Community Health

Innovative Approaches to Treating Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

July 31, 2018|11:43 p.m.| Community Health and Prevention Team

The incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) has increased dramatically over the past decade, placing a significant burden on the healthcare system in terms of the costs associated with extended hospital stays required to care for these newborns. In 2012, annual costs related to NAS admissions in the United States totaled $316 million. Many types of drugs or substances contribute to the severity of an infant’s withdrawal symptoms, but in-utero exposure to opioids is often considered the primary cause of NAS, also referred to as neonatal opioid withdrawal symptom (NOWS). Providing active neonatal care through nonpharmacologic interventions allows for parental bonding, promotes consistent breastfeeding, and results in improved outcomes, such as decreased length of stay, and reduced hospital costs. Read More »

Evidence-Based Home Visiting Models Promote Early Brain Development in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities

July 26, 2018|11:35 a.m.| Community Health and Prevention Team

A child’s earliest experiences influence the brain’s developing architecture. Exposure to adversity during the early years can lead to long-term, negative outcomes later in life. Nurturing environments and strong caregiver-child relationships can buffer the consequences of poor early brain development stemming from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress. Home visiting programs promote early childhood health and development by fostering these positive, interactive relationships which can go a long way toward both preventing child abuse and neglect and supporting early learning and school readiness. Although genetics and the environment are factors in determining a child’s health and developmental outcomes, strengthening the capacity of parents and caregivers to provide appropriate care and support is fundamental to helping children thrive and achieve lifelong health and wellness. Read More »

State Approaches to Community Health Worker Certification

July 12, 2018|4:57 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

A community health worker (CHW) is defined as “a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served.” CHWs typically share the lived experience of members of their communities. With a growing body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of CHWs, policymakers continue to explore ways to leverage the role of CHWs for improving health and wellbeing in the states and other jurisdictions. Some of these policy decisions focus on issues of reimbursement and funding for CHWs, as well as the scope of practice for CHWs. Another key policy issue for CHWs that continues to evolve is certification. Certification programs are often used to standardize the education and training requirements for a profession. However, such programs may also present a barrier if the certification requirements are too costly, time-consuming, or onerous for those seeking to join the profession. Below is a brief summary of how two states, Arizona and Maryland, addressed CHW certification during this past legislative session. Read More »

Keys to Addressing Maternal Mortality at the State Level: Consistency, Collaboration, and Data

December 12, 2017|5:25 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Despite an overall worldwide decline of 44 percent since 1990, pregnancy-related deaths have increased steadily in the United States. CDC estimates that over 700 women die each year due to pregnancy or delivery complications. The rate of severe maternal morbidity (SMM), an unexpected outcome to labor and delivery that results in significant short or long term consequences to a woman’s health, increased nearly 200 percent from 1994 to 2014. To address the increase in maternal mortality, states are focusing efforts on increasing consistency in care, fostering coordination and collaboration, and improving data systems. Fourteen states and CNMI are implementing maternal safety bundles through enrollment in the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM). Thirty-three states have established maternal mortality review processes and several states have developed policies and practices intended to reduce to maternal morbidity and mortality. ASTHO affirms that reducing preventable maternal morbidity and mortality will improve both maternal and infant health outcomes and is crucial for the promotion of health. Read More »

Louisiana Continues to Grow Its Well-Ahead Program

June 24, 2015|9:10 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

The state's wellness program encourages businesses, schools, hospitals, and other organizations to create spaces that promote the health and wellness of Louisianans. Read More »

New CDC Web Resource Puts Community Health Improvement Tools at Your Fingertips

June 09, 2015|2:30 p.m.| Megan Miller

The CDC has created a set of tools to help with the collaborative process for community health improvement. Read More »

U.S. Lowers Recommended Fluoride Levels in Drinking Water

April 28, 2015|4:28 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

HHS has issued new recommendations for fluoride levels in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. Read More »

State Health Departments Reach Out to Young and Old in Celebration of National Public Health Week

April 07, 2015|4:51 p.m.| Virgie Townsend

It’s National Public Health Week, which runs from April 6 to April 12, and state health departments are celebrating by connecting with their constituents to promote this year’s theme "Healthiest Nation 2030.". Read More »

Newly-Released County Health Rankings Compare Healthiest Counties

March 25, 2015|5:27 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

The 2015 County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, find the healthiest counties within states have higher college attendance, fewer preventable hospital stays, fewer sexually transmitted infections, and better access to parks and gyms. Read More »

Rhode Island Department of Health Creates Health Equity Zones to Reduce Disparities

March 12, 2015|3:21 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Rhode Island aims to increase health equity in the state via targeted social and environmental improvements. Read More »

Maryland Fights Health Disparities Using Health Enterprise Zones

February 26, 2015|3:17 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Maryland ranks as the state with the highest median household income, has several medical schools, and has the fifth lowest smoking rate. However, health disparities have persisted in the state, so Maryland launched the Health Enterprise Zones Initiative. Read More »

The System Is Rigged and Nobody Wins: A Call for Integration

February 18, 2015|11:56 a.m.| Scott Briscoe

Ohio Medicaid Medical Director Mary Applegate gives an IOM session describing flaws of the current health system design in which primary care does not integrate with public health. Read More »

California Takes Aim to Help Those Struggling with Problem Gambling

February 02, 2015|1:44 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

California Department of Public Health launches program that gives several different pathways for problem gamblers and affected family members to find help. Read More »

Health Literacy in America Remains an Issue

November 24, 2014|9:36 a.m.| Jane Esworthy

Health literacy remains a major issue in the United States, resulting in increased rates of hospitalization and emergency care use. Low health literacy particularly affects older adults, minority populations, medically underserved individuals, and low-income communities. Read More »

Hunger in America May Be Declining

November 13, 2014|11:30 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

It took almost seven years, but the number of Americans who report that they did not have enough money to buy food for themselves or their families in the last 12 months has fallen below the levels caused by the last recession. Read More »

Alaska Uses Health Education Curriculum to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships

November 12, 2014|2:07 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has been using the Fourth R health education curriculum to promote healthy teen relationships and prevent disease in the state. Read More »

Hawaii Wellness Standards Promote Health in Schools

October 23, 2014|11:33 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

To improve the health of young people, Hawaii has made a commitment to strongly support healthy environments in its public schools. Read More »

ASTHO Challenges States to Maximize Wellness of Older Americans

October 07, 2014|2:06 p.m.| Jane Esworthy

Families across America are confronting the question, “How will we care for mom and dad?” Connecticut Health Commissioner and ASTHO President Jewel Mullen wants to address this problem by helping adults live and age well in their communities. Read More »