Washington, DC, September 17, 2018 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, commends the Senate’s passage of the Opioid Crisis Response Act. Local health departments are on the front lines of this national public health crisis, working to protect and support communities across the country. NACCHO commends the Senate for creating a bill with both treatment and prevention measures similar to the House version.

“NACCHO is hopeful that an opioid package will be finalized and signed into law,” said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer, Lori Tremmel Freeman. “In addition to recognizing the value of preventive measures, the House and Senate have also acknowledged the infectious disease challenges of injection drug use associated with the opioid epidemic. These are complex issues, and we believe a public health approach is the most effective way to deal with this epidemic afflicting so many of our communities.”

Highlights of the Legislation

The bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act accomplishes the following:

  • Expands the grant program used to purchase naloxone, which was authorized in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)
  • Authorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to work to combat the opioid crisis through data collection, including grants for states, localities, and tribes
  • Creates a CDC grant program to prevent and respond to infections including hepatitis and HIV
  • Allows physicians to prescribe Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for up to 275 patients at any one time
  • Provides Food and Drug Administration authority to require drug manufacturers to package three- or seven-day supplies
  • Increases education and training to promote improved prescribing practices

“The epidemic will be stopped community by community, and tailored approaches will be needed,” said Freeman. “NACCHO calls on Congress to ensure that appropriate funding for prevention and response to the opioid epidemic reaches local communities.”

To learn more about NACCHO’s position on the opioid epidemic, click here.

CDC Finds Babies Born to Women With Zika Virus Developed Health Problems Not Apparent at Birth

Local Health Departments Provide Essential Services to Affected Moms and Their Babies

Washington, DC, August 14, 2018 — A newly released Vital Signs report revealed about 1 in 7 babies now 1 year or older who were born to women with Zika virus infection during pregnancy had one or more health problems possibly caused by exposure to the virus before birth. Some of these problems were not apparent at birth. These striking results show Zika remains a threat.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nations nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, has worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to provide its members with the support they need to keep their communities safe from Zika infection.

“This report raises new alarm about the potential for devastating health impacts to develop in babies born with Zika virus months after birth. Follow-up care is crucial for all babies who may have been exposed to the virus during pregnancy, whether mom was tested or not,” said NACCHO CEO Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA.

How Local Health Departments Help

  • Local Health departments work with healthcare providers to collect and report medical information about babies in the US Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry (USZPIR) .
  • They can share clinical guidance for mothers and babies affected by Zika, and CDC’s resources for checking development: https://bit.ly/2sViQ0q
  • Local health departments will continue to raise awareness about the risks of Zika during pregnancy and how people can protect themselves.
  • Local health departments can connect families affected by Zika with support groups and services and encourage communication between healthcare providers and families.

CDC recommends that all babies born to mothers with Zika virus infection during pregnancy receive a variety of screenings and care even if they appear healthy at birth. CDC scientists analyzed the most current data reported from the US territories and freely associated states to the USZPIR to examine the follow-up care of these babies. This surveillance network is monitoring infants from over 7,300 pregnancies with lab evidence of Zika in the US states and territories combined. To date, this is the largest monitored group of women with Zika during pregnancy in the world and continues to help answer questions about the full impact of Zika. NACCHO recommends that Congress fund ongoing surveillance work at CDC as proposed in the FY2019 President’s Budget and House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bills.

CDC further recommends that men with possible Zika virus exposure who are planning to conceive with their partner wait at least 3 months after symptoms or possible exposure (travel to or residence in an area with risk of Zika). This shortened timeframe also applies for men who are not planning to conceive with their partners but who want to prevent passing of Zika virus through sex. These updated recommendations are based on emerging data, which suggest that risk of infectious Zika virus in semen appears to decline substantially during the 3 months after onset of symptoms. Male to female transmission of Zika is of greatest concern among couples who are trying to conceive, or might conceive unintentionally. It is critical that such couples are counseled to use condoms or abstain from sex for the recommended duration of 3 months. All other Zika guidance remains unchanged. CDC continues to recommend people with a pregnant partner who have possible exposure to Zika use condoms or not have sex for the entire pregnancy. This is to reduce the risk of sexual transmission of Zika virus during pregnancy, given the very serious birth defects that can result.

NACCHO Announces the 2018 National Health Security Award Winners
Local Health Departments in Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Ohio Honored

New Orleans, LA, July 12 , 2018 – The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) are pleased to announce the winners of the third annual National Health Security Award. This award recognizes local health departments that have demonstrated significant accomplishments in implementing health security-related initiatives within their jurisdictions. The winners received a travel scholarship and were recognized at the 2018 NACCHO Annual Conference in New Orleans on July 11, 2018.They are:

  • San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership, Alamosa Public Health; Alamosa, CO
  • Florida Department of Health in Orange County; Orlando, FL
  • Southern Nevada Health District; Las Vegas, NV
  • Hamilton County Public Health; Cincinnati, OH

Local health departments’ day-to-day operations have an impact on national health security across the country on a regular basis. “Every time a staff member runs a vaccination clinic or spearheads a disease-prevention campaign, these efforts also improve health security,” said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel Freeman. “Every time a local health department helps to track a disease outbreak or connect people with personal health services, like preventive or health promotion services, the agency gives health security a direct boost. Advancing our national health security is a vital component for all of the nation’s local health departments.”

“This award recognizes the essential role of local public health departments in ensuring our country’s health security,” added Dr. Robert Kadlec, HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. “The leadership, innovation, and dedication shown by these recipients and many others across the country translates into lives saved.

CATEGORY: CREATION OF A REGIONAL DISASTER HEALTH RESPONSE SYSTEM
San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership, Alamosa Public Health (Alamosa, CO)

The San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership (SLVPHP) is a coalition of six local public health agency (LPHA) directors and regional shared staff. “The partnership’s mission is to develop and implement shared public health services to improve health outcomes. In this rural area, we rely on each other in so many ways,” said Kimberly Bryant, Partnership Coordinator. “Working together as a region has built trust and a greater sense of security as we call on others’ resources and expertise when needed, and helps us develop stronger relationships with our community partners. Creating a regional organization based on collaborative leadership draws good people to it. Community partners reach a little further across the table with partners they trust. When we cooperate with good intentions and attitudes, others want to work with us to strengthen our communities.”

CATEGORY: Provide strong leadership
Florida Department of Health in Orange County (Orlando, FL)

During the critical public health response to the Zika virus outbreak, the CDC Zika Local Health Department Initiative (LHDI) supported the placement of an outreach nurse, AnnMarie Chase, BSN, RN, at the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. By providing support at the local level, Chase has been able to deliver Zika awareness information to those most affected by Zika infection: pregnant women and babies. This program's success has reduced the effects of Zika on mothers, infants, and communities through improved understanding of congenital Zika syndrome, increased understanding of testing protocols, increased number of at-risk individuals being tested, improved timeliness, completion and accuracy of surveillance data, and increased number of women and children connected to services. AnnMarie's leadership and demonstrated successes during her outreach efforts to community and professional organizations and other partner agencies, have not only had meaningful impact on the Zika response but also helped increase the capacity to prepare for the next emerging threat to moms and babies.

CATEGORY: Support the sustainment of a robust and reliable public health security capacity
Southern Nevada Health District (Las Vegas, NV)

“This award is a reflection of the shared contributions of all our community partners. The collaborative efforts of Nevada’s public safety organizations have helped to improve public health security through inter-agency coordination and a shared commitment to protecting and promoting the health and well-being of Southern Nevada residents and visitors,”- Joseph P. Iser, MD, Chief Health Officer.

Southern Nevada Health District and the Public Health Preparedness Analyst at the local level bring together Homeland Security activities with both CDC and ASPR priority areas. Examples of accomplishments contributing to public health security include: increased training provided by local law enforcement partners for Southern Nevada Health District Workforce to ensure readiness to meet the demands of the evolving threat landscape; provision of bi-weekly and monthly public health situational awareness reports by the Health District to a much larger spectrum of partners to ensure awareness; timely risk communication; and public preparedness activities prior to, during, or following hazard specific threats. Threats that have potential to impact responder operations or health threats to population and visitors are addressed by using cutting-edge public health capabilities and solutions to counter existing or new threats. The SNCTC is one of the few fusion centers in the nation to actively collaborate with the local health department for mutual aid.

CATEGORY: Advance an innovative medical countermeasures enterprise Hamilton County Public Health (Cincinnati, OH)

“We are honored to have received this award,” said Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram. “The system for which we’re being recognized allows us to quickly and efficiently get medication into the hands of our citizens, should an emergency arise. There are a lot of people involved in our distribution system – staff and volunteers – and this award is a testament to them, their hard work, and their concern for the well-being of the citizens of Hamilton County.”

NACCHO Recognizes Local Health Departments and Leaders

— Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, New York, and Tennessee Health Departments Honored —

New Orleans, LA, July 11, 2018Today, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, honored local health departments (LHDs) in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, New York, and Tennessee for outstanding achievements in demonstrating innovative ways to improve public health and safety. In addition, Rex Archer, MD, MPH was honored with the Mo Mullet Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Tri-County Health Department was the recipient of the inaugural National Advocate of the Year Award. The awards were presented during the 2018 NACCHO Annual Conference by NACCHO President Kevin G. Sumner, MPH, who said, “We applaud the passion, ingenuity, and success of this year’s award winners. They exemplify what’s best about local health departments around the nation. These dedicated professionals help millions of Americans live safer, longer, and healthier lives.”

Small Local Health Department of the Year

  • Lincoln County Health Department, Fayetteville, Tennessee

Medium Local Health Department of the Year

  • Fulton County Public Health Department, Johnstown, New York
  • Kansas City, Missouri Health Department
  • Linn County Public Health, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Large Local Health Department of the Year

  • Baltimore City Health Department
  • Erie County Department of Health, Buffalo, New York
  • Nassau County Department of Health, Mineola, New York

Mo Mullet Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Rex Archer, MD, MPH, Kansas City, Missouri Health Department

LHD of the Year Award

Applications for the award were judged based on the size of the health department and were scored on their innovation and creativity, implementation, impact on the community and public health, and engagement of community and diverse partners.

Small LHD Category

Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD), Fayetteville, TN

Since 2013, LCHD has developed annual goals to address Tennessee’s “Big 4”, (tobacco use, caloric intake, physical inactivity, and substance misuse). In 2017, the Tennessee Department of Health made $10,000 grants available to communities to improve the built environment, as it relates to access to active lifestyle. As a grant recipient, Lincoln County Government worked in partnership with the LCHD to conduct community planning meetings for use of the funds. By engaging partners, sharing expertise, and redirecting valuable resources, the LCHD is achieving success in becoming the chief community health strategist in their region.

To help lessen the burden of chronic disease, the LCHD provides an evidence-based prevention program at the senior citizens’ center. The program, Microclinic, is staffed by health department nurses. LCHD also offers the Baby and Me Tobacco Free (BAM) program. BAM is an evidence-based prenatal education program that offers vouchers for free diapers to women if they quit smoking, and remain smoke-free for up to 12 months postpartum.

Medium LHD Category

Fulton County Public Health Department (FCPHD), Johnstown, NY

FCPHD was honored for its Telehealth Initiative. This innovative project includes the integration of health education and prevention in the expanded access-to-care model. Rather than simply being an isolated diagnostic and treatment telemedicine platform, and/or a stand-alone telemedicine doctor concierge service, this telehealth initiative provides a comprehensive integrated remote access to care that incorporates health education and prevention, while also navigating the healthcare landscape in real time, and optimizing the local community resources. FCPHD acts as the chief community health strategist, facilitating the collaboration of many community organizations, businesses, health, and medical entities. The FCPHD is building the necessary infrastructure to virtually enable connections that would not otherwise be possible.

FCPHD demonstrated the integration of evidence-based practices in telehealth, enhanced the public health system transformation with community, business sector, and other stakeholders through coordinated efforts to identify and address issues affecting community health. The Fulton County Public Health Department used the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program engagement funding in the amount of $25,000, and secured $80,000 toward the expansion of a countywide telehealth initiative, under the innovation stream of DSRIP funding to implement the program.

Kansas City, Missouri Health Department (KCMOHD)

In late 2016, the KCMOHD began a collaboration called LifeX, designed to improve the health disparities between white and African-Americans in their area. After receiving support from department leadership, staff worked closely with the city manager’s office and key leaders in other city departments to host the LifeX Summit in November 2016. In all, 102 leaders representing all 20 city departments attended.

At the LifeX Summit, the health, neighborhoods, and city planning departments jointly presented historical trends in life expectancy. LifeX participants broke into small, facilitated breakout groups in which they discussed what their respective departments were currently doing that could have an impact on life expectancy and what they envisioned for the future. Following the LifeX Summit, KCMOHD compiled input they received and developed a cross-walk with objectives of the Citywide Business Plan, which was shared with the city manager, mayor and city council.

In November of 2017, the planning group reconvened for LifeX 2.0 to look at the evolving data, celebrate LifeX projects from the past year, and to invite select partners from the nonprofit, business, clinical care, and philanthropic communities into the conversation. Attendees to a LifeX summit don’t attend only to absorb information; the summits are carefully curated by experts to result in action-oriented commitments.

Stepping up as the chief community health strategist requires creating a culture of innovation. The success of LifeX is not measured by whether the project “succeeds,” but rather, by the risks the city takes. Because of the success of LifeX, the department has embarked on projects across the city geared towards the social factors that impact health, working with local government and NGO partners, both new and well established. A total of 25% of LifeX summit participants surveyed 60 days post-event indicated an increase in collaboration with departments with whom they had never established working relationships.

Linn County Public Health, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

In 2016, the Linn County Board of Health was awarded a State Innovation Model (SIM) grant to allow for community care coordination (C3). The SIM C3 funding allowed Linn County Public Health to act as a neutral integrator organization and develop a coalition to study and address social determinants of health to improve health outcomes. Through the Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Planning (CHA/CHIP) process, addressing the social determinants had previously been identified as a community priority. The overarching goal of this project was to study and establish a standardized cross-sector referral system to improve residents’ health outcomes. Linn County Public Health was uniquely positioned to act as the integrator and convener, because of its years-long experience in fostering collaborative partnerships for CHA-CHIP efforts and other community initiatives.

Linn County Public Health included many medical and social service partners to form a Community Care Coordination (C3) coalition. Coalition partners included representatives from hospitals, the Federally Qualified Health Clinic, social service organizations, free clinics, schools, mental health, transportation, substance abuse, aging, housing, and many others. The coalition worked together to understand how their resource-rich, but geographically fragmented, services cause barriers for residents needing medical and social services.

The most important outcome of this initiative was the launch of the TAVConnect Care Coordination system, which has allowed for closed-loop referrals to occur between the community’s health and social services organizations. This has created a “no wrong door” system, and allowed for referral transparency among community partners. Community partners can now better identify and address social determinants of health without placing the burden on the client to repeatedly re-tell their story and navigate the system on their own.

Large LHD Category

Baltimore City Health Department

Under the leadership of Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) has the mission to protect health, eliminate disparities, and ensure the well-being of every Baltimorean through education, advocacy, and direct service delivery. Dr. Wen and the BCHD team believe that public health can level the playing field of inequality and advance social justice in Baltimore City. In August 2016, BCHD launched Baltimore 2020, a strategic blueprint outlining key priorities designed to promote health and well-being in Baltimore City, with one overarching vision: to cut health disparities in Baltimore by half over the next ten years. Building on BCHD’s prior accomplishments, Healthy Baltimore 2020 was designed following an 18-month community listening tour with representatives from healthcare institutions, community partners, faith-based institutions, local businesses, universities, youth groups, and many others. BCHD applies the lens of race, equity, and inclusion to each aspect of its work; focuses on residents’ well-being through the application of trauma-informed care; and addresses critical issues across Baltimore City, including education, criminal justice, and economic development through the lens of health.

BCHD operates one of the most aggressive programs in the country for opioid overdose prevention and access to addiction treatment as a disease. In October 2015, Dr. Wen issued a standing order (blanket prescription) for naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote, to all 620,000 Baltimore City residents. Since then, everyday residents have saved the lives of over 2,375 of their fellow Baltimoreans. BCHD also makes the connection between addiction and issues including housing, criminal justice, and employment. BCHD’s federal-level advocacy efforts include emphasizing the importance of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) – the “gold standard” of opioid addiction treatment – combined with wraparound services and psychosocial support. Recognizing that hospitals play a central role in responding to the opioid epidemic, Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Dr. Wen launched the Levels of Care initiative with Baltimore City’s 11 acute-care hospitals. BCHD will soon be opening a Stabilization Center – the beginning of a 24/7 “ER” for addiction – where patients will be connected to critical social supports and behavioral health services. In its efforts to fight the criminalization of addiction, BCHD partners with public safety agencies to treat addiction as the disease that it is; the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program refers individuals caught with small amounts of drugs to treatment, rather than incarceration.

BCHD also views other social concerns as connected to health. For example, violence follows the same pattern as infectious diseases, spreading from person to person. Recognizing the need to intervene and prevent the spread of violence, BCHD started Safe Streets, an evidence-based program based on the national Cure Violence Model that hires individuals from the communities they serve as conflict mediators. These outreach workers de-escalated more than 1,000 conflicts last year, four out of five of which were deemed likely or very likely to result in gun violence. Three out of the program’s four sites have gone at least one year without a fatal shooting.

To break the cycle of violence and poverty, BCHD employs targeted upstream interventions. Understanding the importance of health to education, BCHD convened nonprofit, academic, and private sector partners to start Vision for Baltimore, which aims to conduct vision screenings and assist all Baltimore City Public School students, grades K-8, with eyeglasses, if they need them. Before the program started, about 25 percent of schoolchildren (upwards of 20,000 students) needed glasses, but were not getting them. Upwards of 20,000 students were experiencing disruptions to their education due to vision problems. Since the program began in 2016, more than 2,000 students have received eyeglasses.

Further upstream, BCHD has moved the needle on reducing infant mortality by setting its sights on improving outcomes for Baltimore City’s most vulnerable babies and young children. The B’More for Healthy Babies (BHB) initiative provides home visits by nurses, social workers, and community health aides. Staff teach parents the “ABCs” of Safe Sleep (Alone, on the Back, in a Crib), help new mothers with breastfeeding, provide resources to quit smoking, and refer mothers to services like housing assistance. Since BHB started in 2009, Baltimore has cut infant mortality by nearly 40 percent, and reduced the disparity between African-American and white mortality by half. Moreover, BHB’s engagement with every Baltimore hospital, as well as dozens of community groups and churches, has resulted in a 70% reduction in sleep-related infant deaths in just seven years.

Erie County, NY Department of Health, Buffalo, New York

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) leads in the development of innovative programs and strategies to address the opioid epidemic crisis. When opioid overdose deaths doubled from 2015 (127) to 2016 (256), Dr. Gale Burstein, the ECDOH Commissioner, decided that Erie County (EC) needed to take a community-wide public health response to address this quickly escalating public health crisis. Dr. Burstein assumed a chief community health strategist role to lead ECDOH’s opioid epidemic initiative and assembled a countywide, multi-disciplinary, coordinated team to work strategically on their opioid crisis. She proposed to the county executive the creation of a cross-functional task force, which led to the creation of the EC Opiate Epidemic Task Force (ECOETF) in January 2016.

Assembling all relevant stakeholders, the initial ECOETF meeting created one of the first comprehensive and multi-disciplinary opioid epidemic response task forces in the nation. Approximately 150 individuals from human service agencies, law enforcement, government, medicine, substance abuse, and the community came together to develop a systematized, coordinated, community-wide response. Introductions to each organization, their staff, and the role they play in the opioid epidemic helped open the lines of communication to foster collaboration and strategic planning.

This innovative and collaborative effort to combat opioid use disorder (OUD) facilitated groundbreaking communication between addiction medicine experts, drug treatment specialists, law enforcement, healthcare providers and insurers, consumers, educators, and government officials. Introductions to each organization, their staff, and the role they play in the opioid epidemic helped to open the lines of communication to foster collaboration and strategic planning. ECOETF used best practices, strategic planning, public and private input, knowledge, personal experiences, treatment, and support to create many innovative practices designed to prevent opioid overdose deaths. Erie County began to address the opioid addiction crisis across all municipalities and jurisdictions, maximized collaboration, minimized duplication of effort, and avoided working in silos. Erie County was among the first in the country to use the approach of bringing together multiple partners with wide-ranging perspectives and expertise to formulate a plan attacking OUD on several fronts. This work marked an unprecedented shift: approaching OUD as a chronic medical disease. In 2017, EC experienced a 17% reduction in opioid overdose deaths compared to 2016. This downward trend continues in 2018.

Nassau County Department of Health, (NCDH), Mineola, New York

As the chief community health strategist, NCDH became the unifying entity for all of its county’s hospitals in achieving consensus on health priorities for Nassau County’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). While the county’s hospitals deliver high-quality care, each has its own niche. Pushing everyone to a common cause, even outside of their comfort zones, would prove to be of paramount importance. To achieve consensus on a strategy to improve the population health outcomes involved first establishing the common needs of respective communities. This was achieved by joining all stakeholders in creating one county-wide Community Health Assessment (CHA). NCDH invited representatives from all local hospitals, as well as a range of community partners to a kick-off meeting. NCHD made this initiative and invitation known to senior hospital leadership as a clear priority. At the first meeting, they presented their goal of collecting data to drive a strategic CHIP, targeted appropriately at the highest-risk communities in working towards health equity. NCHD expressed the need to collaborate and work together towards the common goal of a healthier Nassau County. A key strategy was to keep the focus on the residents, rather than individual organizations. To best serve their residents, NCHD needed to know their health needs and concerns. Subsequently, the hospitals and many CBOs distributed surveys in person and via the health department’s website. A series of meetings were held to discuss the results and agree upon the selected priorities: (1) Reducing Obesity in Adults and Children, and (2) Increasing Access to High Quality Chronic Disease Preventive Care and Management in both Clinical and Community Settings for the 2016-2018 cycle. In addition, while their CHIP was limited to the top two priorities, all agreed to continue working towards improved mental health outcomes, especially in light of the emerging opioid crisis.

Maurice "Mo" Mullet Lifetime of Service Award

Rex Archer, MD, MPH, Kansas City Missouri Health Department (KCMO)

Dr. Archer is a thought leader, known at the local, regional and national levels. He is a leader among peers, staff, and the public. With a career that has focused on public health, he serves his communities with energy and passion. Dr. Archer has been an active leader in NACCHO since 1997, and continues to support NACCHO on committees, the Past Presidents’ Council and review of awards and promising practices. The body of public health work impacted by Dr. Archer includes local, regional, and national accomplishments. Dr. Archer is an innovator, pioneer, and early adopter in many areas of public health. He demonstrates community involvement in his daily activities to support, build, and enhance collaboration among partners. Demonstrating this mutual collaboration and respect, the Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity recognized Dr. Archer as the 2012 Equity Partner of the Year. Their local Clergy Caucus has also invited him to become their only non-clergy member. Under Dr. Archer’s leadership the Kansas City Health Department is recognized as the leading local health department in working innovatively with community organizers. Dr. Archer continues to work with religious/faith-based community organizations to address social determinants of health, with the goal of moving beyond a medical model to a social/ecological model. He has also facilitated bringing together two groups, Communities Creating Opportunities (CCO) and More2 (Metropolitan Organization for Racial and Economic Equity), representing 40 and 20 congregations respectively, to work together. This combined group, Aim4Peace, was recognized by NACCHO as a Promising Practice in 2011 and has contributed to a decrease in homicides in the areas of the city covered by the program.

During his year as president of NACCHO, Dr. Archer led the committee that developed the first local governmental public health logo, which was launched in 2006. As chair of NACCHO’s marketing committee, he led the development of a public health marketing/branding policy statement that was unanimously approved by NACCHO’s board in July 2012. He has been involved in the public health accreditation discussion since 2004. He has served on the PHAB board since 2008, and KCMO was one of the first 19 state, local, and tribal health departments to receive national accreditation through PHAB. In 2005, Dr. Archer was elected and served as president of NACCHO.

Dr. Archer has twice been recognized as a “Public Health Hero.” In 2008, Research America named him an “American Public Health Hero” for working “tirelessly every day to protect the public,” particularly for support of smoke-free legislation in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Kansas City. In 2003, he was awarded the Crisis Management Award by the Kansas City chapter of the American Society for Public Administration for leadership in response to cross-contamination of anthrax from the Washington, DC area Brentwood facility to a local stamp fulfillment center in Kansas City. KCMO Health Department received National Accreditation from Public Health Accreditation Board in August 2013; the 2018 Samuel J. Crumbine Consumer Protection Award; NACCHO’s 2017 Local Health Department of the Year Award; the 2016 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health Prize; 2015 Model Practice/Promising Practice Awards from NACCHO; FDA Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards in 2015; and NACCHO Project Public Health Ready in 2004.

Model Practice Awards

NACCHO recognized 29 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 selected the recipients. The NACCHO Model Practice searchable online database contains Model Practice Award-winning best practices on an expansive range of public health issues, including immunization, infectious diseases, emergency preparedness, and many others. Read more about these award-winning programs here.

2018 Model Practice Awards Winners:

California

  • Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Increasing Healthcare Personnel Influenza Vaccination Coverage in Hospitals in Los Angeles County
  • San Francisco Department of Public Health, Developing policies, plans and partnerships to protect and support Housing Security and Healthy Homes for Pregnant Women and Families Served by Public Health

Colorado

  • Denver Public Health, Healthy Beverage Partnership
  • Tri-County Health Department, Utilizing Web-based GIS Technology to Address the Opioid Crisis at the Neighborhood Level

Florida

  • Florida Department of Health – Leon County, Workforce Development
  • Florida Department of Health in Broward County, Pediatric Special Needs Shelter Registry
  • Florida Department of Health in Duval County, Teen Health Centers in Collaboration with Duval County Public Schools

Georgia

  • Cobb & Douglas Public Health, Growing a 501(c)3 Organization to Diversify Public Health Funding

Illinois

  • Kane County Health Department, Nontraditional Partnerships Strengthen Community Health

Michigan

  • Kent County Health Department, Kent County Inclusive Preparedness Program; and Moms Helping Moms Breastfeed – Peer Mentoring Program

Minnesota

  • Dakota County Public Health Department, Child Care Emergency Preparedness Outreach; and Birth to Age Eight Collaborative Initiative

Missouri

  • City of Kansas City, Missouri Health Department, Improving Health Outcomes and Advancing the HIV Care Continuum Through Linkage to Care Innovations

New York

  • Albany County Department of Health, Municipalities on the Move: Complete Streets Collaboration; and Project Orange
  • Nassau County Department of Health, Environmental Health Air Quality Protection Program and Enhanced-Early Intervention Service Coordination: A Health Equity Initiative for Early Intervention
  • Oswego County Health Department, Oswego, New York, Bridging Community and Medical Practice to Enhance Smoking Cessation for Prenatal Women and to Induce Tobacco Norm Changes in a Rural County

Ohio

  • Columbus Public Health, Women's Health & Wellness Center: Increasing Access to Same-day LARC (Long-acting reversible contraception)
  • Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Implementing High Quality Supermarkets Through Community Organizing and Public Health

Texas

  • Harris County Public Health, Blueprint for an In-house Creative Agency; 2Video Directly Observed Therapy (VDOT) A Useful Approach to Tuberculosis Treatment in a Natural Disaster; and Public Health Surveillance and Response in a Large Evacuation Shelter Post Hurricane Harvey, Harris County, Texas
  • Houston Health Department, Innovative Strategy to Increase Identification of Infants born to Chronic Hepatitis B Mothers; and Houston Community Capacity Building Pilot Project
  • The City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, Baby Café

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Texas Local Health Department Official George T. Roberts, Jr. Is President-Elect of the National Association of County and City Health Officials

Washington, DC, July 5, 2018—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has elected George T. Roberts, Jr. , MHA, FACHE, CEO of the Northeast Texas Public Health District, to its 2018-2019 Board of Directors serving as President-Elect. As President-Elect, Roberts will serve on the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee. He began his one-year term on July 1, 2018.

NACCHO is governed by a 27-member board that comprises local and tribal health officials who are elected by their peers. The Board also includes ex-officio members who represent the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

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

Mr. Roberts has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District since November 2006. The services provided by the Health District include the Center for Healthy Living, Community Outreach, Environmental Health, Immunizations, Tuberculosis Control, Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Regional Laboratory, Vital Statistics, and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program. The Health District primarily serves Tyler and Smith County, but also provides services in 21 counties in East Texas. The WIC Program serves a 20-county area and Public Health Emergency Preparedness serves a seven-county region.

“George has been a long-standing volunteer leader within NACCHO, and has contributed significant amounts of time, energy, and expertise to the organization. I congratulate George on his new position as President-Elect of NACCHO and look forward to his continued leadership,” said NACCHO’s CEO Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA.

“I am honored to be part of NACCHO's solutions to the growing healthcare needs of our country. Public health officials throughout our country are working tirelessly to educate the public about health prevention and treatments; to help them as NACCHO President-Elect will be an honor and a privilege,” said Roberts.

NACCHO’s Executive Committee consists of four officers. In addition to Roberts are:

  • President, Kevin G. Sumner, MPH, Health Officer and Director of the Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission
  • Vice President, Jennifer Kertanis, MPH, Director of Health of the Farmington Valley Health District
  • Immediate-Past, President Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health In addition to electing Mr. Roberts as the President-Elect of the Board, NACCHO has also announced new officers, at-large, and regional members. A complete list of the Board of Directors can be found here.

New Jersey Local Health Department Official Kevin G. Sumner, MPH, Elected President of the National Association of County and City Health Officials

Washington, DC, July 2 , 2018—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has elected Kevin G. Sumner, MPH, Health Officer/Director for the Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission, to its 2018-2019 Board of Directors as its new president. Sumner will serve on the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee and began his one-year term on July 1, 2018.

NACCHO is governed by a 27-member board comprising local and tribal health officials who are elected by their peers. The Board also includes ex-officio members representing the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors

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

Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission in Green Brook, NJ is a local health agency providing public health services to five municipalities in Somerset County, New Jersey, with a population of 45,000. Sumner has been employed by the Commission for over 30 years in varying capacities, including environmental health specialist, health educator, and health officer/director. He 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.

“As a longtime member of NACCHO who has experienced the very tangible value of the organization to its members, I am thrilled, honored, and humbled to be moving into the President position for this coming year,” said Sumner. “It is my hope to continue to learn about NACCHO and the needs of its members, so that those needs can be addressed efficiently and effectively. Clearly, we are experiencing challenging times and NACCHO’s advocacy efforts and the activities of NACCHO staff and members will be critical in moving our public health agenda forward. I will be doing whatever I can to build on what NACCHO has thus far achieved, and to pursue diligently what I think we can collectively expect to achieve in support of NACCHO and its members.”

“Kevin has been a longstanding volunteer leader within NACCHO, and has contributed significant amounts of time, energy, and expertise to the organization. I congratulate Kevin on becoming NACCHO’s next president, and look forward to his continued leadership,” said NACCHO’s CEO Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA.

NACCHO’s Executive Committee consists of four officers. In addition to Sumner are:

  • George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District, President-Elect
  • Jennifer Kertanis, MPH, Director of Health of the Farmington Valley Health District, Vice President
  • Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health (HCPH), Immediate-Past President

In addition to electing Sumner to the board, NACCHO has also announced new officers, at-large, and regional members. A complete list of the Board of Directors can be found here.

Connecticut Public Health Official Jennifer C. Kertanis Elected Vice President of the National Association of County and City Health Officials

Washington, DC, July 2, 2018The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, has elected Jennifer C. Kertanis, MPH, Director of Health for the Farmington Valley Health District, to its 2018-2019 Board of Directors as its new vice president. As VP, Kertanis will serve on the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee in 2018-2019 before assuming the positions of president-elect in 2019-2020 and president in 2020-2021, respectively. Kertanis began her first term as an officer on July 1, 2018.

NACCHO is governed by a 27-member board comprising local and tribal health officials who are elected by their peers. The Board also includes ex-officio members representing the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

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

Kertanis was appointed Director of the Farmington Valley Health District in September 2012. The district serves a population of approximately 110,000 in ten towns, west of Hartford, Connecticut. Kertanis has 30 years of public health experience serving in multiple capacities in non-profit, state, and local public health agencies.

“For the past four years, I have been proud to serve on the NACCHO Board bringing a smaller local health department perspective to the work of the organization. I am passionate about public health, especially the work of local health departments, and I value the strength of a collective voice and the critical role NACCHO plays in providing that voice for local health at the national level. I am looking forward to my new role as NACCHO Board vice president,” said Kertanis.

“Jennifer has been a longstanding volunteer leader within NACCHO, and has contributed significant amounts of time, energy, and expertise to the organization. I congratulate Jennifer on her election as vice president of NACCHO and look forward to her assuming a new leadership role,” said NACCHO’s CEO Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA.

NACCHO’s Executive Committee consists of four officers. In addition to Kertanis are:

  • President, Kevin G. Sumner, MPH; Health Officer/Director, Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission, Green Brook, NJ
  • President-Elect, George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE; CEO, Northeast Texas Public Health District
  • Immediate Past President, Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH; Harris County Public Health In addition to electing Kertanis to the Board, NACCHO has also announced new regional representatives. A complete list of the 2018-2019 Board of Directors can be found here

NACCHO Board President Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH Testified Today in Support of the Reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act

Washington, DC, June 6, 2018 — Dr. Umair A. Shah, President of the Board of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and Executive director of Harris County Public Health (HCPH) in Texas, testified today before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Health Subcommittee voicing NACCHO’s continued support of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act. The programs authorized by the Act are vital to local health departments.

Here is a portion of Dr. Shah’s remarks:

“Public health emergency preparedness is truly national health security. Local health departments play an essential role in ensuring that people and their communities are prepared for, protected from, and are resilient to threats to health that result from all forms of disasters and emergencies. Since all disasters begin and end locally, local health departments must always be prepared to assume our role as first responders to any public health emergency. To this end, local health departments regularly host trainings and exercises to prepare staff and numerous community partners – including those in the healthcare system – for public health emergencies, to build consistent and ongoing communication amongst partners, clearly define response roles, and anticipate challenges before an emergency occurs. And when disasters arise, local health departments coast-to-coast are the ‘boots on the ground’ responding to and helping communities recover.

“The programs authorized by the Pandemic All-Hazards Preparedness Act are vital to local health departments. The proposed bill ‘Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act of 2018’ authored by Representative Susan Brooks (R-IN) is an important step in ensuring local health departments can protect the health and safety of their communities in the event of an emergency. I firmly believe that the funding PAHPA has provided saved lives in each major 2017 disaster, as well as small and other large-scale emergencies over the years in local communities across our country.”

To read Dr. Shah’s complete testimony including a listing of NACCHO’s recommendations, please click here.

NACCHO’s Kathleen Kelley Named a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Fellow

—Cayucos, Calif. Native Is a Program Analyst on the HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis Team—

Washington, DC, June 5, 2018 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments is pleased to announce that Kathleen Kelley has been selected as a 2018 Bloomberg Fellow with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Fellows receive a full scholarship to earn a Master of Public Health or Doctor of Public Health degree. The Bloomberg Fellows program represents an innovative way to train the next generation of public health leaders, as it requires not only a commitment to public health practice from the students, but also a commitment of collaboration from the organizations for which they already work. Ms. Kelley has been accepted into the part-time MPH program focusing on risks to adolescent health.

Kat Kelley is a Program Analyst on the HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis team at NACCHO. As Program Analyst, Kat leads the HIV, STI, and Viral Hepatitis Workgroup, which provides guidance and input on NACCHO’s programmatic and advocacy priorities, and manages the HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis Sentinel Network, an important mechanism through which NACCHO gathers the perspectives of local health departments (LHDs) through brief, timely surveys. Kat also supports a cooperative agreement to build the capacity of LHDs to implement adolescent sexual health initiatives in partnership with educational agencies.

Prior to joining NACCHO, Kat supported advocacy and communications efforts for the Global Health Technologies Coalition, a network of nonprofits—housed at PATH—advocating for global health research and development. Kat received a BS in International Health from Georgetown University. She is a native of Cayucos, (San Luis Obispo County), CA.

"NACCHO is so proud to be a collaborating organization with the JHU Fellows Program to advance the public health workforce, and elated with Kat's acceptance into this prestigious program,” said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel Freeman, MPP. “This also represents a wonderful opportunity for Kat and NACCHO to focus efforts on risks to adolescents and to strengthen our overall adolescent health work."

Washington, DC, May 29, 2018 – May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, representing an important time to highlight this hidden epidemic by raising awareness of viral hepatitis and its impact in the United States, encouraging people to get tested and vaccinated, and educating people about the availability of effective care and curative treatment. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, supports local efforts to address hepatitis and advocates for increased funding to address the growth of hepatitis in the U.S.

The most common types of hepatitis in the U.S. are hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). While each can produce similar symptoms, each affects the liver differently, has different routes of transmission, and has different populations that are commonly affected. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice. Hepatitis A and B can be prevented with a vaccine.

HAV spreads through contaminated food or water, but generally causes no long-term effects and symptoms usually resolve within two months of infection. HBV and HCV can cause lifelong infection, scarring of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. HBV and HCV cause more than 20,000 deaths in the U.S. every year.

HBV and HCV are bloodborne viruses. HBV can also be transmitted through semen, saliva, and vaginal secretions. Chronic HBV can be treated and with the advent of new therapies, HCV can be cured, representing a major breakthrough in our ability to combat hepatitis.

People who inject drugs are at high risk for becoming infected with HBV and HCV through the sharing of needles and drug-preparation equipment. Baby boomers, those born from 1945-1965, are five times more likely to have HCV than other adults.

Local health departments are on the frontlines of addressing viral hepatitis through efforts including:

  • Surveillance: Documenting the epidemiology of viral hepatitis, producing estimates of the incidence of HBV and HCV, and developing information about population-specific health disparities.
  • Vaccination & Testing: Vaccinating people for hepatitis A and B, testing people for hepatitis B and C, and following up with persons with viral hepatitis and linking them to appropriate care and treatment.
  • Treatment: Supporting access to HBV and HCV care and treatment.
  • Education & Prevention: Developing and disseminating educational tools, trainings, and resources to increase community and healthcare provider awareness of prevention, testing, and treatment methods.
  • Outbreak Response: Working to detect, investigate, respond to, and minimize the impact of possible outbreaks.
  • Elimination Planning: Collaborating with federal, state, and community partners to develop coordinated, comprehensive, and integrated plans to eliminate HBV and HCV.

To support these efforts, resources must reach the local level. Funding to address viral hepatitis is severely limited, and particularly concerning in the face of the growing opioid epidemic that is fueling increases in injection drug use. Without appropriate federal and state funding and public policies, local health departments will struggle to implement effective public health interventions to prevent and treat viral hepatitis.

NACCHO Applauds Senate Committee for Taking Action to Continue Key Public Health Preparedness Programs

Washington, DC, May 23, 2018 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, applauds the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for approving legislation to reauthorize the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act. The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act (PAHPAI), passed by the committee today, will provide needed stability for the nation’s emergency preparedness and response enterprise. Local health departments prepare communities for disasters, respond when emergencies occur, and lend support throughout the recovery process. NACCHO appreciates the committee’s focus on this legislation which is essential to the health security of our nation.

The Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program and Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), reauthorized in PAHPAI, are complementary programs with different purposes. PHEP supports local health departments’ response to public health threats and helps to build resilient communities. HPP enables health care systems to save lives during emergencies that exceed day-to-day capacity of health and emergency response systems. In addition, the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) program provides additional public health personnel needed to respond to emergencies and everyday health threats.

“The PHEP, HPP and MRC programs deserve a level of funding that is consistent with the threats that are experienced on the ground level in cities and counties across the nation,” said NACCHO Chief of Government Affairs, Laura Hanen, MPP. “In 2017, Congress spent a record-breaking $80 billion to provide relief from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and devastating wildfires in California. Without the support of PHEP, HPP and MRC, this cost could have been much higher. A comprehensive, cost saving and proactive public health approach to disaster preparedness helps communities to effectively mitigate the damage and costs of disasters and help recovery efforts in the aftermath. Sustained funding to support local preparedness and response capacity helps local health departments build and convene diverse partners such as police, fire, transportation, planning departments, and community-based organizations and develop and implement evidence-based, community-centered strategies.”

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Reacts to the Santa Fe High School Shooting

Organization Represents Nation’s Nearly 3,000 Local Governmental Health Departments—

Washington, DC, May 22, 2018 — In a scene all-too-frequent in our schools, ten people were killed last Friday in a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in southeastern Texas. From a young man who had just turned 17 and was preparing to celebrate with friends to a Pakistani exchange student working to build bridges between her host and native countries, we are reminded of the vast promise that is lost when children become victims of a shooter’s outrage.

“This incident hits close to home, since this occurred in our neighboring community. Our hearts go out to all those affected,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, executive director of Harris County Public Health and NACCHO board president. “As a country we have not done enough to invest in research and response efforts in behavioral health and violence prevention. We can and must do more to emphasize and fund prevention efforts so we can protect our nation’s children. As a physician, public health practitioner, and a father, I know that we can and should be doing more.”

A recent article in Politico Pulse pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) ban to study gun violence has been quietly lifted, but in the ensuing two months, funding for firearms research at CDC is still nonexistent. “We shouldn’t have to wait for yet another shooting until funding for gun violence research becomes available to the CDC,” said NACCHO CEO, Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA. “What is urgently needed is dedicated funding for data collection on a broad variety of issues aside from gun violence, including assault weapons, gun theft, suicide by gun, accidents, straw purchasers, background checks, guns on college campuses, and a host of other factors. Public health departments need to focus on prevention efforts in their communities, but the gaps in data make it difficult on where to focus those efforts.”

NACCHO wants to remind and urge its partners of the absolute importance of building resilient communities that strongly support each other, especially in times of crisis. As always, NACCHO remains committed to providing resources, training, and guidance to their local health department members to help in their response to this ongoing public health crisis. These include enhancing awareness through trainings for Suspicious Activity, Active Shooter and Explosive Device, and Risk Communications. You will find resources on NACCHO’s Preparedness blog here, and updated resources from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can be found here.

Maricopa County Environmental Services Department Awarded 2018 Crumbine Consumer Protection Award for Excellence in Food Protection

Washington, DC, May 10, 2018 – The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, is pleased to announce Maricopa County Environmental Services Department as the recipient of the 2018 Samuel J. Crumbine Consumer Protection Award for Excellence in Food Protection at the Local Level. This award is given annually to local environmental health jurisdictions that demonstrate unsurpassed achievement in providing outstanding food protection services to their communities.

“It is with great honor, deep appreciation, and excitement that I receive this award on behalf of our department,” said Andrew Linton, Interim Director, Environmental Services Department, Maricopa County. “We are so proud to have our staff’s dedication and commitment to food protection recognized with this most prestigious award.”

Named for one of America’s most renowned health officers and health educators, Samuel J. Crumbine, MD (1862-1954), the award encourages innovative programs and methods that reduce or eliminate the occurrence of foodborne illnesses, recognizes the importance of food protection at the local level, and stimulates public interest in food service sanitation.

“The Crumbine Award is the premier recognition in food protection, which makes us exceptionally thrilled. We have worked tremendously hard to develop and foster innovative food protection programs for the safety of our community. We must certainly acknowledge the value of our partners in this effort: the food service industry, the Arizona Department of Health Services, FDA, and other model environmental health programs throughout the country,” Linton said.

The Crumbine Award is supported by the Conference for Food Protection, in cooperation with the American Academy of Sanitarians, American Public Health Association, Association of Food and Drug Officials, Food Marketing Institute, Foodservice Packaging Institute, International Association for Food Protection, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Environmental Health Association, National Sanitation Foundation International, and UL.

“Year after year, we hear news of food-borne illness and the extensive impact a single instance can have on the health and well-being of families in this country,” said NACCHO Chief Executive Officer Lori Tremmel Freeman, MBA. “Populations that are more vulnerable, such as children and the elderly, are especially at risk. Local public health response to food-borne illness and outbreaks remains a critical and core function within communities. The Crumbine Award recognizes innovation and best practices in food safety, as well as promotes the concept of spread. Health departments that are demonstrating outstanding work based on science and evidence deserve our recognition, so that their successes can be replicated for the benefit of other communities.”

The award will be presented at the Annual Educational Conference of the National Environmental Health Association, June 27, in Anaheim; the International Association for Food Protection, July 11 in Salt Lake City; and NACCHO’s Annual Conference on July 12 in New Orleans.

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Theresa Spinner, NACCHO
202-783-5551
tspinner@naccho.org

David Fouse, APHA
202-777-2501
david.fouse@apha.org

APHA and NACCHO Join NIH in Launching the All of Us Research Program

—Enrollment set to open nationwide for historic research effort to advance precision medicine—

Washington, D.C., May 1, 2018 — On May 6, the National Institutes of Health will open national enrollment for the All of Us Research Program — a momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds — in collaboration with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), among other community and healthcare provider partners around the country.

The overall aim is to enroll one million or more volunteers and oversample communities that have been underrepresented in research to make the program the largest, most diverse resource of its kind. People aged 18 and older, regardless of health status, will be able to enroll.

“The time is now to transform how we conduct research — with participants as partners — to shed new light on how to stay healthy and manage disease in more personalized ways,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. “This is what we can accomplish through All of Us.”

Precision medicine is an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that considers differences in people’s lifestyles, environments, and biological makeup, including genes. By partnering with one million diverse people who share information about themselves over many years, the All of Us Research Program will enable research to more precisely prevent and treat a variety of health conditions.

“The public health community is excited to help launch this historic research program,” said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. “By expanding the evidence-base to include people from underrepresented populations, we can create much more effective health interventions that ensure equity in our efforts to prevent disease and reduce premature death.”

“Local health departments are the community health strategists for their communities,” said NACCHO Senior Advisor for Public Health Programs Oscar Alleyne, DrPH, MPH. “As such, they are positioned to advance current roles to prevent death, disease, and disability; address emerging threats to health, security, and equity; and eliminate the social and structural injustices that result in health disparities. What we will learn from the All of Us Research Program has great potential to benefit what we and local health departments do to improve population and community health.”

On May 6, the All of Us Research Program will host special events in diverse communities around the country. People also may take part in social media activities using the #JoinAllofUs hashtag or tune in at https://Launch.JoinAllofUs.org to watch speakers from across the country talk about precision medicine and the power of volunteering for research.

To learn more about the program and how to join, visit https://www.JoinAllofUs.org.

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NACCHO Announces New Chief Executive Officer

April 30, 2018, Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ President, Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, announced Lori Tremmel Freeman as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer. Freeman returns to NACCHO having previously served as NACCHO’s Associate Executive Director for Administration and Advancement from 2010–2014.

“On behalf of the NACCHO Board of Directors, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Lori back to NACCHO to lead our organization.” said Dr. Shah, NACCHO President and Executive Director of Harris County Public Health. “Public health agencies are confronting uncertain times and it is important we have a leader that can work with local health departments through the various challenges they are facing. Lori’s dedication and experience will only further NACCHO’s ongoing efforts in supporting the work of local health departments. The NACCHO Board and organization wish her continued success and look forward to working with her to ensure NACCHO continues to advocate effectively for local public health.”

Freeman brings three decades of Washington, D.C. experience as an association management professional and has been working within public health organizations over the last 15 years. Most recently, she served as the CEO of the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP). While at AMCHP, she shepherded AMCHP through a complete financial turn-around, leading the organization to successive years of net profit while also growing the organization's overall programmatic budget.

Freeman expressed her eagerness to return to NACCHO as its CEO: "Coming back to this organization that I love so much is beyond exciting for me. NACCHO has continued to thrive while I've been away, leaving me in a great position to raise the bar and seize new opportunities to grow and strengthen the organization. I am anxious to elevate the voice of local public health and ensure that NACCHO is relevant, responsive, member-driven, and a fiscally sustainable organization."

Freeman received a Bachelor of Science degree in management sciences from Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania and went on to complete an MA in business administration with a marketing minor from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

The NACCHO Board welcomes Freeman back to the organization and feels confident her return will bring continuity to the organization that has been operating without a permanent CEO since 2017. The Board thanks all of the NACCHO staff and expresses gratitude for all those fulling multiple roles during this time of transition. Freeman will transition to NACCHO beginning May 1, 2018.

To see a full biography on Ms. Freeman, please click here.

NACCHO Applauds Surgeon General’s Naloxone Recommendations

—Naloxone Is a Component in Local Health Departments’ Efforts to Reduce Opioid Overdose and Death—

Washington, DC, April 5, 2018—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, supports Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams’ recommendation urging more Americans to carry the opioid overdose-reversing drug naloxone.

The medication, naloxone, is already carried by many first responders, including EMTs and police officers. The Surgeon General is now recommending that more individuals, including family, friends, and those who are personally at risk for an opioid overdose, also keep the drug on hand.

“We are pleased that the Surgeon General is raising awareness of this life-saving tool,” said Laura Hanen, MPP, NACCHO’s Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs. “Dr. Adams is helping destigmatize those who are struggling with opioid addiction by acknowledging the importance of keeping people alive. We strongly support increasing the public’s access to and use of naloxone. However, naloxone is only one piece of public health’s multifaceted approach. It is also critical that we support programs that meet people where they are to get them the help they need. Addiction prevention is also key. We must maintain a strong focus on keeping people from becoming addicted in the first place.”

NACCHO member Michael E. Kilkenny, MD, MS, is the Physician Director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department in Huntington, WV, a community experiencing high overdose rates. Dr. Kilkenny recently testified before Congress, describing the success of his health department’s naloxone program. Said Dr. Kilkenny, “We have supplied naloxone and training on its administration to all law enforcement agencies operating in the county. In addition, we operate a community naloxone distribution program which, along with Cabell County Emergency Medical Services, reversed more than 2,500 overdoses last year.”

Some local health departments, including Cabell-Huntington, offer syringe service programs as a harm reduction measure. Hanen said it is important to note the opioid epidemic is also driving a rise in opioid-related infectious diseases. “Opioid addiction’s link to a rise in hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS infections illustrates the critical necessity of increasing the availability of syringe service programs to protect our communities.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will receive additional funding for FY2018, which Hanen hopes will result in much-needed resources at the local level. “In addition to receiving funds allowing them to provide naloxone to their communities, local health departments also need support to collect and analyze data allowing them to find and target areas where people are dying from opioid overdoses, and to conduct public outreach and education with at-risk populations. Local health department staffs are the boots on the ground in this epidemic and they will require multiple tools to protect their communities. We applaud the Surgeon General’s actions, and we look forward to collaborating with him as federal, state, and local public health agencies work with communities to find solutions to this deadly epidemic.”

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Omnibus Spending Bill Recognizes Importance of Public Health Funding

Washington, DC, March 22, 2018 —The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, lauds Congress for its support for key public health programs. The FY2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act provides a significant increase to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and provides $800 million through the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a critical source of funding for local health department programs. Notable increases for CDC are:

  • $350 million increase to combat the opioid crisis,
  • $10 million increase for public health emergency preparedness
  • $18 million increase for childhood lead poisoning

Laura Hanen, MPP, NACCHO’s Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs, said, “We commend House and Senate appropriators for providing additional funding for Public Health Preparedness and maintaining the 317 immunization program, Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health, and the Preventive Health and Health Services block grant. Through these investments, Congress acknowledges the critical role that CDC’s programs play in assisting local health departments in their work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”

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NACCHO Commemorates ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Achievements on Its Eighth Anniversary

Washington, DC, March 22, 2018 — Friday, March 23, 2018 marks the eighth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, continues its support for the ACA advancing improvements in the health of all Americans. The law helped to focus the healthcare system on disease prevention rather than treatment alone, and has provided essential support for local health departments and community-based public health activities across the country.

The ACA required coverage of clinical preventive services without cost-sharing in Medicare and new health insurance plans, and incentivized states to do the same in their Medicaid programs. Millions of Americans including seniors, low-income families, people with disabilities, and children now have affordable health coverage under the ACA. And, importantly, it authorized a critical new funding stream for federal, state, and local public health to support key programs by creating the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF). The PPHF supports the following programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • 317 Immunization Program
  • Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grants
  • Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
  • Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Diabetes Prevention
  • Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant

“Our communities are stronger when everyone has the opportunity to be healthy,” said Laura Hanen, MPP, NACCHO Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs. “The ACA has expanded access to healthcare and invested in prevention and public health approaches to keep people from getting sick in the first place. The expansion of first-dollar coverage for clinical preventive services has increase access to immunizations, reproductive health services, and cancer screenings. It has also enabled significant investments that are now twelve percent of CDC’s budget, in core public health programs. The positive impact of the ACA on the public’s health is undeniable. NACCHO will continue to work with Congress to ensure the gains enabled by the ACA continue to advance.”

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NACCHO Congratulates Dr. Robert R. Redfield on His Appointment as CDC Director

Washington, DC, March 22, 2018 — As the voice of nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments across the United States, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) congratulates Dr. Robert R. Redfield on his appointment as the 18th director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“NACCHO and our nation’s local health departments work closely with the CDC,” said Laura Hanen, MPP, NACCHO Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs. “Its support and public health expertise is crucial to the work local health departments perform every day to protect the communities they serve. We look forward to working with Dr. Redfield as he takes the helm of the nation’s premier public health agency.

“Dr. Redfield has devoted his career to addressing one of the most impactful infectious diseases of the 21st century – HIV/AIDS – with more than 70 million people infected and 35 million deaths worldwide. He has been actively engaged in clinical research and clinical care of chronic infectious diseases for more than 30 years. We look forward to collaborating with Dr. Redfield and CDC to create conditions where all people can be healthy and safe.”

NACCHO would also like to extend its appreciation to Dr. Anne Schuchat who has served as CDC interim director twice over the last two years. She led the agency during the nation’s worst flu season in ten years and provided critical guidance on the country’s opioid epidemic.

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NACCHO Supports a Number of White House Public Health Approaches to Stem the Opioid Crisis

Washington, DC, March 19, 2018 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, commends the inclusion of public health approaches as part of the White House’s Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse. The initiative includes support of expanding access to evidence-based treatment, including Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), as well as removing barriers to Medicaid reimbursement for treatment. The plan also seeks to increase the availability of opioid overdose reversing drugs, including Naloxone, to first responders.

NACCHO supports a multi-pronged approach to assist local health departments in combating the crisis: 1) Strengthening the understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance; 2) Increasing prevention efforts; 3) Promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs; 4) Investing in healthcare information technology to connect prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) with electronic health records; 5) Expanding cross-sector partnerships; 6) Improving access to treatment, including MAT; and 7) Advancing better practices for pain management.

“NACCHO supports a public health approach as the most effective way to address the opioid epidemic afflicting so many of our communities. An infusion of resources at the local level is essential to mounting a full-fledged response,” said Laura Hanen, MPP, NACCHO Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must have adequate funding to ensure local health departments are equipped to contain outbreaks and monitor data, while still serving other aspects of their community’s health. In addition, there must be a focus on the rise in blood-borne infections associated with injection drug use.

“Every day, 115 Americans die of opioid and drug overdoses, according to the most recent statistics from the CDC,” Hanen continued. “Local health departments are the boots on the ground that, if given the resources, can bring partners together across the spectrum to find solutions to this multi-faceted and complex crisis. Robust and sustained funding is critical to their mandate to protect the public’s health.”

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NACCHO Statement on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting:Gun Violence Is a Public Health Epidemic

By Laura Hanen, MPP, Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs

Washington, DC, February 15, 2018 — “The National Association of County and City Health Officials, representing nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments across the county, is grieved by the horrific events that unfolded yesterday at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Gun violence in the United States has become a profound public health crisis. It is an on ongoing, deadly epidemic and we must work to reduce its toll.

“Yesterday’s massacre in Florida that took at least 17 lives is the eighth school shooting this year resulting in injury or death. This is a stunning statistic and I believe it is far past time for the nation to take preventative action against these tragedies. In the absence of federal leadership, local officials, including public health leaders, are taking critical steps to address this crisis, including community-based prevention programs and public outreach and education aimed at reducing violence.

“At the federal and/or state level, where applicable, NACCHO supports common- sense approaches to stem the tide of violence, including conducting background checks on all gun purchases, preventing individuals most at risk of violence from purchasing guns, banning assault weapons and large ammunition magazines, and engaging in research about how to effectively address violence. Moreover, health officials, government leaders, law enforcement, faith communities, and concerned citizens, including lawful gun owners, must come together to address the social and cultural issues that cause individuals to, far too often, resort to violence. Indeed, we need a public health approach to the violence epidemic.
“Additionally, we urge Congress to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on gun violence prevention, including suicide prevention.

“While none of these steps will stop all gun violence or prevent all mass shootings, they will be a significant step in turning the tide. NACCHO, its Board of Directors led by Board President Dr. Umair A. Shah, its members, and the public health community offer support and sympathy for the families and friends of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. They will be living with their loss long after the news reports about what happened yesterday have stopped. This is a senseless and preventable loss that no family should ever have to bear.”

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Public Health Will Be Endangered by Proposed Tax Reform Bill

Washington, DC, November 16, 2017 – The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, urges Congress to revise tax reform plans that will result in severe cuts to public health programs.

The proposed tax cuts may result in the near elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, due to automatic reductions in response to deficit spending triggered by the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 (SPAYGO). This would result in deep cuts to local health departments’ activities, including funding that supports response to ongoing infectious disease outbreaks including Hepatitis A, mumps, and measles. “Our communities deserve better. Local health departments depend on the continued financial support provided by the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which is absolutely critical to their success,” said Laura Hanen, MPP, NACCHO Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs.

In addition, the tax plan removes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate provision. “Taking away the individual mandate in the ACA could further destabilize insurance markets, and limit healthcare access for the most vulnerable Americans,” continued Hanen. “The proposed tax plans in the House and Senate would make healthcare access for everyone more expensive.”

The Prevention and Public Health Fund makes up 12% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) funding. Among the CDC programs at risk are the 317 Immunization Program, Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Diabetes Prevention.

Understanding the Changing Public Health Landscape: Findings from the 2017 Forces of Change Survey

Washington, DC, November 7, 2017 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has released its 2017 Forces of Change report, The Changing Public Health Landscape, containing new findings on the forces that are affecting the nation’s local health departments. Local health departments face both challenges and opportunities as the public health environment evolves, and the Forces of Change survey helps to identify infrastructure gaps, as well as strategies for strengthening public health capacity.

Since 2008, NACCHO has periodically surveyed local health departments to assess the impact of the economic recession. NACCHO has recently expanded the survey to address more generally the forces that affect change in local health departments, including the emergence of new infectious diseases and a growing need for collaboration across sectors. Topics for analysis in the 2017 Forces of Change focus on Budget Cuts & Job Losses; Zika Prevention and Response; Multi-Sectoral Partnerships; and Workforce Recruitment.

Although the economic situation is slowly improving for many local health departments, one in five still reported a lower budget in 2017 than in 2016. These budget realities make it difficult for them to hire qualified staff, partially due to uncompetitive salaries. However, some are adapting to the changing economic environment by exploring new opportunities for collaboration with community partners. An additional factor influencing local health department operation includes the emergence of infectious diseases in the United States, including Zika virus disease, which compels a further focus on response and prevention activities to ensure prepared and resilient communities.

NACCHO uses these findings to raise awareness about these issues among leaders in Congress, federal agencies, and other organizations involved in decisions driving public health funding and policymaking. NACCHO distributed the Forces of Change survey to a statistically representative sample of 948 from February to April 2017. This sampling strategy allows state-level and national estimates, if sufficient response was received from a state. A total of 615 local health departments completed the survey for a response rate of 65%.

Visit www.nacchoprofilestudy.org/forces-of-change to learn how economic and political forces are changing local public health.

Highlights

Economic forces continue to affect local health departments’ capacity to serve their communities. While the proportion of Local Health Departments (LHDs) reporting budget cuts and job losses has decreased in recent years, LHDs have eliminated 55,590 jobs over the past eight years. In 2016, LHDs reported an estimated 800 jobs lost; of those, 600 were due to layoffs and another 200 were due to attrition. However, this estimate is much lower than any of the reported evidence in previous years, indicating that LHD staffing levels are rebounding.

More small and medium LHDs reported job losses in 2016 than in 2015, but medium LHDs were most likely to experience job losses over the last year. Large LHDs serve nearly half the U.S. population. Fortunately, fewer large LHDs reported job losses in 2016 than 2015 (36% from 41%). Large LHDs were also least likely to report a decrease in their budgets.

Between 2008 and 2016, the total number of LHD employees decreased by 23 percent. In response to a shrinking workforce, public health agencies identified workforce recruitment as a priority. LHDs reported the most difficulty with hiring clinical staff, and more than half of agencies also indicated that positions providing the core public health functions — community health workers, environmental health specialists, epidemiologists, health educators, and nutritionists — are “very” or “extremely” difficult to fill. Small LHDs were less likely to experience difficulty in filling open clinical positions compared with larger LHDs.

Nearly one-third of all LHDs anticipated budget cuts in their next fiscal year, attributed to ongoing funding shortages or a known decrease in the amount of grant funding awarded. Locally governed LHDs and LHDs with shared governance foresee the greatest impact. While 20% of these LHDs experienced budget cuts in the current fiscal year, an additional 10% are expecting lower budgets next fiscal year.

The majority of LHDs, or 78%, either engaged in or planned to engage in public health surveillance activities in response to Zika virus disease. Most LHD jurisdictions in the Southern U.S. have a mosquito species carrying the Zika virus, thus driving the need for local response. The majority of LHDs are in communities without confirmed travel-related cases of Zika; however, these cases have been reported in nearly 90% of large jurisdictions, putting those communities at substantial risk of transmitting the Zika virus. Most LHDs provide services related to public health surveillance, community education, and vector control in their jurisdictions; however, large LHDs are more likely to provide all services, compared to small and medium LHDs.

As LHDs face increasingly complex health challenges, developing multi-sectoral partnerships — with a broad range of public private, and volunteer organizations — is becoming an important strategy for improving community health. LHDs appear to be highly involved in multi-sectoral to advance specific activities; however, funding and competing priorities are a major roadblock to these partnerships. The majority of LHDs reported engaging in partnerships to address substance abuse and housing issues, but LHDs were most likely to lead or convene partnerships on preventive efforts addressing tobacco use and opioid abuse.

NACCHO Commends White House Commission Report; Calls for Further Action on Local Prevention Efforts

Washington, DC, November 2, 2017 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, thanks the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis for proposing actions that Congress and the Administration can make to address the nation’s opioid epidemic.

The Commission report released yesterday is a good start in highlighting solutions to tackle the opioid epidemic and reduce the human toll of opioid abuse. NACCHO agrees with the Commission about the need for data collection and sharing, including through prescription drug monitoring programs. NACCHO also thanks the Commission for its acknowledgement of the utility of medication-assisted treatment.

NACCHO’s Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs Laura Hanen, MPP, said, “Local health departments play a critical role in supporting the prevention of prescription and illicit drug overdoses and ensuring appropriate prescribing. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to help ensure prevention and treatment options and resources are available to those affected by the opioid epidemic.”

The report could be strengthened by greater attention to the prevention aspect of the epidemic. Local health departments work with community partners to develop multi-pronged approaches to prevent drug abuse and get people into treatment. Lives are saved every day by first responders and others using naloxone to reverse overdoses. The report does not address the challenges communities face to ensure they have the resources to do the work they know needs to be done. NACCHO calls on the White House and Congress to provide significant resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery that are commensurate with the scope of the problem.

In addition, the report notes the associated infectious diseases related to opioid abuse, but makes no specific recommendations. Cases of hepatitis C are skyrocketing, in part fueled by the opioid epidemic. A comprehensive approach, including access to syringe services programs that provide comprehensive harm reduction services, needs to take into consideration how to reduce infectious disease and other public health issues that are tied to the epidemic.

Along with legislative action and continued federal funding to support local health department efforts, NACCHO favors a four-prong approach to combating the opioid epidemic: (1) improving access to treatment and recovery services; (2) promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs; (3) strengthening the understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance; and (4) advancing better practices for pain management.

“Every day, 91 Americans die of opioid and drug overdoses, according to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Hanen said. “The opioid epidemic has been driven by multiple factors including poverty and unemployment; lack of access to healthcare; limited availability of treatment facilities; stigma; and prescribing practices. We believe a public health approach is the most effective way to deal with this epidemic afflicting so many of our communities. Local health departments are the boots on the ground that, if given the resources, can bring partners together across the spectrum to find solutions to this multi-faceted and complex crisis.”

To learn more about NACCHO’s position on the opioid epidemic, click here.

The CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act Cuts Fund for Prevention and Public Health by 75%

Washington, DC, November 1, 2017 – The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, opposes the “CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act” (H.R. 3299). While NACCHO wholeheartedly supports the programs being extended by this legislation – including the Community Health Centers and the National Health Service Corps – the bill would radically slash the Prevention and Public Health Fund, upon which the nation’s local health departments depend to maintain the health and safety of the communities they serve. The consequences of such a deep cut to pay for the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act are potentially devastating.

“While the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act supports important healthcare programs, it comes at the expense of core public health initiatives, including immunization, diabetes, and heart disease prevention at the state and local levels,” said NACCHO Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs Laura Hanen, MPP. “The near elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund would result in deep cuts to local health departments’ activities, including responding to infectious disease outbreaks including Hepatitis A, mumps, and measles, as well as recovering from hurricanes and forest fires. There has to be a better solution than shifting scarce resources from one safety-net program to another. Our communities deserve better. Our local health departments depend on the continued financial support provided by the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which is absolutely critical to their success.”

The Prevention and Public Health Fund makes up 12% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) funding. Among the CDC programs at risk are the 317 Immunization Program, Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Diabetes Prevention.

NACCHO Urges a Comprehensive Public Health Approach With Dedicated Funding to Combat America’s Opioid Epidemic

Washington, DC, October 26, 2017 — The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, acknowledges the White House calling attention to the severity of the opioid epidemic by declaring a public health emergency, and the need to address it in order to save lives. There is an immediate need for a surge in resources, dedicated funding, and a coordinated federal, state, and local response. However, the declaration of an opioid public health emergency and not a state of national emergency does not go far enough. A public health emergency lasts 90 days and no additional federal funds will be released. A declaration of a state of national emergency would provide a greater flow of funds to support local health departments’ mandates to protect the public health. Local health departments are dependent on increased federal funding to battle a public health crisis that seems to escalate daily.

NACCHO’s Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs Laura Hanen, MPP, said, “Local health departments play a critical role in supporting the prevention of prescription and illicit drug overdoses and ensuring appropriate prescribing. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to help ensure prevention and treatment options and resources are available to those affected by the opioid epidemic. NACCHO urges the Department of Health and Human Services to partner with local agencies to develop solutions to this escalating and deadly crisis. But in addition to this partnership, more financial support is vital. We strongly urge the Administration to act further and release additional monies to bring this emergency to an end.”

The declaration gives the administration authority to redirect resources from HIV/AIDS programs to help people eligible for those programs to receive substance abuse treatment. While it is critical that people living with HIV and at risk for HIV have access to substance abuse treatment, our response to the opioid epidemic should not come at the expense of other programs. We have made significant progress in addressing the HIV epidemic, and this progress could be hindered if federal funding for HIV/AIDS programs is redirected.

Along with legislative action and continued federal funding to support local health department efforts, NACCHO favors a four-prong approach to combating the opioid epidemic: (1) improving access to treatment and recovery services; (2) promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs; (3) strengthening the understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance; and (4) advancing better practices for pain management.

“Every day, 91 Americans die of opioid and drug overdoses, according to the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Hanen said. “Taxpayers shoulder a financial burden in the millions of dollars. The opioid epidemic has been driven by multiple factors including poverty and unemployment; lack of access to healthcare; limited availability of treatment facilities; stigma, and prescribing practices. We believe a public health approach is the most effective way to deal with this epidemic plaguing so many of our communities. Local health departments are the boots on the ground that, if given the resources, can bring partners together across the spectrum to find solutions to this multi-faceted and complex crisis.”

To learn more about NACCHO’s position on the opioid epidemic, click here.

Majority of Local Jurisdictions Need Improvement to Protect Communities from Mosquito-Borne Diseases, According to Study

Sustained Federal Funding Is Critical for Success

Washington, DC, October 18, 2017 — A newly released study of local jurisdictions developed by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), revealed local jurisdictions have room to improve their mosquito-control efforts, and continued federal funding to support them is needed more than ever to safeguard the nation’s health. Congress has proposed eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), which provides funding to local jurisdictions through the CDC.

The assessment, Mosquito Control Capabilities in the U.S., was developed and distributed as an electronic survey to assess mosquito surveillance and control capacity among the nearly 2,000 local vector-control programs nationwide. It showed:

  • Based on the standards for competency developed and promoted by the CDC and the American Mosquito Control Association, 84% of respondents are in need of improvement in at least one core competency area.
  • Mosquito surveillance and control is not performed uniformly across the U.S. For example, the local vector control organizations assessed comprise local health departments (53%), mosquito control districts (20%), and other departments (27%) (e.g., streets and sanitation, public works, environmental health services, tribal networks, utilities, parish police juries, parks and recreation).
  • The top three areas for improving mosquito surveillance and control programs in the U.S. are: (1) pesticide resistance testing, (2) treating for mosquitoes based on surveillance data, and (3) routine mosquito surveillance and species identification.

“Local health departments, working in concert with their sister agencies and partners, are the frontline defense against disease in our communities. Just in the past week, a new locally transmitted case of Zika, which is spread by mosquitos, was detected in Miami. The highly trained professionals at local health departments are ‘the boots on the ground’ protecting us from mosquito-borne disease outbreaks,” said NACCHO Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs Laura Hanen, MPP. “But if Congress eliminates the PPHF and fails to continue to allocate vital funding to support these professionals, they will leave the American public vulnerable.”

Mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus and Zika, are an ongoing public health concern in the United States. However, there is a cyclical pattern of prioritizing mosquito control capabilities. First, a newly emerging or re-emerging mosquito-borne disease outbreak triggers a pandemic or epidemic response in which municipalities, states, and countries request resources to support and improve local mosquito control. As a result, local capacity increases as staff are hired, training expanded, diagnostic tests are developed, vaccine therapies are pursued, partnerships are established, and the threat is faced head-on. But when the seasons change, mosquito populations decrease, the sense of urgency fades, and the perceived threat lessens. Consequently, funding and resources dwindle or are withdrawn. Local vector control programs are left understaffed, undertrained, and underfunded, and the public is left vulnerable to the next impending mosquito-borne disease threat.

NACCHO’s President Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH and his staff at Harris County Public Health (HCPH), which serves Houston, are now closely monitoring the mosquito population that soared in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. “I can’t overstate the need for continued funding and resources for local health departments, so they can protect their communities from mosquito-borne diseases. From mosquito-control programs and mosquito bite prevention education to disease surveillance, health departments have a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of their communities. Our residents are fortunate, because Harris County has local resources to support a robust vector control program. What the joint NACCHO and CDC survey has brought to light is that many of our local health departments are not so fortunate and federal support for these activities is paramount. Lives depend upon it and the health outcomes from mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika, can be lifelong.”

Washington, DC, October 10, 2017 – The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, opposes the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan. Evidence has repeatedly shown reducing carbon emissions saves lives and supports good health. The EPA proposal still has to go through the public comment process and will likely be challenged by environmental groups and some states.

“If fully implemented, the Clean Power Plan would have reduced carbon pollution from power plants and prevented an estimated 90,000 asthma attacks, 1,700 heart attacks, and 3,600 premature deaths each year, when fully implemented. One in 12 adults and one in 11 children have asthma. Local public health departments exist to promote and protect the public’s health, and repeal of the Clean Power Plan will lead to devastating health consequences in communities throughout the country,” said NACCHO Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs Laura Hanen, MPP.

Repeal of the Clean Power Plan would be deleterious in other ways. Elevated levels of ozone and air pollution from higher temperatures can lead to worsening wildfires, such as those now threatening and destroying West Coast communities. Hotter air temperatures and longer summers due to increased carbon pollution and other emissions increase the risk of mosquito and tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease. In addition, a changing climate threatens the more vulnerable among us, including children, seniors, those living in low-income communities, and minorities.

Hanen said, “As public health professionals, our role will always be to achieve better health outcomes. Because the state of the environment is so closely tied to public health, protecting our communities from the impacts of climate change is, perhaps now more than ever, a top priority for us, our members, and our partners. NACCHO has long championed the Clean Power Plan and will submit comments conveying our strong opposition to the EPA proposal.”

To learn more about how local public health departments protect communities from climate change, click here.

Washington, DC, September 21, 2017 - The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, opposes the Graham-Cassidy proposal, the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Millions of Americans would lose health care coverage and access to important prevention services. In addition, the ability of the nation’s local public health departments to ensure the health of communities around the country would be severely compromised, as the bill strips funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) in FY2019, on which many local health departments are dependent.

“The Prevention and Public Health Fund is a lifeline for local public health departments,” said NACCHO’s President Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH. “It provides vital investments to governmental public health at the federal, state, and local levels, and its elimination will impact the nation’s public health support systems that ensure communities are healthy. As an emergency department physician, I understand that prevention goes a long way and long-term treatment of chronic conditions can be costly and are better handled by a healthcare provider that can have continuous oversight and interactions with a patient. The gravity of the real-life impact of defunding public health programs would disproportionately affect those who are more vulnerable, such as seniors, low-income families, people living with disabilities, and children. Our goal should be to invest in communities so that everyone has the opportunity to reach optimal health.”

The Prevention and Public Health Fund makes up 12% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) funding. Among the CDC programs at risk are the 317 Immunization Program, Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Diabetes Prevention.

Q&A with Ms. Calondra Tibbs, MPH, Senior Advisor, Public Health Programs, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
Washington, DC, August 25, 2017

Q1: Ms. Tibbs, its National Breastfeeding Month. Why is breastfeeding a public health priority?

A1: Breastfeeding is a critical public health issue, as it is the optimal source of infant nutrition, and has long-term health benefits for mom and baby. Breastfeeding protects babies from infections and decreases the risk of leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome and obesity. For mothers it reduces their risk of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes and heart attacks.

Q2: Breastfeeding has many benefits, so why are there still disparities among black women and women living in poverty?

A2: Disparities persist, as with many health outcomes, due to several barriers such as low availability and access to breastfeeding support, lack of family and community support, unaccommodating workplace and childcare environments, and aggressive marketing of infant formula.

Among infants born in 2014, black infants had the lowest breastfeeding rates of all reported race/ethnicity groups. Only 68% of black infants were ever breastfed as compared to 85.7% of white infants. Initiation rates for infants of mothers living in poverty was 73.2% among infants born in 2014.

Structural barriers disproportionately impact women of color and women living in poverty. For instance, birthing facilities using breastfeeding-friendly practices are less likely to be located in communities with high percentages of people of color or residents living in poverty.

In addition, the lack of federal legislation regarding paid family medical leave to support working families can impact decisions on returning to work. One-in-four women return to work within two weeks of delivery, and low-wage earners return to work sooner than higher wage earners. This limits the ability of women to establish breastfeeding prior to returning to work. And, although there are mandates for workplaces to support breastfeeding women, those working in the service industry are less likely to have adequate accommodations to support the pumping and storing of human milk.

Q3: Why has it been so important to increase breastfeeding rates among black infants?

A3: Although there have been great strides in breastfeeding, this persistent disparity in breastfeeding rates suggests that there are other factors that impact breastfeeding in the black community. The goal of our collective efforts should be to improve maternity care practices for black women; champion workplace and paid family medical leave policies; provide skilled and culturally-attuned breastfeeding support in communities; and engage the broader community to promote a culture of breastfeeding.

Q4: What is the local health department’s role in supporting breastfeeding?

A4: Local health departments can play a vital role in supporting breastfeeding and ensuring access to breastfeeding support. Local health departments and their partners are uniquely positioned to address breastfeeding by supporting policy, systems, and environmental changes that enable women to breastfeed at optimal rates. These include encouraging breastfeeding-friendly workplace and hospital practices and expanding community-level breastfeeding support.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recognized the critical role local health departments have in supporting breastfeeding in underserved communities. This effort, led by the NACCHO, supported 72 projects in 32 states. Collectively, they provided over 90,000 one-to-one encounters and over 3,000 breastfeeding support groups. Grantees also instituted innovative practices to address structural barriers to breastfeeding by building workforce capacity, partnering with worksites and collaborating with hospitals and healthcare providers to ensure continuity of care for breastfeeding mothers. These efforts were positive steps towards increasing breastfeeding among black women and women living in poverty.

Continued Federal Funding to Prevent the Spread of Zika More Urgent than Ever with Reports of the First Locally-Acquired Case This Year

Washington, DC, July 27, 2017—With the announcement of the nation’s first case of locally-acquired Zika for the 2017 season reported today, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, is calling on Congress to allocate funds to keep our communities safe from this debilitating disease. The impact of the Zika virus on pregnant women and their babies can have devastating effects on families. It will cost millions of dollars to care for a child with Zika-related birth defects over their lifespan.

“I can’t overstate the need of continued funding and support resources for local health departments so they can help protect their communities from mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika. From mosquito control programs, mosquito bite prevention education, to disease surveillance, health departments have a responsibility to protect the health and well-bring of their communities. With the first locally-acquired case for 2017, and with summer well underway, we have to be vigilant to prevent new Zika cases from occurring,” said NACCHO’s President Umair A. Shah, MD.

A resident of Hidalgo County, TX has tested positive for the Zika virus, the state’s first probable Zika infection this year. Zika is still here and a remains a threat in the U.S. State and local health departments in partnership and support with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) need continued funding in order to combat the disease. Together this collective public health response can limit the impact of Zika in our at-risk communities. This funding is vital to our efforts to increase the readiness and response capacity of laboratory, epidemiology, environmental, and maternal and child health programs.

One-time supplemental funding that Congress provided to address Zika is running out. Further, the CDC receives 12 percent of its annual funding from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) and passes much of the money on to state and local health departments in the form of grants. Senators debating the repeal of the Affordable Care Act are also considering whether to repeal or cut the PPHF. With regard to Zika, epidemiology and lab capacity grants funded in part by the PPHF are critical to identifying women who have been infected and tracking the spread of the virus.

“If Congress eliminates the PPHF and fails to continue to allocate vital funding enabling local health departments to carry out their mandate to protect our communities, they will have failed to protect the American public they have been elected to serve,” said Laura Hanen, NACCHO’s Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs.

NACCHO Expresses Concern Over House Committee Cuts to Immunization Funding and Other Critical Public Health Services

Washington, DC, July 19, 2017—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, today expressed concern that the House Appropriations Committee is proposing to cut discretionary funding for immunization and other programs that are key to preventing disease outbreaks. It is the role of local health departments to monitor, prevent, and control disease to reduce health risks through vaccine awareness and immunization programs. The funding levels for the bill are drastically low because of artificial budget caps. The FY2018 House Labor-HHS-Education bill cuts $50 million in funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) immunization program. The program supports the purchase of vaccines, as well as immunization operations, at the local, state, and national levels. Other important public health programs slated for cuts are:

  • $74 million cut to Chronic Disease and Health Promotion
  • Elimination of Title X Family Planning Grants; more than half of all Title X grantees are local health departments
  • Elimination of Climate and Health Program
  • Elimination of REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) program

Laura Hanen, MPP, NACCHO’s Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs, said, “While there are substantial cuts in this bill, we appreciate that the bill rejects the deep cuts requested by the president. We would also like to commend House Appropriators for providing additional funding for Public Health Preparedness and keeping the Preventive Health Block Grant intact, an important source of flexible funding for state and local health departments. We look forward to working with Congress as this bill moves forward. The programs cut here are vital to local health departments, as they work to keep their communities healthy and safe.”

Dr. Umair A. Shah Takes Office as President of the National Association of County and City Health Officials

“What people often lack is the creative imagination to see what could be, rather than what is, and the courage to move in that direction.”

Washington, DC, July 19, 2017—Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health (HCPH), serving Harris County (TX) – the third largest county in the nation with approximately 4.5 million people, is the new President of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). He assumed office on July 1.

Dr. Shah described his vision for NACCHO during the opening general session of the organization’s 2017 Annual Conference held in Pittsburgh, July 11-13. More than 1,200 attendees from around the country had gathered to share best practices and hear from national, regional, state, and local health officials about the future of public health and to address today's public health challenges.

In his address, Dr. Shah described his personal journey into healthcare as a practicing physician and then into public health. He encouraged the audience also to share their stories to help change the “invisible narrative” public health faces because others often do not understand its vital role in shaping the health of the nation. “We are local public health” said Dr. Shah, “We are local health departments. We are bound by one common theme: the relentless pursuit of health. We know our work, we know our place, and we know our value.” Dr. Shah’s aspirational speech went on to emphasize the need for health departments to use “creative imagination” and to innovate and engage while challenging them to achieve new heights during times of uncertainty. Putting this principle into action, he offered insights on how he and his leadership team have led HCPH’s exceptional growth since becoming director in 2013. Dr. Shah laid out his vision for NACCHO in the upcoming year, focusing on building capacity in health departments, connecting NACCHO members across different disciplines and interests, amplifying the voice for health departments whether large or small, and broadening the scope of NACCHO to work alongside other key partners whether local, state, national or global in nature – in both the public and private sectors.

Describing Dr. Shah, NACCHO Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs Laura Hanen, MPP said, “NACCHO is fortunate to have a visionary president with such an outstanding record of success on the local level as well as a national and international presence. Dr. Shah is a tireless promoter of the great work of our local public health departments. The theme of our annual conference this year was ‘Public Health Revolution – Bridging Clinical Medicine and Population Health’. As a practicing physician, Dr. Shah has special insights into what is needed to turn this revolution from a desire into a reality.”

Dr. Shah earned his BA in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University and MD from the University of Toledo Health Science Center. He completed an Internal Medicine residency, a General Medicine/Primary Care fellowship, and an MPH in Management & Policy Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center. During his training, he also completed an international health policy internship at World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Switzerland.

Dr. Shah has enjoyed a distinguished career as an emergency department physician at Houston’s well-respected Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. He launched his career in public health as Chief Medical Officer of Galveston County’s Health District before joining HCPH to oversee its extensive clinical health system and infectious disease portfolio. Under his leadership, HCPH has won numerous awards including as recipient of NACCHO’s 2016 Local Health Department of the Year award for its innovation, engagement, and equity work.

As President of NACCHO, Dr. Shah 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.

Pittsburgh, PA, July 10, 2017 — Local health department leaders, public health partners, and invited guests will convene at the 2017 National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Annual Conference, the largest gathering of local health officials in the United States, on July 11–13 in Pittsburgh. NACCHO is the only national organization that holds meetings to address needs specific to local health departments. Attendees from around the country will gather to share best practices and hear from national, regional, state, and local health officials about the future of public health and to address today's local public health challenges.

This year’s theme is Public Health Revolution – Bridging Clinical Medicine and Population Health. The meeting features over 125 sharing sessions and four plenaries, focusing on helping local health officials envision the future of local public health in their communities, and provide them with the essential skills, capabilities, and strategies to manage, evolve effectively and efficiently, and articulate a vision for the future.

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, #NA17.

WHEN/WHERE: July 11–13, Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown, 600 Commonwealth Place, Pittsburgh, PA

HOW TO ATTEND:
Members of the media may receive complimentary registration to attend NACCHO Annual or select sessions. Also, you can learn more about the sessions by downloading the NACCHO Annual 2017 app through the Google Play Store. For more information, or to set up an interview with any of the speakers below, please contact NACCHO’s Director of Media and Public Relations, Theresa Spinner, at 202-783-5551 or tspinner@naccho.org.

HIGHLIGHTS:

General Session 1: Bridging Clinical Medicine and Population Health
Tuesday, July 11, 1:00–3:00 PM ET
Room: Grand Ballroom

Keynote Speakers:
Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH, Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health
Michael Meit, MA, MPH, Senior Public Health Systems Researcher, NORC at the University of Chicago
Lawrence Eisenstein, MD, MPH, FACP, Commissioner of Health, Nassau County Department of Health
Karen Hacker, MD MPH, Director, Allegheny County Health Department
Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive

As the chief health strategists in their communities, local health officials and their health departments are well-positioned to bring together like-minded stakeholders to strengthen critical local partnerships with clinical medicine and other groups improve the health of their populations. This session will highlight the unique opportunity local public health has to convene discussions and efforts around population health, clinical medicine, and the management of systems that measure health and healthcare outcomes. This dynamic panel will share innovative approaches and ideas, address common challenges, and present a shared language to help local health departments and their partners catalyze action. Participants will walk away with concrete examples of collaboration, a stronger understanding of the impacts of healthcare reform at the local level, and strategies for achieving better health outcomes through innovative partnerships.

General Session 2 - Morning General Session: Sharing Our Vision, Broadening Our Impact
Wednesday, July 12, 8:00–10:00AM ET
Room: Grand Ballroom

Moderator: Don Bradley, MD, MHS-CL, The Practical Playbook
Keynote Speakers:
Dr. Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director, Harris County Public Health
Jay Bhatt, DO, MPH, MA, FACP, CMO/SVP, AHA; President, HRET
American Hospital Association
Scott Hall, JD, Senior Vice President of Community and Civic Initiatives, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Sandra Lobo, Executive Director, Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition, New York, NY

Multisector partnerships are key to achieving the vision described in the Chief Health Strategist and Public Health 3.0 frameworks. In this session, NACCHO has assembled dynamic speakers to provide insightful, creative, and thoughtful presentations about how local health departments can work with primary care providers to address upstream determinants of health, build strong community engagement, and leverage and interpret data to maximize the impact of their shared efforts. Attendees will learn to more effectively articulate their vision for population health, develop and sustain strong partnerships with primary care providers, and assess the outcomes of their collaborations.

General Session 3 - Morning General Session: From the Lab to the Legislature: How Policy is Our Most Impactful Tool
Thursday, July 13, 8:00–10:00 AM ET
Room: Grand Ballroom

Keynote Speakers:
Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, Executive Director, Boston Public Health Commission
Brian Castrucci, MA, Chief Program and Strategy Officer, de Beaumont Foundation
Marcus Plescia, MPH, MD, Health Director, Mecklenburg County Health Department

Effectively addressing the social determinants of health requires local health departments to coalesce diverse coalitions to effect policy, systems, and environmental change at the local, state, and federal levels. Policy is one of the most cost effective and impactful tools for addressing the upstream factors of health and health inequity. The Public Health 3.0 and Chief Health Strategist frameworks both emphasize that policy is a key skill for the public health workforce. In this session, speakers will discuss common fears about engaging in policy work, obstacles and challenges such as pre-emption, tools such as Health in All Policies that can help incorporate health implications in the policymaking process, and successful examples of policy change that had lasting impacts on public health.

General Session 4 - Closing General Session: Using Data Integration to Improve Population Health: Examples from the Field
Thursday, July 13, 3:30–5:00 PM ET
Room: Grand Ballroom

Moderator:
E. Oscar Alleyne, DrPH, MPH
, Senior Advisor of Public Health Programs, National Association of County and City Health Officials

Keynote Speakers:
John Lumpkin, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President, Program, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Nick Macchione, FACHE, Agency Director, Health and Human Services Agency County of San Diego
Joshua Sharfstein, MD, Associate Dean, Public Health Practice & Training, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Local health departments need access to local-level data and proven ways to quickly measure results to remain nimble and responsive to health threats in their communities; however, public health often lacks outcome-based data that is geographically appropriate and timely. To effectively leverage data, local health departments must work with partners to maximize the $27 billion federal investment in electronic health records and mobilize other community-based data to inform public health actions and policies. The speakers in this plenary will share examples of how harnessing the power of data can dramatically improve the health of our communities.

Statement by Laura Hanen, MPP, Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs

Washington, DC, July 7, 2017 —As the voice of nearly 3,000 local health departments across the United States, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) endorses the appointment of Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, former Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, to become the next Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Dr. Fitzgerald is a seasoned health professional having led the Georgia Health Department of Public Health for more than six years and practicing medicine for over 30. She knows how Federal governmental public health programs work, the importance of “on-the-ground” public health, and CDC’s essential role in supporting that work. Dr. Fitzgerald has a deep interest in early childhood development, which affects health and well-being for years to come, as well as the importance of prevention and population health, not just primary care, having overseen Georgia’s public health agency being elevated to its own cabinet level agency.”

As Commissioner of the Georgia Health Department of Public Health, Dr. Fitzgerald oversaw various state public health programs including Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Maternal and Child Health, Infectious Disease and Immunization, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Emergency Medical Services, Pharmacy, Nursing, Volunteer Health Care, the Office of Health Equity, Vital Records and the State Public Health Laboratory. She also directed the state’s 18 public health districts and 159 county health departments.

“NACCHO and our nation’s local health departments work closely with the CDC. Their support is crucial to the work local health departments perform every day to protect the communities they serve. As the former public health leader of Georgia, Dr. Fitzgerald knows this first hand. We believe she will be a strong voice and an effective advocate for state and local health departments at this critical time which has seen unexpected public health crises like Ebola and Zika virus over the past few years. We need a proven leader such as Dr. Fitzgerald who understands the importance of what local health departments do and will work to support them. We strongly endorse her appointment as the next Director of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.”

Washington, DC, July 3, 2017—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has elected Kevin G. Sumner, MPH, Health Officer/Director for the Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission to its 2017-2018 Board of Directors as its new President-Elect. As President-Elect, Sumner will serve on the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee.

NACCHO is governed by a 24-member board that comprises local and tribal health officials who are elected by their peers. The Board also includes ex-officio members who represent the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Summer begins his one-year term on July 1, 2017.

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

Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission in Greenbrook, NJ is a local health agency providing public health services to five municipalities in Somerset County, New Jersey, with a population of 45,000. Sumner has been employed by the Commission for over 30 years in varying capacities, including environmental health specialist, health educator, and health officer. He 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 as President-Elect of NACCHO and look forward to his leadership,” said NACCHO’s Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs Laura Hanen.

“As a longtime member of NACCHO who has experienced the very tangible value of the organization to its members, I am thrilled, honored, and humbled to be moving into the President-Elect position for this coming year,” said Sumner. “It is my hope to continue to learn about NACCHO and the needs of its members so that those needs can be addressed efficiently and effectively. Clearly, we are experiencing challenging times and NACCHO’s advocacy efforts and the activities of NACCHO staff and members will be critical in moving our public health agenda forward. I will be doing whatever I can to support NACCHO in these efforts.”

NACCHO’s Executive Committee consists of four officers. In addition to Sumner are:

  • Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Board Chair; Harris County Public Health, Houston, TX
  • George T. Roberts, Jr, MHA, FACHE, Vice President; Chief Executive Officer, Northeast Texas Public Health, Tyler, TX
  • Claude-Alix Jacob, Immediate Past President; Chief Public Health Officer, Cambridge (MA) Public Health Department

In addition to electing Sumner to the board, NACCHO has also announced new officers, at-large and regional members. A complete list of the Board of Directors can be found here.

Washington, DC, July 3, 2017—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has elected George T. Roberts, Jr. , MHA, FACHE, CEO of the Northeast Texas Public Health District, to its 2017-2018 Board of Directors as its new Vice President. As Vice President, Roberts will serve on the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee.

NACCHO is governed by a 24-member board that comprises local and tribal health officials who are elected by their peers. The Board also includes ex-officio members who represent the National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Roberts begins his one-year term on July 1, 2017.

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

Roberts has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District since November 2006. Services provided by the Health District include the Center for Healthy Living, Community Outreach, Environmental Health, Immunizations, Tuberculosis Control, Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Regional Laboratory, Vital Statistics, and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program. The Health District primarily serves Tyler and Smith County, but also provides services in 21 counties in East Texas. The WIC Program serves a 20-county area and Public Health Emergency Preparedness serves a seven-county region.

“I congratulate George on his election as Vice President of NACCHO and look forward to his leadership,” said NACCHO’s Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs Laura Hanen.

“I am honored to be part of NACCHO's solutions to the growing healthcare needs of our country. Public health officials throughout our country are working tirelessly to educate the public about health prevention and treatments; to help them as NACCHO Vice President will be an honor and a privilege,” said Roberts.

NACCHO’s Executive Committee consists of four officers. In addition to Roberts are:

  • Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Board Chair; Harris County Public Health, Houston, TX
  • Kevin G. Sumner, MPH, President-Elect; Health Officer/Director, Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission, Green Brook, NJ
  • Claude-Alix Jacob, Immediate Past President; Chief Public Health Officer, Cambridge (MA) Public Health Department

In addition to electing Roberts to the board, NACCHO has also announced new officers, at-large, and regional members. A complete list of the Board of Directors can be found here.

Statement by Laura Hanen, MPP, Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

Washington, DC, June 30, 2017 —“As the voice of nearly 3,000 local health departments across the United States, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) endorses the nomination of Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams as the next Surgeon General of the United States.

“Since joining the Indiana State Health Department in 2014, Dr. Adams has overseen the public health protection and laboratory services, health and human services, healthcare quality and regulatory, and tobacco prevention and cessation commissions. Dr. Adams is a staunch advocate for the importance of vaccines in preventing costly and unnecessary illness. He worked diligently to protect Indiana residents during the hepatitis and HIV crises in Scott County, in 2014 and 2015, which linked to the opioid epidemic that was devastating families in his state. Dr. Adams’ knowledge and experience in dealing with public health challenges at the state and local level will serve the nation well.

“In addition to his public health leadership, Dr. Adams’ experience on the national stage is also impressive. He has been invited to share his expertise as a public health practitioner before Congress, the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Academy of Sciences.

“Local health departments collaborate with federal, state, and local partners, including the Surgeon General, to create conditions where all people can reach their highest potential without health barriers. The Surgeon General plays a critical role in establishing the evidence base for public health interventions. Dr. Adams’ leadership in protecting the people of Indiana, implementing evidence and science-based public health practices, and his success on a national level make him a truly exceptional nominee. NACCHO unreservedly supports Dr. Adams’ nomination to the post of the Surgeon General of the United States.”

# # #

Senate Healthcare Bill Would Eviscerate Public Health and Healthcare Access

Statement by Laura Hanen, MPP, Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

Washington, DC, June 22, 2017 —“As the voice of nearly 3,000 local health departments across the United States, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) strongly disavows the Senate’s ‘Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017’ bill, which eliminates the funding that provides essential resources to governmental public health at the federal, state and local levels. In addition, rural communities will be hit particularly hard by the legislation’s proposed Medicaid cuts.”

The ‘‘Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017’’ eliminates funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) in FY2018, eroding 12% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) funding. Among the CDC programs at risk are the 317 Immunization Program, Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Grants, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Diabetes Prevention, among others, which support local health department activities to keep the public healthy and safe.

In FY2020, the ‘‘Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017’’ begins phasing out the Medicaid expansion established by 32 states after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which has provided access to primary and emergency care to millions of Americans. The bill also caps federal Medicaid funding, which will ultimately result in shifting responsibility to the states and counties ― leaving governors, state legislatures, and local governments facing tight budgets with limited choices, other than reducing coverage for millions of seniors, low-income families, people with disabilities, and children. While the bill addresses the opioid epidemic by providing additional funding, at the same time, limitations on Medicaid access would potentially deny substance abuse treatment for 1.3 million people who need it.

“America’s heartland will suffer if this rushed, short-sighted legislation becomes law. Many individuals living in rural areas rely on Medicaid to stay healthy and maintain their quality of life. They will lose their coverage. These families already face challenges in accessing care, because healthcare providers and hospitals are farther away. The higher poverty rates in rural communities make a problematic situation even more difficult and can lead to poor health outcomes. In addition, some rural hospitals may close without enough insured patients, hurting the entire community.

“Moreover, the public’s health will suffer with the passage of this legislation. The burden will fall on our already overstretched local health departments to protect the public’s health. Local health departments need adequate funding to carry out their mandate to protect the communities they serve and help us all maintain a good quality of life.”

# # #

Washington, DC, June 19, 2017 —The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is proud to announce the 2017-2018 election results for NACCHO Officers and Board of Directors. Starting July 1, 2017, the following public health leaders will serve as NACCHO’s Officers:

• Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health (HCPH), will become NACCHO President.
• Kevin G. Sumner, MPH, Health Officer and Director of the Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission, will become President-Elect.
• George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District, will become Vice President.
• Claude-Alix Jacob, MPH, Chief Public Health Officer and Director of the Cambridge Public Health Department, will become Immediate-Past 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.

Dr. Umair A. Shah has served as Executive Director and Local Health Authority for Harris County Public Health (HCPH) since 2013. HCPH is the county public health agency for Harris County, Texas - the nation’s 3rd largest county with 4.5 million people. Under his leadership, HCPH has won numerous national awards for its transformational work including recognition as a recipient of NACCHO’s Local Health Department of the Year award in 2016. Prior to joining HCPH, Dr. Shah served as the Chief Medical Officer at the Galveston County Health District and as an emergency department physician at Houston’s Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center since 1999. Dr. Shah earned his BA (philosophy) from Vanderbilt University, his MD from the University of Toledo Health Science Center, and his MPH (management) from the University of Texas School of Public Health.

Kevin G. Sumner, MPH is the Health Officer and Director for the Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission, a local health agency providing public health services to five municipalities in Somerset County, New Jersey, with a population of 45,000. Over the last 30 years, he has held served in various roles at the Commission, including environmental health specialist, health educator, and health officer. Sumner received his MPH from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and his BA in Biological Sciences and Classical Humanities from Rutgers University.

George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District since November 2006. Services provided by the Health District include the Center for Healthy Living, Community Outreach, Environmental Health, Immunizations, Tuberculosis Control, Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Regional Laboratory, Vital Statistics, and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program. The Health District primarily serves Tyler and Smith County, but also provides some services in 21 counties in East Texas. The WIC Program serves a 20-county area and Public Health Emergency Preparedness serves a seven-county region. Roberts received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and a Master in Health Administration from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO.

NACCHO thanks Immediate-Past President Claude-Alix Jacob for his outstanding leadership during a transitional period for the organization. Jacob is the Chief Public Health Officer and Director of the Cambridge Public Health Department, which serves a population of 110,000 residents and hundreds of businesses in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jacob has over 20 years of experience in public health and has led the operations of the department since 2007. Jacob received a master of public health from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

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, 2017.

• Dawn Allicock, MD, MPH, CPH, Director/Health Officer, Florida Department of Health in St. John’s County, St. Augustine, FL

• Claudia Blackburn, MPH, RNC, Health Officer, Florida Department of Health in Leon County, Tallahassee, FL

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

• Muntu Davis, MD, Public Health Director & County Health Officer, Alameda County Public Health Department, Oakland, CA

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

• Christopher C. Dobbins, MPH, Director, Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services, Gastonia, NC

• Pramod Dwivedi, DrPH, Health Director, Linn County Public Health Department, Cedar Rapids, IA

• Sandra Elizabeth Ford, MD, MBA, District Health Director, Dekalb County Health Department, Decatur, GA

• Andre Fresco, MPA, Administrator, Yakima Health District, Union Gap, WA

• Joseph Iser, MD, DrPH, MSc, Chief Health Officer, Southern Nevada Health District, Las Vegas, NV

• Jennifer C. Kertanis, MPH, Director of Health, Farmington Valley Health District, Canton, CT

• Jeff Kuhr, PhD, Public Health Director, Mesa County Health Department, Grand Junction, CO

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

• Gretchen Musicant, RN, MPH, Commissioner, Minnesota Health Department, Minneapolis, MN

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

• Denisha Porter, Director of Creating Healthy Communities Program, Cincinnati Health Department, Cincinnati, OH

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

• Joey Smith, Public Health Director, Montgomery County Health Department, Clarksville, TN

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

• Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, Executive Director, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, MA

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President’s Decision to Withdraw U.S. from Paris Accord on Climate Change Is Short-Sighted and Places Public’s Health at Risk

Statement by Laura Hanen, MPP, Interim Executive Director and Chief Government and Chief of Government Affairs of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

Washington, D.C., June 2, 2017— On June 1, President Donald Trump formally announced that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, adopted in 2015 by 195 nations. This agreement aims to mitigate negative outcomes resulting from the earth’s warming by engaging the global community to limit greenhouse gas emissions. In a public statement, Trump described the agreement as “unfair” to U.S. interests, and said that this exit would help “re-assert America’s sovereignty.” The National Association of County and City Health Officials, representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, asserts this is a poor decision that endangers our future and could cost lives.

“Science has demonstrated that climate change will have serious and far-reaching health implications for present and future generations, with both direct and indirect impacts on human health,” said Laura Hanen, NACCHO’s Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs. “Poor air quality will send more men, women, and children to hospitals with allergy and asthma-related illnesses. More intense and more frequent weather events may result in the most serious health threat from heat waves, floods, storms, fires, and droughts. Importantly, the health risks associated with climate change will not be shared equally among individuals, communities, and populations.

Climate change will disproportionately burden the very young, older adults, people living with mental and physical disabilities, low-income people, and marginalized communities. As public health professionals, our role will always be to achieve better health outcomes, both at home and abroad. Because the state of the environment is so closely tied to public health, protecting our communities from the impacts of climate change is, perhaps now more than ever, a top priority for us, our members, and our partners.”

NACCHO encourages public health departments to promote and participate in climate change mitigation efforts, such as 1) the incorporation of adaptation planning into land use, housing, and transportation design; 2) preparing communities for extreme environmental events; and 3) coordinating with local governments on all-hazards disaster planning. NACCHO also recommends local health departments take action by using “The 10 Essential Public Health Services” as a framework to inform prevention and response activities to address the impacts of climate change in the communities they serve. Key action steps include: establishing science-based and culturally competent education initiatives; supporting relevant research on emerging health impacts and public health best-practice standards; conducting ongoing health monitoring (e.g., vulnerability assessments and environmental health studies); and building partnerships with key local stakeholders to engage them in response activities.

For more information, public health officials, partners, and policymakers at all levels are urged to review the NACCHO Policy Statement on Climate Change and the NACCHO Report, “Preparing for the Public Health Challenges of Climate Change.”

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Washington, DC, May 23, 2017—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) representing nearly 3,000 local health departments, is troubled by proposed cuts to key programs that maintain the nation’s health and security. Specifically, cuts to vital Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) programs undermine the work of the nation’s local health departments which are charged with promoting health and improving the quality and length of all lives.

The CDC provides funds to state and local health departments to carry out a wide array of programs across the country.

The President’s FY2018 budget proposal, released today, includes deep cuts to immunization, public health preparedness, infectious and chronic disease programs at CDC, as well as programs that support disease monitoring and outbreak response.

“The President’s budget cuts if enacted would negatively impact the health and safety of communities across the country,” said NACCHO’s interim executive director and chief of government affairs Laura Hanen, MPP. “This is a document that in theory embodies the values and priorities of the nation. Unfortunately, the emphasis is not on preventing disease and ensuring long and healthy lives of Americans, particularly those most vulnerable.”

The most troublesome of these funding cuts will further reduce the resilience of our communities:

  • A $109 million cut (17%) to the CDC Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program and a $28 million cut (11%) to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s Hospital Preparedness (HPP) program.
  • A $90 million cut to the Immunization Program that provides vaccine services to low-income and uninsured children, adolescents and adults. This comes at a time when the nation is experiencing costly outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases such as mumps and measles.
  • Creation of a block grant program at CDC that consolidates and deeply cuts ($222 million) chronic disease prevention programs at a time when chronic diseases are driving the growth in health care costs, death, and disability.
  • Deep cuts of $186 million to infectious disease prevention programs at CDC.
  • Elimination of the public health workforce development program at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which includes public health training centers and preventive medicine residency training.

NACCHO is committed to working with Congress and the Administration to ensure that governmental public health programs continue to receive sufficient support to build on the historic gains in life expectancy in America that in large part are the result of public health investments and interventions.

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Statement by Laura Hanen, MPP, Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

Washington, DC, May 15, 2017 — “New hepatitis C infections have nearly tripled over five years, according to new preliminary surveillance data recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 3.5 million Americans are living with hepatitis C virus, making it the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the United States. Baby boomers are six times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than those in other age groups and are at much greater risk for death from the virus, but the greatest increases were among young people aged 20-29. This is primarily a result of increasing injection drug use associated with America’s growing opioid epidemic. Approximately half of people living with hepatitis C virus have no symptoms and don’t know they are infected, and the vast majority of new infections go undiagnosed. The surveillance report also shows a continued rise in new hepatitis B infections, which increased by 20.7 percent in 2015.

“Hepatitis B and C present significant challenges to public health and healthcare systems. NACCHO calls on the federal government to provide the funding and commitment necessary to address these challenges. As the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s new consensus report, A National Strategy for the Elimination of Hepatitis B and C, states, we can eliminate hepatitis B and C as public health threats by 2030 if the appropriate leadership, investment, and strategies are fulfilled. Hepatitis B and C are completely preventable, but only when we commit the resources necessary for testing, treatment, and in the case of hepatitis C, a cure.

“Resources must reach the local level, where local health departments are providing critical services and leadership to these efforts. The funding to address viral hepatitis is severely limited, and the failure to act on this data will have significant consequences for our communities. The lack of resources is particularly concerning, in the facing of a growing opioid epidemic that is fueling increases in injection drug use, a critical risk factor in the spread of hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV. Without appropriate federal and state funding and public policies, local health departments will struggle to implement effective public health interventions to prevent and treat viral hepatitis.

“In addition to the surveillance report, two MMWR articles were released: State HCV Incidence and Policies Related to HCV Preventive and Treatment Services for Persons Who Inject Drugs, which demonstrate the need for comprehensive approaches to combat the duel epidemics of opioid addiction and injection-related infections diseases, including syringe services programs; and Hepatitis C Virus Infection Among Women Giving Birth, which shows that estimated rates of hepatitis C infection among pregnant women in the United States have nearly doubled during 2009–2014. In Tennessee, the rate in 2014 was approximately three times the national rate.

“NACCHO is committed to supporting local health department efforts to address viral hepatitis. We created an online educational series to increase local health department knowledge and capacity to address hepatitis C, which includes examples of how local health departments can leverage existing resources to support their efforts and promote sensible policies in the age of curative treatment for hepatitis C. And, of course, we will continue to use advocacy to call attention to the unique needs of local health departments, who are the first line of defense in protecting community health.”

Click here to learn more about NACCHO’s hepatitis C resources and view the latest NACCHO Exchange, which includes information on the connections between the opioid epidemic and the spread of infectious diseases, such as HCV.

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Statement by Laura Hanen, MPP, Interim Executive Director and Chief of Government Affairs of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

Washington, DC, May 5, 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) is disappointed that the House of Representatives today passed legislation that eliminates the funding that provides essential resources to governmental public health at the federal, state and local levels.

The “American Health Care 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 Grants, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Diabetes Prevention, among others.

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.”

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How Your Local Health Departments Works to Keep Communities Safe

Q&A with Dr. Oscar Alleyne, Senior Advisor for Public Health Programs National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

Introduction

Washington, DC, April 20, 2017—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that 10 percent of the 250 women in the United States who had confirmed Zika infection in 2016 delivered a fetus or baby with Zika-related birth defects. In addition, 44 states reported pregnant women with evidence of Zika in 2016. The CDC also reported that only 1 in 4 babies with possible congenital Zika infection were reported to have received the recommended brain imaging after birth. Clearly, Zika is a serious public health issue. The following is a conversion with NACCHO epidemiologist Dr. Oscar Alleyne about what local health departments are doing to protect pregnant women and their babies.

Q. Dr. Alleyne, we know that Zika infection was an issue last year and Americans living in Gulf Coast states were particularly at risk from mosquito bites. Why is Zika infection still a threat in 2017?

Unfortunately, some have the misconception that Zika has disappeared because of the winter. While cold weather does reduce the risk of transmission by mosquitoes, we know that Aedes aegypti mosquito eggs are very resilient and can survive harsh conditions. In our southern-most states, the threat has not gone away, and we have seen positive cases of Zika transmission in Texas within the last month, because travel-related cases of Zika continue to occur.

Adding to the equation, this is a virus that continues to provide new revelations with its ability to be spread through sex and, even in one fatal case, by casual physical contact. There is great concern with the known birth defects like microcephaly, neurological damage and more recently, Zika-related seizures and epilepsy among infants born to mothers infected with the virus while pregnant.

Q. We have heard that local health departments’ use of vector control is very important. Please define a vector and tell us why control is so important.

A vector is a living organism that can transmit infectious diseases between humans, or from animals to humans. In the case of Zika, that vector is mainly the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitos. Vector-control plans focus on using techniques proven to reduce mosquito populations.

Many of these actions try to manage the different stages of a mosquito’s life cycle. This includes tracking mosquitoes where they lay their eggs, killing mosquito larvae before they become biting adults, and using registered insecticides to kill adult mosquitoes. Fully competent control programs carry out tests for resistance to see how successful their insecticide applications worked in reducing the adult mosquito populations.

Q. If you live in an area where the local health department has all of the equipment and funding they need to protect residents, does that mean pregnant women shouldn’t be worried about possible infection?

Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can cause serious birth defects. Women who are pregnant and women who are planning to become pregnant should know their risks and take the necessary precautions. Just because a community’s local health department is well-equipped and has sufficient funding to fight the disease does not mean pregnant women should not be worried about possible infection. NACCHO conducted a vector-control competency assessment and found that 68% of the vector- control programs that responded were in need of improvement.

Q. Can you tell us about strategies that some local health departments have used to reduce the chances of Zika infection for residents?

Local health departments across the United States have been exceptional in their response to Zika. This is seen in the community health worker engagement with residents that live in border communities like in the City of Laredo and Hildago County, Texas; to forming strong partnerships with municipalities and universities in creating contingency plans in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; to testing exciting new mosquito trap technologies with Microsoft in Harris County, Texas; to the New York City Practice Safe Sex campaign that is translated into many languages, and urges New Yorkers to remain vigilant; to increased testing and family counseling available for children and families affected by Zika in Florida; to the deployment of CDC-hired local public health nurses to assist with the Zika Pregnancy and Birth Defect Registry in areas including Chicago, Salt Lake County, Alameda County, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and Palm Beach County.

Q. What can our local health departments do to increase awareness of Zika virus transmission to the public and healthcare providers?

Our local health department leaders continue to show their commitment to education and partnership in the spirit of public health protection. Many agreed to ramp up public education efforts to lower the chances of mosquito bites. Dallas County has developed emergency document bags with Zika information for residents and businesses. Laredo City health department clinicians, epidemiology, preparedness response, and nursing staff are wearing “Ask Me About Zika” tags and are working with local ob-gyn providers to encourage community awareness.

In Miami, a campaign to continue to educate the public on how to prepare to fight the bite include, for example, the importance of draining a plentiful and popular decorative plant: bromeliads. Bromeliads can hold water between their leaves, making them a great place for mosquitoes to breed. The interaction of medical, epidemiology, vector control, and maternal and child health is critical to all of these efforts, coupled with a strong spirit of collaboration.

Q. What type of federal funding is needed to continue to protect the public from Zika?

Zika funding is not where it should be, if we want to be serious about protecting the lives of our citizens. The current Administration’s proposed budget would eliminate one-eighth of the CDC’s budget. The budget for the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) program is also proposed to be cut in half, and that directly threatens the Zika funding available to fight this disease. The reality is that vector control is done at the county and municipality level and there is a greater need for financial support to preserve and strengthen the public health infrastructure. We need to move the dial of our vector control programs from “in need of improvement” to being “competent and fully capable” to fight Zika.

In another example, congressional funding for the Zika Pregnancy and Birth Defect Registry was for one year. While it was able to execute some activities, the reality is that this one-time investment will go away. The end result of failing to fund this important surveillance system can be catastrophic. Babies infected by Zika will not be tracked, and connection to support and health services will disappear.

The delayed funding for Zika last year placed our public health system at a disadvantage to a rapidly changing outbreak. So understanding the overall burden placed on the other services is important, if we are to save lives and make an impact.

Q. Dr. Alleyne, you have many years of experience as an epidemiologist and former local health department director dealing with mosquito-borne illness and other epidemics. What surprises you about Zika and our response to it?

Even though we have learned that Zika — normally a mosquito-borne illness that now can be spread by sexual contact — causes birth defects and other neurological disorders, and with over 41,000 cases identified in the United States and territories, what surprises me is that we still have to prove that Zika is a public health threat. The projected costs of taking care of a child with birth defects from Zika is terribly high. They include the money needed to pay for special schooling, for home and lifestyle modifications, and high total medical lifetime costs. Yet still, the message is not resonating as widely as it should be. So it is not so much a surprise as it is a fear: a substantial fear that the battle may be lost if we do not fight the bite.

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NACCHO’s Preparedness Summit Spotlights Biodefense, National Security, and Technological Innovation

Plenary Speakers Include Former Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Thomas Ridge and Former U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman

Washington, DC, April 19, 2017—Due to the changing political scene in Washington, D.C. and the White House’s recent military engagements in the Middle East, issues of biodefense and national security are front-page news. The examination of our biodefense and national security has a new urgency, and emergency preparedness is at the heart of a community’s ability to survive both natural and man-made disasters. It falls to our local health departments in collaboration with others to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities. Local health departments’ ability to adapt to the changing scene is the focus of the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ (NACCHO) 2017 Preparedness Summit, April 24–28, in Atlanta, Georgia: “Forces of Change: Capabilities, Innovation, and Partnerships.”

“The prospect of a catastrophic event is not something most of us want to envision, but we must be prepared in the event of a disaster,” said Dr. William M. Barnes, Ph.D., MBA, acting executive director and chief program officer of NACCHO. “Our local health departments, staffed with highly trained professionals, are entrusted to keep our communities safe. 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 strong communities in the face of disaster.”

Three plenary sessions featuring renowned experts in biodefense, national health security, and technological innovation will set the tone and spearhead conversation throughout the 2017 Preparedness Summit. Other noteworthy sessions include Town Hall sessions on Zika virus disease and biosurveillance, led by senior leadership from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Plenary Sessions:

Tuesday, April 25; 8:00–10:00am ET

Envisioning the Future: Federal Efforts to Prepare the Nation

  • Thomas Ridge, Former Governor and Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Joseph Lieberman, Former Senator (Ridge and Lieberman serve as co-chairs for Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense)

Thursday, April 27; 8:30–10:00am ET

The Way Forward: Emerging Technologies Driving Public Health Emergency Preparedness

  • Dr. John Brownstein, Chief Innovation Officer, Boston Children's Hospital and Professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Ben Hamamato, Research Manager, Institute for the Future

Friday, April 28; 10:30am–12:00pm ET

A Sea of Changes: A Closer Look at Climate, Its Impact on Water, and Preparing Communities for the Future

  • David Rozell, MPH, CPH, Program Manager, Public Health Emergency Preparedness, Tulare County (CA) Health and Human Services
  • Clark Halvorson, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Public Health, Washington State Department of Health
  • Ambassador Selwin Hart, MPH, CPH, Ambassador of Barbados to the U.S. and Former Director of the United Nations Climate Change Support Team

Join NACCHO at this four-day event, which provides the only cross-disciplinary learning designed specifically for the preparedness community. Each year, the Preparedness Summit convenes nearly 2,000 diverse preparedness professionals representing public sector, nonprofit, academic, and industry partners, to leverage the field’s emerging capabilities, innovation, and partnerships for a healthier, more resilient nation. To learn more about the Preparedness Summit, please click here.

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Washington, DC, April 5, 2017 – The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) are proud to endorse the Environmental Health Workforce Act, a bill reintroduced today by Rep. Brenda L. Lawrence (D-MI) on behalf of the environmental health workforce. This bill ensures that there is a consistent set of guidelines and standards for the training and education of environmental health professionals.

"I am proud to introduce the Environmental Health Workforce Act," Rep. Lawrence said. "We learned many valuable and expensive lessons from the failures that occurred in Flint, Michigan. I promised to review and make changes to policies affecting environmental emergencies and this legislation does exactly that. It ensures that the workforce responsible for handling environmental and public health issues are capable. I am pleased to introduce this legislation and know that we are one step closer to securing the health and safety of Americans across the nation."

Currently, only 28 states require a credential for environmental health workers.

“Credentialed environmental health practitioners, where they exist, have strong science degrees, routinely partner with the regulated community, and understand cultural sensitivities because they live in the communities in which they serve. These valuable workforce characteristics help ensure a healthy and prosperous society,” said David Dyjack, NEHA Executive Director and CEO.

“We are thrilled that Rep. Lawrence recognizes the incredibly important work of environmental health professionals for the health of our nation’s citizens. This legislation will save money, save lives, and protect our children’s future.”

“Protecting the safety of the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe requires that local health departments have a strong, capable environmental health workforce. This bill provides support for these hard working professionals that serve people in our communities every day,” said William Barnes, NACCHO Acting Executive Director and Chief Program Officer.

Since 1937 NEHA has offered a Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian (REHS/RS) credential, which defines a set of competencies, evidenced through testing and maintained through continuing education.

Given the diversity and complexity of recent environmental health issues that have been a high priority for public safety – lead contaminated drinking water, food tainted with E. coli, and potential outbreaks of Zika virus, this legislation is a key component to ensuring we have a highly skilled workforce to find the best solutions and protect future generations of Americans.

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Grants Awarded in Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Washington, and West Virginia through Pilot Project

Washington, DC, March 29, 2017—The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has awarded grants to six entities to support community water fluoridation.

Dental cavities are a common chronic disease among American children; one in four children living below the federal poverty level experience untreated cavities. Water fluoridation prevents cavities by providing frequent and consistent contact with low levels of fluoride, ultimately reducing cavities by about 25% in children and adults.

“Science has demonstrated the effectiveness and benefits of water fluoridation on oral health,” said NACCHO’s Interim Executive Director and Chief Program Officer William M. Barnes, PhD, MBA. “NACCHO and the CDC are collaborating to help communities maintain their support for water fluoridation, especially in rural and low-income areas. We are committed to reducing health disparities and improving the quality of life for everyone.”

In January 2017, NACCHO, in partnership with the CDC, announced the project “Building Capacity for Oral Health: Fluoridation Equipment in Local Communities,” designed to support communities to either replace aging water fluoridation equipment or install new equipment for community water fluoridation. This one-time funding opportunity also helped to identify the need for assistance to support core infrastructure and inform future opportunities for similar projects.

While these community water systems work to diligently maintain their equipment, aging equipment poses a challenge after many years of use, particularly for small systems where resources are scarce. NACCHO received 27 grant applications from 13 states. A total of $125,000 was awarded to the following six grantees:

  • Bowling Green Municipal Utilities, KY (pop. 125,000)
  • City of Fircrest, WA (pop. 6,500)
  • City of Kannapolis, NC (pop. 53,100)
  • Jefferson Parish Water Department East Bank, LA (pop. 243,782)
  • Versailles Municipal Utility, KY (pop. 6,200)
  • West Virginia Oral Health Coalition, WV (pop. 1,634)

Water fluoridation is one of the most practical, cost-effective, equitable, and safe measures to improve a community’s oral health. NACCHO is pleased to have the opportunity to provide these communities with the infrastructure support that will aid them in maintaining effective water fluoridation for the communities they serve.

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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.