Parents Need Support to Prevent Youth Violence

By Alyssa Banks, Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support, Minnesota

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Stories from the Field.

Parent support group programs can be an effective strategy to teach caregivers necessary skills to better parent at-risk youth. Poor parenting can have many negative effects on families and children. For example, it can create a lack of communication in families and thus letting the children go down a path that is self-destructive or involved with violence. The Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support has supported many parent support group programs through the City’s Blueprint for Action to Prevent Youth Violence initiative. These programs aim to strengthen families and help parents and caregivers to provide the best environment for healthy youth development. The programs are also particularly effective because they are culturally specific and focus on the unique needs of each community.

Culturally Specific

Community based partner Holy Rosary Church caters to the Latino community and can deal with the bi-cultural aspect of the children. Their program offers a series of parent workshops that focus on a variety of topics including specific skills for parenting, addressing issues with children, sexuality, gang prevention, and good communication skills. Deb Organ, the workshop supervisor, says “after the workshops the parents feel more confident in their parenting roles because they have more information and better communication within the family.”

Ms. Organ shared the story of one young single mother in the program named “Lucia” and her 16-year-old son “Miguel.” Miguel felt completely misunderstood and as a result began to isolate himself and become depressed. Miguel was headed down the wrong path, and instead of talking to him Lucia would just switch him from school to school. However, after going through the parent support group classes offered at Holy Rosary, Lucia learned that she needed to communicate with her son by asking him what he wanted and what she could do for him. Miguel said he was tired of switching schools and that he just wanted to be somewhere stable. All of the communication skills that Holy Rosary taught Lucia helped her find a solution for her son and her.

Modeling Healthy Relationships

Ms. Organ also spoke of a more drastic change in the Ortega family where the mother, “Donna,” was in an abusive relationship which had taken a toll on her health and the children. Through the parent support groups at Holy Rosary, Donna said she started to realize that she was worth something and deserved better. Donna shared that she no longer wanted to put up with the emotional and physical abuse she had been facing and left with her children. Now Donna and her children are starting the healing process and are moving forward into a safer and freer life.

Whether it is teaching your kids open communication skills or modeling healthy relationships to your kids, parent support group programs help strengthen families and can be an effective youth violence prevention strategy. It is an important prevention strategy that can change negative family dynamics and help aid parents to support and raise their children in positive ways that help them lead healthy lifestyles.


Mass Incarceration and Racism Policy

By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

According to civil rights attorney and former Stanford University Law Professor Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, there are currently more black men in prison or jail, on probation, or on parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.

The United States holds the dubious distinction of incarcerating more individuals than any other nation. According the latest Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics, approximately 2.2 million men and women are currently imprisoned. The U.S. rate is nearly 5 to 10 times higher than rates in Western Europe and other democracies. Continue reading

LHD of the Year Award Winner Harris County Public Health Focuses on Closing the Gap on Health Inequity in its Community

lhdaward-fornaccho-lowresBy Taylarr Lopez, Communications Specialist, NACCHO

NACCHO is pleased to recognize Harris County Public Health (HCPH) as a recipient of the 2016 Local Health Department of the Year Award. This award recognizes and honors outstanding accomplishments of local health departments (LHDs) across the country for their innovation, creativity, and impact on communities.

HCPH provides comprehensive public health services to Harris County, Texas—the third most populous county in the United States. It has an annual budget of over $80 million and a workforce of more than 700 employees.

HCPH’s serves approximately 2.2 million people within the county’s unincorporated areas and 33 independent municipalities (excluding the city of Houston). For certain public health services such as mosquito control, Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part A, and refugee health, HCPH’s jurisdiction encompasses the entirety of the county, including the city of Houston, for a total population of more than 4 million. Continue reading

Every Child Deserves To Celebrate Their First Birthday

By Folashade Osibanjo, MPH, CLC, Program Analyst, Breastfeeding Project

As the annual commemoration of Infant Mortality Awareness Month draws to a close, let’s reaffirm our commitment to protect the lives of all children in our communities. Local health department (LHDs), in particular, have a unique opportunity to redouble their efforts to reduce infant deaths by promoting community-based preventative services, strengthening partnerships, and by cultivating new alliances to ensure that every baby lives to celebrate his or her first birthday. Addressing infant mortality is of public health importance because the health of the most vulnerable is an indicator of the well-being of our entire population. Continue reading

LHD of the Year Award Winner, the Kansas City Missouri Health Department, Works Toward Health Equity and Social Justice

lhdaward-fornaccho-lowresBy Taylarr Lopez, Communications Specialist, NACCHO

NACCHO is pleased to recognize the Kansas City (MO) Health Department as a recipient of the 2016 Local Health Department of the Year Award. This award recognizes and honors outstanding accomplishments of local health departments (LHDs) across the country for their innovation, creativity, and impact on communities.

Kansas City, MO, is a diverse urban community in the heart of the Midwest with a population of 459,787 people. The Kansas City Missouri Health Department (KCMOHD) has protected the population’s health for 150 years and operates with a mission to promote, preserve, and protect the health of Kansas City residents and visitors. KCMOHD employs 200 staff through various programs, some which are active in both Missouri and Kansas. Programs and services strive to prevent illness and injuries, improve health services, enforce public health laws, and support policy development to build a healthier community. Continue reading

Local Health Departments Showcase Public Health Programs and Build Relationships with Congressional Staff

Tri-County Health Department

Tri-County Health Department staff meet with Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO).

By Eli Briggs, Senior Director of Government Affairs, NACCHO

For many local health departments (LHDs), communicating with Members of Congress and Congressional staff about their work and the need for federal support is part of how they protect the public’s health. Below NACCHO profiles two LHDs that have successfully taken on this challenge.

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Preparedness Month 2016: Raising Local Awareness this September and Beyond

By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

September marks National Preparedness Month, a golden opportunity for local health department (LHD) and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Unit leaders, staff, and volunteers to highlight the importance of public health preparedness. Whether it is a natural disaster, like the current flooding in New Orleans, or a sudden disease outbreak, like the Zika virus, raising awareness about preparedness, its various components, and the role of LHDs, MRC Units, other agencies, and community members is crucial to ensuring the health and safety of our nation. LHDs and MRC Units—typically leading the charge in the wake of a public health emergency—stand to particularly benefit in two big ways by celebrating Preparedness Month. First, they can pique community interest in emergency planning and response activities in September, and ultimately inspire residents to be vigilant and engaged in preparedness efforts throughout the year.

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