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FeaturedStory

Overdose fatality reviews allow states to examine and understand the circumstances surrounding fatal drug overdoses. Review teams can uncover the individual and population factors and characteristics of potential overdose victims. Knowing the who, what, when, where, and how of fatal overdoses provides a better sense of the strategies and coordination needed to prevent future overdoses.Read More »

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As E-Cigarette Popularity Rises, State Legislatures Look to Curb their Appeal with Price Increases

September 20, 2018|4:14 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use by youth is a growing concern among state and federal policymakers and a public health issue that FDA claims has “hit epidemic proportions.” On Sept. 12, FDA took historic action against more than 1,300 retailers and five major manufacturers for enabling youth access to e-cigarette products through illegal sales and false marketing. Read More »

Connecting Public Health and Philanthropy: A Conversation with Judy Monroe

September 20, 2018|1:52 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Judy Monroe (alumna-IN) is president and CEO of CDC Foundation. A former CDC deputy director and director of the Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (CSTLTS), Monroe also previously served as Indiana’s state health commissioner and president of ASTHO. In 2017, ASTHO opened a regional office in CDC Foundation’s headquarters in Atlanta. With this in mind, ASTHO spoke to Monroe about her past experience, the foundation and its relationship with CDC, and opportunities for collaboration between ASTHO and CDC Foundation. Read More »

Why Medicaid is Important to Advance Maternal Health in the United States

September 13, 2018|9:39 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country in the world and the rate is climbing higher each year. On average, between 700 and 900 American women die each year (and 65,000 nearly die) from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. Moreover, there are pronounced racial and geographic disparities in the U.S. maternal mortality rate. Black women die from pregnancy-related causes at three to four times the rate of white women, even after controlling for socioeconomic factors. Women in rural areas also have higher maternal mortality rates than those of their urban counterparts. Read More »

APHL's Scott Becker Explains How NewSTEPs 360 is Promoting Innovation in Newborn Screening

September 12, 2018|5:13 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Newborn Screening Awareness Month takes place every September to remind new and expecting parents, healthcare professionals, and the public about the importance of newborn screening to test babies for certain diseases and conditions before the symptoms even appear. This includes blood testing, hearing screening, and pulse oximetry. Throughout the month, public health and newborn screening communities rally around the principle that all babies deserve a healthy start. Ahead of this year’s observance, Scott Becker, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), discusses initiatives and collaborations to help improve newborn screening, as well as the work ASTHO is doing to promote this vital work among state and territorial public health leaders. Read More »

ASTHO CMO Offers Solutions Following CDC Report Warning of Rising Heart Disease Burden

September 06, 2018|3:24 p.m.| Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH

On Sept. 6, CDC released a Vital Signs report detailing state-specific data on emergency department visits, hospitalizations, medical costs, and deaths associated with heart disease and stroke. Particularly concerning is the significant burden of heart disease among those aged 35-64, which account for one-third of reported cardiovascular events. Read More »

State Activity Addressing PFAS Exposure

September 06, 2018|2:23 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Over the past couple of years, rising health concerns related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have resulted in state policymakers taking action to reduce, monitor, and regulate PFAS exposure. For example, Michigan’s efforts to test all of the state’s water systems for PFAS revealed alarming levels of PFAS in the drinking water of one township and led to a declared state emergency. Read More »

New Mexico Implements and Expands Physical Activity Programs in Rural Communities

September 05, 2018|3:23 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Since 1995, the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center (UNM-PRC) has been working in partnership with underrepresented and under-resourced rural communities to improve health outcomes, education, and quality of life. In 2007, UNM-PRC partnered with Cuba, New Mexico, a rural-frontier, tri-ethnic community, to successfully implement evidence-based physical activity programs. Since then, UNM-PRC has scaled this program model to 31 other rural communities in New Mexico. Read More »

Larry Sabato on the Politics of Public Health

August 30, 2018|12:16 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

In a year filled with politics, primaries, polls, and elections, everyone turns to longtime political analyst and veteran election prognosticator Larry Sabato. A Rhodes Scholar and author of more than twenty books on political analysis and history, Sabato is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, founder and director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, and creator of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a free newsletter and must-read for all political junkies. Read More »

State Action to Stem Rising Prescription Drug Costs

August 30, 2018|11:52 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

The high cost of prescription drugs is a persistent problem in the United States, with about 10 percent of overall health spending attributed to prescription drugs. In recent years, there has been increased interest among states to address the rising cost of prescription drugs. Just this year, 24 states passed 37 bills to stem rising drug costs. In total, state legislatures have introduced 160 bills targeting prescription drug costs in 2018. Read More »

Leadership Defines A Legacy: State Approaches to Health Equity

August 16, 2018|10:36 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

On Aug. 6, the world mourned the death of Margaret Heckler, the former HHS secretary under President Ronald Reagan who worked to prioritize health disparities and social determinants of health. In 1985, Heckler commissioned the landmark Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health. Now commonly known as the Heckler report, this assessment highlighted the disproportionate burden of death and illness impacting racial and ethnic minorities and initiated a taskforce to improve the health of minorities and eliminate health disparities, the first of its kind by the federal government. Read More »

State Policy Approaches to Incorporating Doula Services into Maternal Care

August 09, 2018|3:59 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Maternal mortality rates in the United States continue to rise, with ethnic and racial minority populations facing even starker statistics. Policymakers are pursuing a variety of approaches to improve perinatal and postnatal care to support healthy and safe pregnancies, including expanding access to doula services. A doula is a trained professional that provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support during and shortly after childbirth. Through this continuous support system, doulas positively impact both mothers and babies, as well as help families achieve a healthy and positive birthing experience. For women at-risk for adverse birth outcomes because of racial disparities, doula care can provide positive benefits and improve factors that mediate mortality, including decreasing cesarean births, operative vaginal births, use of analgesics, and duration of labor. Read More »

Affordable Care Act Update

August 02, 2018|5:33 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

While state public health agencies recognize that much of what contributes to health lies outside the doctor’s office, there is evidence demonstrating that stable and ongoing insurance coverage enables consumers to utilize preventive and primary care services that improve outcomes and downstream healthcare spending. Changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that have occurred over the past several years are likely to impact market stability and insurance coverage, as well as actions states are pursuing, given uncertainty around the future of ACA. Read More »

Arkansas Health Official Offers Ideas for Improving Immunization Efforts

August 01, 2018|1:50 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Every August, the National Public Health Information Coalition and CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases sponsor National Immunization Awareness Month to highlight the importance of vaccination in preventing diseases across the lifespan. To kick off this month’s observance, ASTHO spoke with Nathaniel Smith, director and state health officer of the Arkansas Department of Health, about his experience serving on several national advisory committees, how health officials can communicate about the benefits of vaccines, and opportunities for public health and healthcare partners to prioritize HPV vaccination as an effective cancer prevention measure. Read More »

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 »

Health Departments are Key to Eliminating Hepatitis in the United States

July 26, 2018|4:07 p.m.| Murray Penner, Executive Director, NASTAD (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors)

World Hepatitis Day takes place every year on July 28 to raise awareness around hepatitis and opportunities to eliminate this disease. Despite significant strides in prevention and treatment, hepatitis remains one of the biggest global health threats. Ahead of this year’s observance, Murray Penner, executive director of NASTAD, reflects on what it will take to end this global epidemic and the critical role public health plays in accomplishing this important work. Read More »

2018 Sepsis Legislative Update

July 26, 2018|11:49 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Sepsis occurs when a body’s immune system overwhelmingly responds to an infection and triggers widespread inflammation. The inflammation leads to blood clots and leaky vessels which can result in organ damage and death. Sepsis can be caused by a wide range of infections, but those most commonly linked to sepsis are infections found in the lungs, kidneys, skin, and gut. Sepsis can also result from a range of pathogens. Most commonly, however, the specific pathogen is not identified in 30 to 70 percent of patients with sepsis. In addition, sepsis occurs in patients across the lifespan, most commonly in those over 65 and under the age of one. Sepsis is a dangerous and often lethal condition, claiming a quarter million American lives annually, as well as a significant driver of healthcare costs. It is the most expensive hospital condition to treat, accounting for more than $23 billion dollars in healthcare costs annually. In addition, with a growing chronic disease burden that places patients at a greater risk of infections that can lead to sepsis, effective and comprehensive strategies to address sepsis are critical. 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 »

Using Predictive Analytics for Population Health Management and Public Health Emergencies: Ethical, Legal, and Policy Considerations

July 19, 2018|12:43 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Predicting the future with data analytics and technology is quickly becoming a reality for making better sense of public health data to inform interventions that will improve the population’s health. As the field of public health informatics continues to evolve its capacity for predictive analytics, ethical and legal challenges remain in terms of maintaining privacy and developing sound policies and infrastructure to support data usage, data sharing, and standardized practices. Read More »

Colorado Looks to Educate Youth About the Public Health Consequences of JUUL

July 19, 2018|11:32 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Colorado is in the midst of a challenging time addressing the e-cigarette and vaping epidemic among youth. Most popular among these products is the JUUL e-cigarette, a sleek, trendy, USB-shaped device created by JUUL Labs. Recently ranked the top state in the nation for high school vaping by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, Colorado is taking swift and decisive action to reverse these trends. Read More »

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