National Youth Violence Prevention Week: How Planning and Partnerships Can Help LHDs Address the Problem

cotton-sashaBy Sasha Cotton, Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator, City of Minneapolis Health Department

March 23–27 is National Youth Violence Prevention Awareness Week. The week offers an excellent opportunity for public health practitioners to think about the critical role we play in preventing youth violence. It challenges each of us to think about how our efforts are, or could be, impacting this important public health issue. Continue reading

Three Steps to Help Local Health Departments Prevent New Cases of Diabetes

By Camillia Easley, MPH, Program Analyst, Healthy Communities/Chronic Disease, NACCHO, and Brandie Adams-Piphus, MPH, Senior Program Analyst, NACCHO

March 24 is Diabetes Alert Day, an opportunity for local health departments (LHDs) to raise awareness about diabetes prevention. Nearly 29 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and nearly 86 million American adults have prediabetes. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps those at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles by eating healthier, increasing physical activity, and losing a modest amount of weight in order to reduce their chances of developing the disease.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a one-year, community-based lifestyle improvement program for adults with pre-diabetes. Continue reading

Tabletop Exercises Shed Light on Radiation Preparedness Efforts

DuPageSmallBy Katie Regan, Communications Specialist, Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness, and Catastrophic Response, NACCHO

This post originally ran on NACCHO’s Preparedness Brief blog. For more preparedness news and information, visit

Imagine thousands of people gathered at a popular park for an outdoor music festival: They are crowded together, distracted by the music, and unaware of their surroundings. Imagine the park is in a downtown urban area—one of the largest in the country—and bordered by skyscrapers filled with people working, shopping, and cooking dinner. The park is a major tourist attraction and holds baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and three museums within its borders. The park is packed with people even in the areas not fenced off for the concert.

Now imagine that a dirty bomb goes off in the park, without any warning.

The DuPage County Health Department in Illinois was asked to do just that recently when NACCHO staff conducted a tabletop exercise that tested the health department’s ability to provide public shelters in the face of a radiological incident. Continue reading

On-Road Use of ATVs Poses Substantial Safety Risks

atvBy Stephen Oesch

Hundreds die each year in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) crashes on public roads. Unfortunately, more states, counties, and cities are increasing the risk to public health by permitting on-the-road use.

ATVs are made for off-road use. Although many ATVs can reach highway speeds, their low-pressure tires are not designed for road use. The dangers of using ATVs on the road are communicated by warnings on the machines, from the vehicle manufacturers, and from the consumer and public health community. Nonetheless, large numbers of people take their ATVs on public roads, despite the dangers. Continue reading

Steps to Implementing Drug Abuse Prevention Programs in Local Health Departments

19297097 marijuanaBy Sheri Lawal, MPH, CHES, Program Analyst, Injury and Violence Prevention, NACCHO

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.”1 Most illicit drug use typically begins in childhood or adolescence, when adolescents establish patterns of behavior and make choices that affect their health.1,2 Drug use during adolescence severely increases the likelihood of addiction later in life.1 Drug abuse is preventable, and public health professionals should strive to prevent drug use in youth before it starts.

When implemented with fidelity, research-based drug-use prevention programs result in reduced use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. Local health departments (LHDs) and their partners can follow three steps to prevent drug abuse among youth: (1) assess the problem; (2) determine community readiness for prevention; and (3) develop a plan.3 Continue reading

Strategies for Communicating with Vulnerable and Non-English-Speaking Populations: An Interview with Meredith Li-Vollmer

By Katie Regan, Communications Specialist for Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness, and Catastrophic Response, NACCHO

This post originally ran on NACCHO’s Preparedness Brief blog and is part of a series of interviews with local health department staff who will present at the 2015 Preparedness Summit. Meredith Li-Vollmer, PhD, Risk Communication Specialist for Public Health – Seattle and King County, previews her session, “Reaching the New America: Communication Strategies with Immigrants for Health Departments of All Sizes.” At the session, Meredith will be joined by Paulette Valentine, Director of Emergency Preparedness and Response, Southwest Utah Public Health Department; Robert Einwick, Health Protection Division Manager, Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health; Heather Fortner, MPA, Risk Communication Coordinator, Shelby County Health Department; and David Carney, Preparedness Coordinator/IT Manager, Montgomery County Health Department.

Q: Thanks for taking the timeheadshot-Li-Vollmer to speak with us about your workshop at the 2015 Preparedness Summit. Can you give a brief overview of what your session will cover?

Our session will address the way many communities across the nation are changing and how we as local health departments need to be able to communicate effectively during times of disaster and crisis. In particular, we’re looking at the increasing number of people across the country who speak languages other than English in the home. Continue reading

Live Well San Diego Initiative Helps Lower Rates of Stroke and Childhood Obesity

A group of runners in a cross country race.Interview by Ian Goldstein, Web and New Media Specialist, NACCHO

The following is an excerpt from a recent podcast in which NACCHO interviewed Dr. Wilma Wooten, MD, MPH, Public Health Officer, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. This interview was originally recorded at NACCHO Annual 2014.

  • Live Well San Diego is a 10-ye­­ar initiative to transform the health and well-being of all San Diegans. Has the initiative started?

Wooten: Absolutely. The visioning for the Live Well San Diego actually began in 2008. There are three components. It is a long-term vision because we recognize we aren’t going to stop after 10 years. It’s a long-term vision to support healthy, safe, and thriving communities throughout San Diego. Continue reading