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ASTHO President's Challenge Initiatives

A yearly initiative of ASTHO to improve population health through the work of state public health agencies.


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  • States Ensure Safe and Accessible Elections During COVID-19

    In 1965, while signing the Voting Rights Act into law, President Lyndon B. Johnson stated that “a man without a vote is a man without protection.” However, voting is a bit more complicated this year as it can increase the chance of COVID-19 exposure and spread of infection. However, the COVID-19 pandemic should not prevent registered voters from being able to cast their votes in the upcoming election. In an election year, it is important that state and territorial health agencies and their legislative and executive counterparts provide different forms of protection as citizens exercise their right to vote this November.

  • Transformational Leadership: A Vaccine for Rural Healthcare Delivery

    During the early spread of COVID-19, the National Rural Health Association senior vice president Brock Slabach stated: “Before the pandemic, rural hospitals were struggling for survival. COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the fractures that already existed within rural communities in terms of their healthcare delivery.” These fractures also exposed the desperate need for ethical transformational leadership within rural healthcare delivery systems. The time to build these capacities is now.

  • Promoting Health Equity Through State Orders for COVID-19 Testing

    In order to contain and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread, rapid testing is key. Rampant and efficient testing determines who has the virus and who may be at risk of transmitting it, and allows for effective management of isolation and quarantine activities for the infected or exposed. While testing has increased over the past months across the country—by mid-July the number of tests reached between 700,000 to 800,000 per day, double the number of daily tests performed in May. However, that number is still well below the estimated 1.2 million daily tests needed to contain the outbreak and 4.3 million tests per day that would suppress the virus.