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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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  • Braiding and Layering Funding to Address Supportive Housing

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the intersections of social determinants of health, such as transportation, education, and housing, and their impact on the health of individuals and communities. As the moratorium on evictions ends in many parts of the United States, housing in particular looms as a potential public health crisis. Research has found that stable, affordable, and accessible housing has a direct and well-documented impact on physical and mental health outcomes, leading many public health professionals to raise the alarm that the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges surrounding housing—which may become more critical in the coming months. Braiding and layering funding is when government agencies and non-traditional partners collaborate and coordinate to combine different streams of funding to address social determinants of health. This post lists three examples where funding has been successfully braided or layered to support housing needs.

  • Youth Sports as a Protective Factor to Promote Resiliency

    Every year in mid-July is National Youth Sports Week—in 2021 it falls on July 19-23. It’s an important health observance because youth sports create strong connections with peers and caring adults, as well as promote socio-emotional skills and positive well-being. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s National Youth Sports Strategy outlines policies and strategies that support access to youth sports. NYSS Champions, including ASTHO, work to promote participation and recognize the positive health outcomes sports can have on youth, such as limiting the impacts of adverse childhood experiences and building resiliency.

  • How States are Using Policy to Reduce Maternal Mortality and Morbidity

    Approximately 700 women die annually in the U.S. between 2007-2016 as a result of pregnancy or its complications, according to CDC data. This is one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world. On top of that, there are stark disparities along racial lines, with Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women having higher rates of pregnancy-related deaths compared to white women.