December 2021 Newsletter
Public Health Workforce Funding:
A Small Local Health Department's Response to COVID-19
Left: Milam County Health Department Staff receive a Texas flag flown over the Texas Capitol in November 2020 as recognition by Senator Charles Schwertner for work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Right: MCHD staff receive the Cameron Chamber of Commerce Organization of the Year Award in 2021.
The Milam County Health Department (MCHD) in Texas serves a county population of 24,823. MCHD has offices in the city of Cameron (population 5,305 and county seat), with a clinic in Rockdale (population 5,323) and a county population that is predominately White (84%), Female (50.6%) and persons aged 65 and over (21.1%). Prior to COVID-19, MCHD had a full time staff of 9 employees who provided disease prevention and control, preparedness, WIC, indigent care and septic systems. When the pandemic began and started to overwhelm the current public health infrastructure, MCHD used COVID-19 federal funding to add temporary staff, as well as contractors, to multiply the workforce and expand the deliver important COVID-19 services. Using the established and newly built partnerships with schools, business, emergency preparedness, law enforcement and fire departments, MCHD was able to publicize its available services and inform residents how to access these services. With the continued infusion of federal funding, MCHD expects to grow to 18 full time employees by 2022. 

COVID-19 highlighted the public health infrastructure needs in Milam County to respond to pandemic conditions. This ability to hire additional staff due to the COVID-19 funding enabled the health department to:

  • Conduct approximately 4,000 epidemiological case investigations on COVID-19 cases (an increase of 3,700 over what would have been conducted before the funding)

  • Conduct about 4,500 - local COVID-19 tests

  • Provide over 10,000 - COVID-19 vaccinations (an increase from the usual 1,000 vaccinations per year)

To sustain this newly funded increase in the public health workforce, MCHD is working with its partners to review and refine its role in the larger picture of health care in the county, which lost its two hospitals in 2018, as well as identifying longer term funding to continue meeting the public health needs of the community for the future.
Louisiana Public Health Institute Outlines Long-Term Public Health Improvements with a New Strategic Plan 
The Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) has proudly served the residents of Louisiana for nearly 25 years. It has become clear over the past few years that the public health landscape shifts and changes at an ever-quickening pace. LPHI’s role is to be both responsive to the immediate public health needs of Louisiana residents and to create an environment for long-term public health improvements. In order to do so, LPHI has created a three-year strategic plan to outline and guide the public health impact of the organization. 

“I want Louisiana to be the healthiest state in the Nation,” said LPHI CEO Shelina Davis. “I know that is not something that will happen quickly, but it is something that we all must begin to strive for. It is through that lens that we acknowledge the critical need for having a solid strategic plan to guide our path forward.”

The guiding elements of the strategic plan include an updated mission statement, vision statement, and set of values, along with four new Priority Areas: Racial Justice and Health Equity, Partnerships and Collaboration, A Healthier Louisiana, and A Thriving Organization. 

“For years, LPHI has spoken out about the many factors that contribute to health, with a strong focus on the negative impacts of racism and inequity,” said Linda Usdin, LPHI board chair. “Undergoing the strategic planning process at this moment ensures that we are resolute in addressing the challenges we face and increase the impact of public health practices and guidelines.”

By implementing this plan, LPHI will be able to increase the impact of public health practices and guidelines and grow the scope and number of organizational partners. Each priority area is supported by a goal that provides overall direction. A Year One Action Plan has been developed for each of the priority areas, which highlights specific strategies that LPHI is committed to achieving in the first year of the plan’s implementation. The action plan will be updated annually to provide direction for the year. 
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Winter Break
The Region 6 South Central Public Health Training Center will be closed from December 23, 2021 until January 5, 2022 for Winter Recess.

Technical support for the Tulane Learning Management System will be very limited during this time.
If you require assistance, please email

The Region 6 South Central Public Health Training Center team wishes everyone a safe holiday season and prosperous new year!
Course Spotlight:

Course Description:

Prevention for Pharmacists" training is to provide general training and build capacity for pharmacy staff regarding the opioid epidemic, signs of overdoses, naloxone, and harm reduction. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand what is Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and the severity of the Opioid Epidemic 

  • Recognize the signs of an overdose and how to administer Naloxone 

  • Describe the laws and regulations that protect you as a pharmacist when prescribing Naloxone and as a bystander when administering Naloxone 

  • Understand your biases on addiction and how stigmatizing language may affect individuals from receiving proper care 

  • Recognize examples of harm reduction methods based on harm reduction principles and how it relates to the stages of change 

For more information about
this training, please click here
Featured Course Bundle:
Leadership Communication

After completing the Leadership Communication course bundle, learners will be able to demonstrate written and oral communication skills required for leaders in the public health setting. This bundle is designed to refresh and refine the communication skills needed to succeed in today's fast-paced and stressful public health environment.

Topics covered in the course bundle include: negotiation, conflict resolution, writing techniques, presentation skills, indirect communication styles such as facial expressions and body postures, and the use of media in times of disaster. 

Courses in the LC course bundle include:

  • Managerial Communications - 2 hours

  • Risk Communication in Public Health Emergencies - 2 hours

  • Negotiating Skills for Changing Times - 4 hours

  • Leadership Management Communication - 3 hours

  • Productive Communication Skills - 4 hours

For more information about this course bundle, please click here.
Looking for more training on a specific topic in public health? Need additional training on a current public health hot topic? We want to help you address these needs. Please email us and let us know about your current training needs/interests/issues. We will evaluate our current trainings to see if we have something that can address your area of interest. 
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We look forward to your feedback!