PUBLIC HEALTH WEEKLY
Dec. 8, 2016
NEWS
  • In a report released today, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called e-cigarette use “a major public health concern” and recommended increased regulation and taxation.
  • CDC released a report on Mortality in the United States showing that life expectancy has declined for the first time in more than two decades. 
  • CDC issued a final report on the Winnable Battles program highlighting significant reductions in tobacco-related harms and teen birth rates. Challenges in obesity, foodborne illness, and HIV diagnoses still remain.
  • FDA announced a public process to redefine the healthy nutrient content claim for food labeling.
  • ASTHO’s Board of Directors met on Dec. 5 and identified its 2017 strategic priorities.
  • The National Academy for State Health Policy, a non-partisan organization of state health policy leaders, released a report offering proposals to the new administration to advance health reform and transform our health system to one that lowers cost, rewards value, and improves health.
  • D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser kicked off the city’s new plan to combat the HIV epidemic, an initiative that D.C. Department of Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt praised in a recent article.
  • Oregon health officials announced a call to action to lower HIV transmission by focusing on testing, treatment, and prevention. “We will see the end of HIV infections in Oregon,” says Lillian Shirley, director of Oregon's Public Health Division. “It can happen. The time is now.”
  • The Oregon Health Authority and healthcare leaders approved new opioid prescribing guidelines that seek to reduce opioid overdoses and improve pain treatment.
  • North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory conceded the state’s contested gubernatorial race after weeks of challenges and recounts.
CONGRESSIONAL CORNER
As Congress finishes work this week, policymakers passed one final piece of legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act. The $6.3 billion package accelerates the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures and treatments and will provide additional funding for NIH and FDA. The legislation also provides $1 billion to states to help combat heroin and painkiller addiction and recovery through increased prescription drug monitoring programs, prevention, and treatment. Those dollars will flow to states through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

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HEALTH POLICY UPDATE
In 2016, ASTHO tracked efforts across 11 states to address issues surrounding adult immunization, including healthcare worker immunization and vaccine education requirements in adult residential facilities. CDC found that employer policies can have an outsized impact on whether or not healthcare workers receive a flu vaccine. However, mandating immunizations can be a difficult balance between protecting public health and individual rights. 

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DID YOU KNOW?
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause more than two million illnesses and at least 23,000 deaths each year in the United States. 
LEADING
STATE HEALTH
 
Rahul Gupta, commissioner and state health officer of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, spoke to the Integration Forum about the evolving role of state and local public health, particularly in convening new partners and reaching out to communities to better serve their needs.

MEMBER
SPOTLIGHT

Richard H. Opper, is the state health officer and director of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, a super agency that also provides human services, such as SNAP and TANF benefits. In addition, the department protects children and adults from abuse and neglect, provides services to people with disabilities, and administers the state’s Medicaid program. 

ASTHO RESOURCES
  • Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antibiotic Resistance – ASTHO and CDC launched a suite of communications tools designed to help health departments articulate the value of public health in preventing healthcare-associated infections and the spread of antibiotic resistance. See ASTHO’s Upcoming Events web page for details on a webinar designed to orient users to the tools.
  • Indiana Have You Share Story – Learn how the Indiana State Department of Health partnered with the Indianapolis Colts to raise seasonal flu awareness through the “Join Blue, Prevent the Flu” campaign.
  • Kentucky Have You Shared Story – Learn how Kentucky is improving newborn screening timeliness. 
© 2016 ASSOCIATION OF STATE AND TERRITORIAL HEALTH OFFICIALS