NACCHO Book Club — Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

By Emily Yox, MPH, Global Health Program Analyst, NACCHO

Each month, we will bring you a new public health book, read and reviewed by NACCHO staff. We hope to provide a well-rounded reading list that you will find enjoyable as well as informative.

Our second book recommendation, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, was published in 2017 and written by sociologist Matthew Desmond. Evicted follows eight families as they struggle to find and maintain consistent housing in Milwaukee’s low-income rental market. As the book’s website states: “without a home, everything else falls apart.” Desmond explores both the political and cultural systems that create systemic poverty, the role that housing plays in this system, and the significant social and health effects that directly influence an individual’s ability to thrive.

Evictions used to be a rare occurrence, but they have become much more common in the United States in recent decades, particularly among single mothers. Often, mothers and children are forced to live in homes without reliable water or heat, and with the majority of income being spent on rent, little is left for food or healthcare. While based in Milwaukee, the stories of this book mirror those in cities across the United States.

While not explicitly about public health, this book is an important read for any public health practitioner who wants to dive deeper into social determinants of health, the complex challenges that low-income renters face, and the repercussions that those challenges have in other aspects of their lives.

Evicted is a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, among other accolades.

Want to discuss this book and others? Head over to NACCHO’s Virtual Communities page and connect with peers.

Three Leading National Public Health Organizations Ring the Alarm About All-Time Highs of STDs

Data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show STDs have surged for the fifth consecutive year, reaching an all-time high in the U.S. These dangerous trends in chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis show no sign of slowing and affect millions of lives each year in the United States. Particularly worrisome is the emerging trend of newborn syphilis (congenital syphilis) with a 40 percent increase in one year and the growing number of associated fetal and newborn deaths.

“Pregnant women and their babies are at risk for congenital syphilis, a disease we thought was all but eradicated decades ago,” says Michael Fraser, CEO of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). The rapid increases in STD rates are stark evidence of the need to invest in our national, state, and local public health infrastructure. “This is a warning,” Fraser continues. “We need to increase federal funding for STD prevention, and that is why ASTHO and its partners are seeking a 22% increase to the Centers for Disease Control budget by the year 2022. We know how to prevent STDs but state and local health agencies need more resources to tackle these rising rates head on.”

The nation’s health department workforce is the backbone of our public health infrastructure  and essential to our nation’s health. With fewer health department employees, fewer health department services can be offered, and that leads directly to diminished health in our communities. “Nowhere is this more evident than in addressing STIs and HIV where this staff  are the frontlines of STD prevention and treatment,” states Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). She continues,” Data from NACCHO’s Profile of Local Health Departments study shows that local health departments have lost 22 percent of their workforce from 2012 to 2016—a decrease almost simultaneous with STD increases. We will not be able to turn the tide on rising STD rates—and the real impacts those illnesses have on people living in communities across the country—without a strong and supported workforce.”

This will require investment in prevention and treatment programs that work. Unfortunately, the rise in STDs has not been mirrored by increased investment in programs and the federal STD funding is now operating at effectively 40 percent reduction since 2003. For many health departments, this is the only funding that they receive to address STDs.

“Without Increased investment in STD prevention, millions of lives will continue to be affected and babies will continue to get sick. These are not outcomes we can accept.”says David C. Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD). “We call on Congress to recognize this growing threat and invest in STD prevention. Specifically, we call for a $70 million increase to the federal STD prevention line at CDC is needed to kickstart a response against the rise in STDs, part of the national 22 by 22 campaign to increase CDC’s budget and support for state and local programs.”

CDC Media Update: Lung Disease Associated with E-cigarette Use or Vaping

By Kim Rodgers, Communications Manager, NACCHO

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Preparedness Brief

In response to the multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarette product use (e.g., devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with other federal, state, and local partners are involved in an on-going investigation. CDC has released a media advisory concerning the situation, and the Lung Injury Response Website has various available resources to educate the publichealthcare providers, and state and local health departments on key facts and recommendations.

At this time, 805 cases of lung injury have been reported from 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 10 states have reported 12 confirmed deaths. All reported cases have been linked to a history of e-cigarette product use or vaping.

Healthcare providers are urged to support response efforts by continuing to report both suspected and confirmed cases of lung injury to their state or local health department. Specimen collection, storage, and submission guidance is available. Collaboration with states, local health departments, and additional relevant partners is also critical. State public health officials should contact CDC at eocevent101@cdc.gov regarding possible cases of e-cigarette- or vaping-associated lung injury.

For information on technical assistance with epidemiologic investigation, laboratory testing, and/or data collection tools, please contact CDC at eocevent101@cdc.gov. Questions on the submission of non-tissue samples should be directed to NCEHSampleLogistics@cdc.gov.

On September 25, 2019, NACCHO sent a letter to Congress highlighting the role of local health departments in addressing youth use of e-cigarettes and the need for action to curb youth use of these products. The letter further explained how NACCHO supports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s plan to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

NACCHO has a liaison officer within the CDC Emergency Operations Center and is participating in national calls. For any questions, comments, and/or technical resource needs, please contact the NACCHO Preparedness Program at preparedness@naccho.org.

Transformational Leader and Health Director Damon Chaplin Shares How He Motivates His Staff and Gives Advice on Being a Better Leader

By George T. Roberts, Jr., MHA, FACHE, NACCHO President and Chief Executive Officer of the Northeast Texas Public Health District

Damon Chaplin, MBA, serves as the Health Director of the City of New Bedford Health Department in Massachusetts and is a current NACCHO Board Member. He has previously provided statewide leadership as a Regional Director for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Mr. Chaplin has lead school inspection indoor air quality trainings for environmental health professionals at the Boston Public Health Commission. As a local business owner, Mr. Chaplin integrates his knowledge of strategic financial analysis into his department’s operations to ensure its financial stability.

Under his direction, the City of New Bedford Health Department successfully provides programs and services to residents in the areas of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; environmental health; public health nursing; and other health and wellness programs. Mr. Chaplin is currently leading his department’s efforts in becoming nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board. Below, he shares how he keeps his staff motivated and provides some advice on how to become a better transformational leader.

As the leader of a local public health department, what are you doing to ensure the growth of your organization and the health of your community?

Transformational leadership relies on two main principles—communication and influence. It’s no secret that most effective leaders are also effective communicators, but today’s public health leaders are also faced with being effective motivators. Many of our public health challenges reach far beyond our municipal boarders and organizational framework, and as a result, require the development of data driven systems which support inter-agency and cross jurisdictional sharing of resources, financing, and best practices.

In New Bedford, we are focused on developing systems, which support quality improvement, cross-sector collaboration and social innovation. We accomplish this through strategic planning, community partnerships, and neighborhood engagement. We’re currently in the process of applying for national public health accreditation with the Public Health Accreditation Board.

In addition, we recently began developing an internship program with local colleges and universities to support our work force development initiatives, special projects, and programs. This program has resulted in the development of regional profiles of municipal partners, evaluation of school based surveys, and support for regional code enforcement activities.

What are some characteristics you think every leader should have?

I believe every leader should possess a vision, passion, and perseverance. Leaders are born and blessed.  They are born with the vision of what could be and blessed with the desire to fulfill that vision. Leaders are often restless and seldom settle for the status quo. They are life learners and are often looking for opportunities to improve what has already been done or to do something that has never been done. Leaders often ask the question, “Why not?” and seldom settle for less. But today’s public health leader must also remember to include marginalized communities and individuals in the planning and decision making processes associated with protecting the public’s health.

What is one way you boost the morale of your organization and keep your employees inspired?

I try to employ different ways of boosting the morale of my department but my primary tactic is by helping staff and managers identify problems and remove barriers to peak performance. I found that this method has been very effective.

What advice can you provide to someone looking to become a better transformational leader?

There are quite a few ways one can become a better transformational leader. I believe it’s important to understand your leadership style and play to your strengths. One should always be able to learn from their mistakes and be willing to apply those lessons at the very next opportunity. A good leader doesn’t wait for change, but rather is the catalyst for change. Sometimes failure happens, but good leaders shouldn’t be afraid to fail. It’s imperative that those in leadership positions remain focused, identify their strengths and weaknesses, surround themselves with good people, and build healthy communities from the inside-out.

To share your story of transformational leadership or to recommend a leader to be highlighted, please contact Taylarr Lopez, NACCHO Communications Specialist, at tlopez@naccho.org.    

 

Dialogue with Indigent Communities: How the Voice of Public Health Makes an Impact that Matters

Erika S. Corle, MPH, Executive Assistant, Providence St. Joseph Health/St. Mary Medical Center

While finishing this blog post, two major earthquakes struck the very area that I am writing about. These earthquakes were the largest to hit Southern California in the past 20 years, striking Kern and San Bernardino counties. Being a member of the affected community, I can attest to the fear, the unknowing, and the hope that the areas hardest hit would not be left behind or forgotten while larger, more able areas were addressed. Continue reading

Local Health Department Intervention Critical as Hepatitis Rates Continue to Rise

NACCHO has released the following statement in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) newly released 2017 Annual Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Report. The report  reveals that  rates of acute hepatitis A (HAV), hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV) infection in the U.S. continue to rise.

“The new report highlights the impact that viral hepatitis is having on communities across the country and underscores the need for investments in local health departments to implement and continue effective public health interventions to prevent and treat viral hepatitis,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, NACCHO’s Chief Executive Officer.  “These efforts, along with critical work of community, state and local partners, is needed to address the spread and the numerous factors that contribute to these rising rates.  Failure to collaboratively act on these data will have significant consequences for our communities. Continue reading

NACCHO Book Club: Dreamland—The True Tale of America’s Opioid Epidemic

By Emily Yox, MPH, Global Health Program Analyst, NACCHO

Each month, NACCHO will bring you a new public health book, read and reviewed by NACCHO staff. We hope to provide a well-rounded reading list that you will find enjoyable as well as informative.

Our first recommendation, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opioid Epidemic, by Sam Quinones, was published in 2015 and received many accolades for the way in which the author intertwines the multiple narratives that fit into the U.S. opioid overdose epidemic. He tells stories of epidemiologists, big pharma, entrepreneurial drug dealers, and people in recovery to showcase the different perspectives of the addiction crisis in the United States. It is clear that the book was painstakingly researched but is very well written and hard to put down. Continue reading