Featured Story

FeaturedStory

November 15 is the Great American Smokeout, an event that the American Cancer Society has hosted for over 40 years every third Thursday of November. It began in the 1970s when smoking and secondhand smoke were more common and has since helped dramatically change Americans’ attitudes about tobacco. In the wake of new data that shows cigarette smoking among adults is at an all-time low, this year’s observance is an opportunity to both reflect on a major public health success story and look ahead at new policy and systems change strategies to reduce the harmful health effects of all tobacco products on the market. Read More »

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State Legislation Supporting Increased Breastfeeding Duration

January 17, 2019|12:03 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Breastfeeding is known to have health benefits for both mothers and babies, including reduced risks of asthma and obesity for babies and a lower risk of high blood pressure and breast cancer for mothers. Unfortunately, barriers such as a lack of support from a woman’s partner, family, hospital, or worksite, can make it difficult for some women to breastfeed through their baby’s first year. Read More »

The Vital Role of State Primary Care Offices: Ensuring Access to Quality Care

January 10, 2019|3:06 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Ensuring access to competent primary care is an essential function of state and territorial health agencies. Research findings indicate that access to regular primary care is associated with higher rates of receiving preventive care and lower rates of preventable emergency department visits. To improve access to primary care in their jurisdiction, state and territorial health officials rely on their state primary care offices (PCO) to coordinate and execute this systems-level work. Read More »

New Year, New Call to Action

January 10, 2019|10:53 a.m.| Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH | ASTHO chief medical officer

The recent release of the second edition of the "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans" is timely. A goal to be more physically fit is a common New Year’s resolution. Given the increasing evidence cited in the report for both the immediate and long-term impact of physical activity on the public’s health, the guidelines are an opportunity for state and territorial health departments to examine and revise their efforts to increase participation in physical activity across the nation. Read More »

2018 Public Health Law and Policy Review

January 03, 2019|10:47 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

States addressed several public health issues last year, including opioids, immunizations, tobacco, and injury prevention. Before the 2019 state legislative sessions kick into high gear, here’s a quick look at some of the public health law and policy activities from 2018. Read More »

ASTHO’s Year in Review: Organizational Successes and Outlook for 2019

December 20, 2018|10:28 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

With 2018 coming to a close and a new year around the corner, ASTHO asked members of its leadership team to reflect on successes from the past year and share what they hope to accomplish next. Here is what they had to say. Read More »

Leadership in Performance Management and Quality Improvement

December 20, 2018|10:16 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

ASTHO spoke with Susan Ramsey, business owner and managing consultant of Pearls of Wisdom Consulting, based in Olympia, WA. Her background includes more than 25 years in public service for the state of Washington, where she served as the director for the office of performance and accountability at the Washington State Department of Health. Below Ramsey describes what she has learned over the course of her career, what it takes to implement effective PM/QI initiatives, and how public health leaders can enhance their impact in this field. Read More »

Medicaid Policy: 2018 in Review

December 19, 2018|4:01 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Medicaid policies at both the federal and state levels continued to evolve in 2018, with an increasing federal emphasis on state flexibility and budget neutrality for demonstration waivers as well as a wider uptake of Medicaid expansion among the states. States are also pursuing new policies related to community engagement and improving access to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Presented below are several key takeaways and insights concerning Medicaid policies in 2018. Read More »

ASTHO Member Spotlight: Norman Oliver

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

Norman Oliver, MD, MA, is state health commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). Prior to this, Oliver served as the department’s deputy commissioner for population health. Oliver was previously the Walter M. Seward Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. As state health commissioner, Oliver is committed to a cross-agency and multi-sector approach to implementing population health initiatives, with a long record of accomplishments in research and community health work related to health disparities. Read More »

State Legislation to Improve Flu Vaccination Rates

December 12, 2018|3:27 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Last week, CDC celebrated National Influenza Vaccination Week to bring awareness to the importance of the flu vaccine. CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six months, unless advised otherwise by their healthcare provider, get an annual flu vaccine. Getting the flu vaccine not only reduces the risks of getting the flu but also lowers the risk of hospitalization and missing school or work and helps to protect those at the greatest risk of suffering flu-related complications, such as young children, older adults, and pregnant women. Read More »

The Intersection of Health and Housing: CMS’s Potential Medicaid Investments

December 06, 2018|10:03 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Emerging evidence indicates that affordable, safe, and stable housing directly impacts an individual’s health and wellbeing, including the ability to manage chronic diseases and mental conditions, maintain personal hygiene, access education and employment, and build healthy relationships. Individuals experiencing homelessness face illness at three to six times the rate of housed individuals and are three to four times more likely to prematurely die than the general population. Furthermore, conditions like asthma can be exacerbated by poorly maintained housing conditions, and neighborhood conditions can inhibit an individual’s ability to support a healthy lifestyle. Read More »

State Legislation Addressing Antibiotic Resistance

November 29, 2018|11:17 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Earlier this month, the public health community participated in World Antibiotic Awareness Week, aimed at increasing awareness of antibiotic resistance and encouraging best practices among the public, health workers, and policy makers. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria or fungi change in response to the use of medicines and develop the ability to defeat the drugs meant to kill them. Bacteria, not humans, become antibiotic resistant. These resistant bacteria then infect humans, often requiring extended hospital stays, doctor visits, and costly and toxic treatment alternatives. According to the CDC, at least two million people each year in the United States will get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die. Read More »

Leadership Conversation with ChangeLab Solutions Founder and CEO Marice Ashe

November 29, 2018|10:45 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Marice Ashe is founder and CEO of ChangeLab Solutions. ASTHO spoke with Ashe about her advice for states and territories working to build healthier, more resilient communities to advance health equity. Read More »

ASTHO Thanks the Public Health Community

November 19, 2018|1:28 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

ASTHO is celebrating Public Health Thank You Day by thanking all state and territorial public health professionals for their tireless work and service in helping to protect and improve the nation’s health. This year, ASTHO’s president and members of the board of directors reflect on what they are most thankful for as public health leaders and offer a “thank you” message to some of their own personal mentors. Read More »

The Right Track: ASTHO’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Fellowship

November 19, 2018|12:48 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

From the air we breathe to the water we drink, our health is directly impacted by the health of our environment. But how many of us have considered the possible threat of Radon, the potentially poisonous gas, seeping into our newly acquired dream home? Or how to make time-sensitive decisions about protecting our family’s health during a wildfire smoke event? Fortunately, CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Program is working around the clock, focusing their state-based efforts on protecting people from these and other possible health threats. Read More »

As Cottage Food Production Increases, States Balance Economic Benefits and Food Safety

November 19, 2018|10:14 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Over the past few years, local and small-scale food production has increased in the United States. As of August 2018, there were 8,720 farmers markets listed in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, a seven percent increase since 2013. With the recent growth in demand for local foods and the increased availability of venues to purchase these foods, individuals are producing and selling more food and beverages made in home kitchens, commonly referred to as cottage foods. State and local health agencies are often responsible for enforcing food safety laws and regulating food production. By licensing and monitoring food production, health agencies are in a position to prevent, reduce, and mitigate outbreaks of foodborne illness. Read More »

Approaches for Improving Oral Health Outcomes for Low Income Americans

November 15, 2018|5:10 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Poor oral health is considered a health disparity for low-income children and adults; it has significant impacts on the overall health and well-being especially for those who are vulnerable. Dental illnesses significantly increase the risk of chronic health conditions, may result in missed days of work and school, negatively affect employability, and increase use of expensive acute care. States can utilize a variety of approaches to mitigate this issue for low income Americans. Read More »

Rural-Proofing: A Conversation with North Dakota’s Mylynn Tufte on National Rural Health Day

November 14, 2018|5:42 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Mylynn Tufte is state health officer of the North Dakota Department of Health. Tufte has more than 20 years of experience in the health industry, serving in a strategic and health advisory role to some of the largest payers and providers in the country. In recognition of this year’s National Rural Health Day, ASTHO spoke with Tufte about the unique challenges faced by rural communities, steps North Dakota is taking to address disparities and improve health outcomes in the state, and how the 2019 ASTHO President’s Challenge, “Building Healthy and Resilient Communities,” aligns with these activities. Read More »

2018 Midterm Election: Impacts on Public Health Priorities

November 08, 2018|1:30 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

With the Democrats in the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Republicans maintaining control of the U.S. Senate for the next two years, ASTHO anticipates these changes will have an impact on public health, including the federal budget, oversight, ACA, and the potential for gridlock in Washington, D.C. Read More »

To Combat the Childhood Obesity Epidemic, States and Territories Leverage School Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies

November 01, 2018|4:43 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Earlier this month, ASTHO released “Preventing Childhood Obesity Through Healthy Communities,” a new episode in its Public Health Review podcast series. The episode, featuring leaders from CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity and the Tennessee Department of Health, highlights the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic and discusses ways to reduce climbing obesity rates by increasing access to healthy foods and promoting physical activity. Read More »

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