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

How Local Health Departments are Helping Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

By Camillia M. Easley, MPH, Program Analyst, Healthy Communities/Chronic Disease, NACCHO

February is American Heart Month, an opportunity for local health departments (LHDs) to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) control and prevention. While cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death among men and women, certain populations are disproportionally affected by the disease. African-Americans have a higher mortality rate for cardiovascular disease, have a higher prevalence of hypertension and diabetes, and are less likely to be treated by evidence-based guidelines.1 Continue reading

Stories from the Field: An Immunization Clinic Serves 120 Teens Using Incident Command System

The following story was submitted to NACCHO’s Stories from the Field website. NACCHO’s Stories from the Field website provides a means for local health departments to share their experiences and demonstrate the value of public health. Stories from the Field can be used to support advocacy, peer learning, and collaboration with state and federal partners. Share your story at

Submitted by Christine Lees
Dakota County (MN) Public Health

16445753 many vialsWorking with state and local partners, Dakota County Public Health Department vaccinated 120 students entering seventh through twelfth grade to comply with updated Minnesota school immunization laws. The clinic was organized utilizing the Incident Command System (ICS) and demonstrated emergency preparedness capabilities.

Continue reading

The Supporting Role of Healthcare Coalitions for Local Health Departments in Emergency Preparedness

By Nicole Dunifon, MS, Program Analyst, NACCHO, and Daniel Reategui, MHS, NACCHO Policy and Practice Scholar

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

The Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), administered by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), provides grant funding to states in order to support sustainable community healthcare coalitions (HCCs), improve medical surge capacity, and enhance community and hospital preparedness in the event of a public health emergency. With the development of ASPR’s Healthcare Preparedness Capabilities: National Guidance for Healthcare System Preparedness, local health departments (LHDs) across the country have now begun to partner with HCCs and healthcare organizations on emergency preparedness planning, training, and exercises. Most recently, coalitions have played a pivotal role in coordinating with LHDs and healthcare systems during the Ebola response.  Continue reading

How One Award-Winning LHD Successfully Expanded Services for Homeless Veterans

Interview by Ian Goldstein, Web and New Media Specialist, NACCHO

NACCHO’s LHD of the Year Award recognizes and honors outstanding accomplishments of local health departments (LHDs) across the country for their innovation, creativity, and impact on communities. Whatcom County (WA) Health Department is the winner of NACCHO’s 2014 Local Health Department of the Year Award in the medium-sized jurisdiction category for its initiative to house and expand services for homeless veterans. The following is an excerpt from a recent podcast in which NACCHO interviewed Regina Delahunt, MS, REHS, Director, Whatcom County Health Department.

NACCHO: Tell us about your policy and why you wanted to apply for NACCHO’s LHD of the Year Award.

Delahunt: We applied because the award’s focus was on policy development. About five years ago, we made conscious decision in our health jurisdiction to focus on more upstream policy-level change, especially policies that affect the social determinants of health. We applied because we have had quite a bit of success with the policy-level change. We wanted to showcase one of our biggest successes and recognize all of our partners because we could not do this on our own. We also wanted to share our experience with other health jurisdictions so that maybe their road to policy development would be a little bit easier. Continue reading

Safe Storage of Firearms Prevents Suicide

By Tony Gomez, BS, RS, Manager, Violence and Injury Prevention, Public Health Seattle & King County; Clinical Faculty Instructor, University of Washington, School of Public Health

There is an urgent public health need to reduce suicide rates in the United States. There were 40,600 suicides in 2012, making suicide the tenth leading cause of death.1 Increases in suicide rates among Americans ages 35 to 64 across the country are cause for alarm; suicide in this age group rose 28.4% from 1999 to 2010.2 The greatest increases in suicide rates occurred in people 50 to 54 years old, which increased by 48.4%, and 55- to 59-year-olds, which increased by 49.1%.2 Among the most common methods of  dying by suicide are firearms, the use of which increased by 14.4% from 1999 to 2010.1 In the United States, over half of suicide deaths are due to firearms; another 17% are due to poisoning by prescription medicines and other substances. Continue reading