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Housing and overall neighborhood conditions significantly influence a community’s health. Housing quality, stability, and affordability also directly impact an individual’s opportunity and ability to be healthy. There are several policies and initiatives at the federal and state levels focused on improving four pathways connecting housing and health as discussed in this post.Read More »

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A New Year, a New Plan

January 20, 2022|12:27 p.m.| Zarnaaz Bashir, MPH | ASTHO Deputy Chief Executive Officer

What better way to start the new year than with a new strategic plan! ASTHO’s Board of Directors approved the 2022-2024 Strategic Plan and launched it on Jan. 3, 2022, with a new set of priorities that reflect our ever-changing world and factors that influence the future of public health. Read More »

ASTHO Policy Watch: Polyfluoroalkyl substances

January 20, 2022|10:57 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Each year, ASTHO notes the top public health policy issues to watch in the upcoming year. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals that can migrate into soil, water, and air during production and use, and can accumulate in the blood of people and animals over time from exposure. Read More »

Joining Forces to Advance Resiliency to Complex Disasters

January 19, 2022|11:59 a.m.| Wayne E. Cascio, MD | Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Research and Development | EPA

In the face of a worldwide pandemic, an increase in natural disasters, and the unsettling specter of homeland security threats, it’s easy for public health and environmental officials to feel like the odds are stacked against us. But we have a powerful partnership to level the playing field: EPA has joined forces with ASTHO and the Environmental Council on States. Together, we are rising to meet the environmental and related public health challenges the nation faces today while increasing our capacity to help communities bounce back from adversity. Read More »

ASTHO Policy Watch: Ending the HIV Epidemic

January 18, 2022|11:12 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

As part of ASTHO’s annual Legislative Prospectus series, we are taking time this week to focus on efforts to end the HIV epidemic. Public health officials across all levels of government have been working to end the HIV epidemic, exploring new partnerships and efforts to implement evidenced based policies that could eliminate HIV. Read More »

Seven Public Health Podcasts to Follow in 2022

January 12, 2022|10:40 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Public health is rapidly changing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health professionals are having to navigate their way through these changes all while remaining steadfast in their ability to help their communities. With new information emerging every day, it's essential to have a backlog of sources you can reference that are trustworthy, up-to-date, and easy to access. Read More »

ASTHO Policy Watch: Health Equity and Rural Health

January 10, 2022|11:33 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Each year, ASTHO notes the top public health policy issues to watch in the upcoming year. ASTHO has published a prospectus on several issues, with more coming later this month. ASTHO kicked off its top 10 public health state policy issues to watch in 2022 with Immunization the first week in January. This week, we are focusing on health equity and rural health. . Read More »

ASTHO President Nirav D. Shah Looks Ahead to 2022

December 30, 2021|4:34 p.m.| Nirav D. Shah, MD, JD | Director, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and ASTHO President

Amid so much uncertainty, it might feel naïve to make any claims about what the future holds. But it is in these moments that it becomes more important than ever to have beacons to guide us and give us hope. As we look ahead to 2022, here are four priorities that must steer the public health course in the year to come. Read More »

Proposed Vaccination Laws to Watch in the New Year

December 29, 2021|11:30 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements of the last century, as well as some of the most powerful and cost-effective tools to prevent disease, disparities, disability, and death among children and adults. The COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented development and distribution of the vaccines against the novel coronavirus have generated much focus on state laws related to vaccinations. The increased attention means vaccine policy will be a closely watched issue during this year’s state and territorial legislative sessions as well as the impact any new laws may have on vaccine coverage. As state and territorial legislatures prepare to convene in the coming weeks, we can already identify several topics within vaccine law that policymakers across the country will consider. . Read More »

ASTHO’s Most Used Resources of 2021

December 22, 2021|11:38 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

ASTHO's mission is to support, equip, and advocate for state and territorial health officials in their work of advancing the public's health and well-being. To that end, here are the 12 most popular resources our members, partners, and email subscribers accessed in 2021. Read More »

HiAP Strategy Works in States, Locally to Meet Equity Challenges in COVID-19 Response

December 21, 2021|4:54 p.m.| ASTHO and NACCHO Staff

While governments have faced challenges in adopting a Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach to respond to COVID-19, the impact of the public health emergency across sectors such as housing, transportation, and employment has created a unique opportunity for stakeholders to build and strengthen collaborative systems to address the inequities exacerbated by COVID-19. To aid health departments in their HiAP efforts, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations (ASTHO) offer this overview of state and local experiences utilizing HiAP strategies to respond to the needs of their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More »

Forward Focus: The Urgent Need to Address Rising Cases of Viral Hepatitis

December 15, 2021|1:17 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

In the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, cases of viral hepatitis continue to rise at alarming rates across the United States. Data from CDC highlights a 133% rise in cases of acute hepatitis C infection from 2012-2019 and new case counts four times higher than those seen a decade ago. Additionally, although the United States met annual targets for reduction in cases and deaths associated with chronic hepatitis B, continued efforts to increase awareness of testing and linkage to care remain necessary. Read More »

State Legislative Activity Supports Federal Evidence-Based HIV Prevention Initiative

December 15, 2021|10:56 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Across the nation, public health agencies have mounted herculean efforts to stem the COVID-19 pandemic while addressing a pre-existing HIV epidemic and an opioid crisis that is serving as a source for many new HIV outbreaks. Tackling these public health crises simultaneously presents significant challenges as overdose deaths have spiked in the past year while HIV resources have been diverted leading to lower testing rates, fewer prescriptions for as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and a decrease in HIV treatment, all of which will are likely to increase the number of acute HIV infections. Read More »

Embedded: When Disaster Strikes for People Living With Disabilities

December 14, 2021|11:36 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

Over the past twenty years, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events and natural disasters have increased and, by most accounts, this trend will continue. Disasters can impact anyone but past incidents highlight the particularly negative effects on people living with disabilities. Certain disabilities and activity limitations make it more difficult to prepare for and evacuate from an incident, underscoring the importance of planning in advance. Read about ASTHO’s specialists Erin Dotten (Michigan), Brooke Riester (New Mexico), and Stephen Heck (South Dakota), who have extensive experience understanding and responding to the needs of people living with disabilities during natural disasters. Read More »

Reflections From the Field: Pacific and Atlantic Jurisdictions Remain Resolute Amid Adversity

December 14, 2021|11:18 a.m.| Karl Ensign, MPP | ASTHO Vice President, Territorial Support

In the late fall of 2021, ASTHO leadership visited select jurisdictions in the Pacific and the Atlantic for the first time since COVID-19 curtailed travel to these regions. It was fantastic to reconnect with our leadership and dedicated staff! Unsurprisingly, we heard about the jurisdictions’ challenges, including chronic ones related to funding and infrastructure, as well as new challenges resulting from the global pandemic. Read More »

Transportation, a Destination in Itself

December 08, 2021|7:12 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

Access to quality and reliable transportation is an indispensable aspect of American life. But for too many, social and economic conditions stand in the way. How do residents of Elk County, Kansas—where the nearest hospital is about 70 miles away—obtain necessary care in the face of transportation issues? How do residents of any medical desert bedeviled by transportation issues obtain care? These questions, among others, are difficult to answer for both the individuals who confront them directly and the experts and policy makers who confront them only indirectly. Read More »

Flu Activity Rising: It’s Time to Get the Vaccine!

December 08, 2021|6:15 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

The 2020-2021 influenza season in the United States was historically quiet since so many people took steps to mitigate COVID-19 exposure (e.g., masking, hand washing, travel restrictions, and school closures). As a result, reduced population immunity could make this flu season more severe. Nationwide, both laboratory-confirmed influenza detection and outpatient visits for influenza-like illness have increased in recent weeks. Read More »

Deciphering COVID-19 Clinical Trial Information for the Public Health Community

December 02, 2021|10:27 a.m.| Tina Dortch | Program Manager | Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health and Equity

As communities around the country continue to navigate the complexities of COVID-19 management and prevention this fall, reliable resources are needed for connecting public health leaders with the latest information on treatment. HHS's Combat COVID website provides information and tools for both the public and public health officials to learn about available COVID-19 treatments and clinical trial research underway to identify new treatments. Read More »

Embedded: One Year Review of Disability and Preparedness Specialists Project

December 01, 2021|12:33 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

On Dec. 3, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, ASTHO is commemorating nearly 12 months of supporting disability and preparedness specialists in state and territorial health agencies. Throughout 2021, ASTHO embedded 20 full-time disability and preparedness specialists within state and territorial public health agencies to ensure an inclusive approach to emergency preparedness. Over the coming weeks, ASTHO will introduce each of the to share insights and best practices. Read More »

World AIDS Day 2021: Ending the HIV Epidemic

November 30, 2021|5:18 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

On World Aids Day, commemorated each year on Dec. 1. This year's World Aids Day theme is Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice. Joining our conversation from the Health Resources and Services Administration are Laura Cheever, Associate Administrator for HIV/AIDS Bureau, and Heather Hauck, Deputy Associate Director. Read More »

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