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.

10 Essential Questions for Disability Inclusion in Health Agencies

November 23, 2021

Neglecting to include people with disabilities in public health planning creates barriers that can lead to the exacerbation of health disparities. This infographic serves as a tool to foster conversations in health agencies around planning programs, policies, and activities to better serve individuals with disabilities.Read More »

Leveraging the HHS emPOWER Program to Enhance Power Outage Planning

November 17, 2021

The emPOWER program provides federal data, mapping, and artificial intelligence tools, as well as training and resources, to help communities nationwide protect the health of at-risk Medicare beneficiaries who live independently and rely on electric-powered medical devices or receive certain medical services, such as outpatient dialysis, home-based oxygen service, hospice care or other types of home care medical support.Read More »

When the Power Fails: Helping Life-Support Equipment Users

November 17, 2021

People who use electricity-dependent durable medical equipment (DME) at home—such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators—can face life-threatening consequences during a power outage. HHS reports that 2.7 million Medicare beneficiaries rely on electricity-dependent DME to live independently. This ASTHOBrief details the significant challenges that individuals who rely on electricity-dependent DME face during power outages and discuss recent efforts to increase support for this population.Read More »

Using Lessons from the COVID-19 Response to Inform Telehealth Activities

November 10, 2021

Health providers have widely used telehealth to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 infection and to improve access to healthcare services thanks in large part to policy changes and regulations. This brief explores how state and territorial health agencies (S/THAs) are responding to COVID-19 through telehealth policy and operational changes, as well as how telehealth has quickly emerged as a tool to improve health equity.Read More »

Community Partners Offer Key Insights to Health Departments for Increasing Vaccine Confidence

October 28, 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine hesitancy has increased because of misinformation and disinformation spreading across social and traditional media platforms, targeting vulnerable and underserved communities, and further stalling vaccine uptake. ASTHO hosted representatives from faith- and community-based organizations, universities and colleges, healthcare systems, and other stakeholder groups to discuss the drivers of misinformation and disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how public health can move forward to address vaccine hesitancy.Read More »

Preventing Overdose and Suicide Through Housing Reform

October 27, 2021

Evidence suggests that access to healthy, safe, and affordable housing is connected to preventing suicide and overdose, with state and federal programs supporting access to housing for people with low incomes, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness. This brief provides an overview of policies to increase housing opportunities for people experiencing homelessness, substance use disorder, and/or mental illness during the 2021 state legislative sessions.Read More »

Reducing Vaccine Hesitancy for People Living With Disabilities

October 19, 2021

ASTHO, in collaboration with CDC, provided full-time disability and preparedness specialists to 17 jurisdictions to better meet the needs of people with disabilities. In this brief, specialists share their thoughts on why people living with disabilities may be hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine and some approaches public health officials can take to address vaccine hesitancy in people living with disabilities.Read More »

Reducing Forensic Pathologist Shortages: Visas

October 06, 2021

A recent surge in overdose deaths combined with the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic has translated into larger case volumes for medical examiner and coroner systems. States continue to struggle with growing, recruiting, and retaining board-certified forensic pathologists, resulting in a constricted workforce pipeline. This brief spotlights the critical role that international medical graduates play in minimizing forensic pathology workforce shortages, highlights some of the bottlenecks and limitations of the visa process, and examines considerations for state partners looking to harness the talent of these essential specialists.Read More »

Reducing Forensic Pathologist Shortages: Funding

October 06, 2021

Board-certified forensic pathologists play a critical role in public health by investigating death so as to better serve the living. Despite forensic pathology’s contribution to public health surveillance, prevention, and response, the discipline remains largely under-resourced. This brief spotlights a local effort to address financial disincentives for medical graduates entering the field and highlights federal funding opportunities and resources for state partners looking to minimize forensic pathology workforce shortages.Read More »

How Health Departments Can Work With Schools to Improve K-12 Contact Tracing Programs

October 05, 2021

Developing and implementing contact tracing programs in K-12 schools presents a crucial opportunity for both health department and school leaders to keep students healthy, and schools open. This brief shares considerations for health departments working with schools to develop and implement contact tracing programs.Read More »

Summarizing CDC Guidance to Support COVID-19 Contact Tracing in K-12 Schools

October 05, 2021

As schools work to stay open for in-person learning, it is essential to understand key recommendations related to COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools. CDC recommends that health department staff work closely with K-12 schools to effectively prevent and respond to COVID-19 infections. Health department staff may look to school officials to understand the unique context of each school setting, while school officials may look to health department staff to better understand federal, state, and local guidance. This document compiles CDC guidance for COVID-19 prevention strategies in K-12 schools and should supplement state or territorial and local policies. Schools and health departments should layer the COVID-19 prevention strategies listed in this ASTHOBrief.Read More »

Creating a Shared Approach to Suicide and Overdose Prevention

September 01, 2021

In the United States, suicide and overdose are among the top 10 leading causes of death. At the intersection of suicide and overdose are shared factors that can be assessed to support a comprehensive approach to prevention. The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional stress on communities and individuals, straining resources and exacerbating the suicide and overdose epidemics. This infographic is a tool that can assist states and territories in fostering cross-sector partnerships by demonstrating the intersection of suicide and overdose and how a multi-sector approach can lead to comprehensive prevention. This infographic also reminds us that we can build healthy and supportive communities together, in a strategic and unified way.Read More »

Strategies for Vaccinating People Who Are Homebased

July 29, 2021

According to the federal government, a homebased individual is someone who requires the help of another person or supportive device to leave the home, someone who is advised against leaving the home by a physician, and/or someone for whom it is extremely taxing to leave the home. Compared to non-homebased adults, homebased people are more likely to be older, have lower income, and belong to racial minority groups—as well as live with disabilities, chronic health conditions, and comorbidities. Individuals who are homebased therefore tend to be at increased risk for COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.Read More »

Bridging the Digital Divide in Healthcare to Improve Access to Care

July 20, 2021

The digital divide in healthcare has created a growing division between communities who have access to digital health technologies and broadband versus those who experience limited access to these resources. Marginalized communities such as communities of color and rural populations are hardest hit by these access challenges. This brief shares information on how federal agencies and states are expanding digital access through funding investments, unique partnerships, and other innovative interventions to improve digital equity and access to care.Read More »

Expanding Vaccination Site Accessibility: Insights From the Field

June 16, 2021

ASTHO placed 14 disability and preparedness specialists in health agencies to support inclusivity of people living with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. In this brief, three of these specialists share their experiences with ensuring COVID-19 vaccination sites are accessible to people living with disabilities. They share their perspectives and recommendations for expanding vaccine site accessibility.Read More »

Opportunities and Strategies for Tobacco Prevention During the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 10, 2021

While the COVID-19 response has strained tobacco prevention and control efforts, the pandemic has afforded health officials unique opportunities to retool their tobacco prevention response. This brief spotlights new findings on tobacco use and COVID-19, opportunities for tobacco prevention during the pandemic, guidance for communicating risk, and recommendations for engaging state health officials.Read More »

Addressing Equity Challenges Using a Health in All Policies Approach

May 24, 2021

This brief highlights how both states are using the Health in All Policies framework to address systemic racism and social inequity between populations of different racial and ethnic groups.Read More »

Website Accessibility: Enhancing Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Registration and Beyond

May 18, 2021

For many individuals living with disabilities, inaccessible vaccination websites have been a significant barrier to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Recent studies have found that many vaccination websites do not reliably meet accessibility standards. This brief discusses how several disability rights laws apply to COVID-19 vaccine registration websites and offers considerations for state and territorial health agencies as they work to improve website accessibility for people living with disabilities.Read More »

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 »

See additional content »