ASTHO's briefs are short 1- to 2-page reports or infographics that provide a summary of key topics, programs, policies, or research findings of importance and interest to state and territorial health officials and partners.

The Role of Syringe Services Programs in New Mexico’s Opioid Crisis Response

May 05, 2021

This brief describes how the New Mexico Department of Health has enhanced its harm reduction program to provide an evidence-based comprehensive care model to support the health of people who use drugs. New Mexico’s success in leveraging partnerships to reduce substance-related harm and enhance wellness can serve as a model to other state and local jurisdictions looking to take a more holistic approach to their harm reduction programs.Read More »

Evidence-Informed Substance Use Disorder Policies for Maternal and Child Populations

April 05, 2021

The unintended consequences of substance use disorder policies can be significant for women and families impacted by substance use disorders (SUD). Policies such as mandatory minimum sentencing and prosecution of low-level substance use offenses have led to soaring imprisonment rates, especially for Black and Latina populations. This brief discusses the gendered and racialized impacts of substance use and child maltreatment policies and offers four considerations to policymakers as they look to create effective, meaningful policy to improve outcomes for women and families impacted by SUD.Read More »

Adverse Childhood Experiences: The Case for Funding Primary Prevention

March 26, 2021

States and territories can reduce adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) through evidence-based primary prevention strategies designed to reduce risk factors. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the health disparities and gaps in ACEs prevention. This brief overviews maltreatment prevention programs that mitigate ACEs while offering a positive return on investment. Highlighted strategies include building parent management skills, improving parent-child relationships, and increasing child health and development knowledge. State and territorial health agencies should review these programs to address and prevent ACEs during and after the pandemic.Read More »

Adverse Childhood Experiences in States and Territories Infographic Three: A Look at ACEs Prevention Strengths—Partnerships

January 21, 2021

Cross-sector collaboration is critical to successfully preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Because the impact of ACEs have societal implications and can potentially affect chronic/behavioral illnesses, everyone has a role in preventing ACEs. This infographic details how state and territorial health agencies utilize partnerships to increase ACEs prevention capacity. Health agencies should review internal and external partnerships and strategic plans to understand roles and responsibilities and reveal opportunities to strengthen collaborative efforts.Read More »

Adverse Childhood Experiences in States and Territories Infographic Two: A Look at Areas of Improvement for ACEs Prevention—Health Equity and ACEs Disparities Data

January 21, 2021

State and territorial health agencies report varying levels of capacity to prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) across populations. Unfortunately, a higher ACE burden is experienced by foster care children, justice-involved communities, and communities experiencing poverty and concentrated violence. This infographic details how state and territorial health agencies have opportunities to improve selected partnerships to impact health equity. By strengthening collaboration with justice systems through transformational approaches grounded in reciprocity, S/THAs can improve health equity and reduce ACEs disparities.Read More »

Adverse Childhood Experiences in States and Territories Infographic One: A Look at Primary Prevention Priorities

January 21, 2021

State and territorial health agencies can prevent many chronic illnesses and behavioral health issues by preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This infographic details how agencies prioritize primary prevention strategies that stop ACEs from occurring in the first place. By promoting programs with larger societal impact, such as policies that strengthen family economic supports, agencies can have a more considerable influence in preventing ACEs.Read More »

Exploring Innovations in GIS and Visualization for Healthier Communities

November 23, 2020

This brief details innovative uses of geographic information systems (GIS) in public health. It showcases original research conducted by ASTHO staff to better understand the value of GIS in mapping national public health emergencies—like the COVID-19 pandemic—and highlights how public health practice can be strengthened by linking environmental health and healthcare data.Read More »

Advancing Breastfeeding During a Pandemic

November 20, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for breastfeeding families and state breastfeeding initiatives. This brief discusses these challenges and how states in ASTHO’s Breastfeeding Learning Community are overcoming COVID-19 challenges and continuing their efforts to make policies, systems, and environments more breastfeeding-friendly. Strategies include utilizing online training for lactation support staff, holding virtual focus groups, removing financial barriers to program participation, and educating employers on how improving lactation accommodations supports the COVID-19 response.Read More »

Virtual Food Safety Inspections During the COVID-19 Pandemic

October 29, 2020

Beginning in March 2020, the rapid implementation of COVID-19 social distancing and stay-at-home orders required many food establishments to adopt takeout and/or food delivery models. To ensure that establishments were abiding by food safety rules and to protect the health of professionals who inspect these facilities, multiple state health agencies implemented virtual inspection protocols. This brief overviews virtual protocols from Hawaii, Virginia, and South Carolina to provide other state and territorial health agencies examples of how these inspections are performed.Read More »

Postpartum Depression: Expanding Screening Practices to Improve Outcomes

September 25, 2020

This brief describes why expanded postpartum depression screening and coverage are necessary for improving health outcomes and reducing disparities for both mother and child. The brief then offers three collaboratie strategies for how state health departments can build strong cross-sector programs with providers and systems that expand access to and practice of depression screening.Read More »

The Impact of COVID-19 Telehealth Flexibilities on Maternity Care

September 02, 2020

This brief focuses on how telehealth expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased access to care for pregnant and postpartum women, and made maternal and child health care services like doulas and midwives more accessible. The brief also discusses how the maternal and child health workforce is leveraging telehealth to provide virtual services to underserved communities to potentially reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes.Read More »

Fighting Compassion Fatigue During Public Health Epidemics

August 13, 2020

This brief discusses the difficulty of maintaining compassion and empathy during public health crises such, which ultimately leads to a phenomenon called compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue can test resiliency in responders and contribute to negative outcomes for those they serve. Through promoting self-care and compassion in health agencies, responders can increase resiliency and combat the negative effects of compassion fatigue, particularly during extended responses to public health crises.Read More »

The Role of Peer Support in Federally Qualified Health Centers

August 13, 2020

Peer support is increasingly recognized as a critical component of successful recovery from substance use disorder. This brief discusses what peer support is, how it is financed, and how incorporating peer support services into federally qualified health centers can be an especially successful strategy for delivering care to safety-net populations. Examples from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, and Massachusetts are highlighted.Read More »

The Rise of Primary Care Transformation: State and Territorial Primary Care Offices Play A Key Role

July 30, 2020

This brief discusses the roles state primary care offices (PCOs) have in addressing primary care transformation. PCOs uncover critical primary and preventive needs affecting their states/territories and recognize key target populations at risk for limited healthcare access. Through transformational practices like primary care integration, workforce development, and partnership opportunities, PCOs can increase access to care and improve health outcomes for states. We describe key findings from the ASTHO primary care intensive learning community, highlighting PCO examples from North Dakota, Maryland, and Florida.Read More »

Georgia and Ohio’s Modernized Opioid Surveillance Strategies

July 24, 2020

This brief highlights how the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Ohio Department of Health developed robust opioid overdose surveillance systems. Collecting and disseminating comprehensive data informs prevention activities and drives a targeted response to the opioid epidemic. Georgia and Ohio enhanced their opioid overdose surveillance systems by building partnerships, linking data, and improving data collection methods.Read More »

Performance Management Essentials

July 24, 2020

Sustaining a performance management system is key to its success. A strong performance management system can help transform an agency’s practice so it is aligned, data driven, and focused on achieving improved outcomes for the population. This brief highlights four top takeaways from the experience of six public health agencies working to establish and strengthen their own performance management systems.Read More »

Breastfeeding Promotes Early Brain Development

June 22, 2020

Breastfeeding and early child nutrition are crucial for promoting healthy early brain development. This infographic details how skin-to-skin breastfeeding and breastmilk promote infant brain development, higher educational performance, and cognitive and socio-emotional health. Also included are examples of equity-focused state and national initiatives to promote breastfeeding and early brain development.Read More »

Breastfeeding Support Through Perinatal Quality Collaboratives

June 16, 2020

Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (PQCs) are state or multi-state networks of teams that work to improve clinical care for mothers and infants, primarily by identifying healthcare processes that need improvement and rapidly aligning to enact change. This infographic outlines recommendations for how PQCs can promote breastfeeding through quality improvement strategies, and includes examples of three state PQCs that have improved policies, procedures, and practices to better support breastfeeding in hospitals.Read More »

Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Initiatives in Three USAPI Jurisdictions

June 01, 2020

Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in Guam, Palau, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These jurisdictions are taking innovative steps to reduce hypertension among their populations, though, with strategies focused on holistic, affordable, community-centered programs. This brief outlines these approaches and includes recommendations for other jurisdictions facing similar difficulties and limitations.Read More »

Medication-Assisted Treatment in Pregnancy

April 30, 2020

Pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder continue to struggle with accessing services that would make recovery possible, including medication-assisted treatment, housing assistance, childcare, and more. To address this vulnerable population’s needs, states have explored a variety of policy approaches to improve access to care. This brief outlines some of the barriers that pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder face, as well as examples of state legislation passed to address recovery program implementation, treatment funding and insurance coverage, and provider education.Read More »

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