NACCHO and ASPR Recognize Significant Contributions of Local Health Departments Advancing National Health Security

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Preparedness Brief blog.

Local health departments’ day-to-day operations impact National Health Security across the country. Every time local health officials run a vaccination clinic, spearhead a disease prevention campaign, or deliver life saving provisions to disaster survivors, their work directly contributes to advancing the nation’s health security. In fact, everything local health departments do aims to improve the health of people in their community, and healthier people are more likely to survive a disaster and make a faster recovery. That’s what national health security is all about: creating a resilient nation through sustained health outcomes as a result of effective prevention, preparedness, and response efforts.

To build greater awareness about the critical role of local public health in national health security and to promote best practices, NACCHO in partnership with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) created the National Health Security Awards program. Launched in 2015, the annual recognition spotlights local health departments across the country for their significant accomplishments in health security-related initiatives. The program’s second cohort of awardees were recently announced at the 2017 NACCHO Annual conference held in Pittsburgh on July 11-13, 2017. Recipients were honored for their achievements supporting one of five strategic objectives in the 2015-2018 National Health Security Strategy and Implementation Plan.

NACCHO and ASPR congratulate all five winners for their outstanding work in building healthy, resilient communities; using medical countermeasures and non-pharmaceutical interventions; ensuring comprehensive health situational awareness; integrating emergency management systems; and strengthening global health security. The following summaries showcase the 2017 awardees and their corresponding achievements highlighted as driving national health security forward.

Building and Sustaining Healthy, Resilient Communities: Kent County Health Department, Michigan

The Kent County Inclusive Preparedness Program (KCIPP) provides accessible emergency preparedness training to Kent County residents of all abilities. A five-module program was developed to provide people of all abilities the opportunity to learn basic emergency preparedness in order to promote resiliency in the community. The topics chosen for the first cohort were basic emergency preparedness, hands-only CPR, fire safety, basic first aid, and sheltering/mass care.

Effectively Using Medical Countermeasures and Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions: City of St. Louis Department of Health, Missouri

The City of St. Louis Department of Health partnered with the Saint Louis University School of Nursing to develop emergency preparedness training incorporated as a mandatory component of the program’s curriculum. The training aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Provide communities with a sustainable base of disaster-trained volunteers prepared to serve the community in a time of crisis;
  • Increase nurses’ awareness of their roles and responsibilities in preparing for and responding to disasters; and
  • Engage with St. Louis University to serve as a closed point-of-distribution (POD) during major disasters/events.

Ensuring Comprehensive Health Situational Awareness: Grand Traverse County Health Department, Michigan

Northern Michigan Public Health Emergency Preparedness (NMPHEP) works closely with the Regional Emergency Coordination Center (RECC), which serves as a fusion center in the Northwest Region of Michigan, actively monitoring public health occurrences in the jurisdiction. The established partnership, which offers virtual capabilities enables public health officials from each local health department to communicate with the NMPHEP response entity. More specifically, local health officials can directly notify NMPHEP staff if a situation is growing and could potentially become a taxing public health response operation. This operation was employed to support Michigan state’s recent Hepatitis A outbreak response.

Integrating Public Health, Healthcare, and Emergency Management Systems: Oakland County Health Division, Michigan

The Oakland County Health Division, Emergency Preparedness Unit created separate partnership committees with long-term care and hospital facilities throughout Oakland County to assist with emergency preparedness efforts. This initiative included engaging with individuals with functional and access needs to better understand how to protect these at-risk populations during public health emergencies. Committees were established to foster ongoing connections between local healthcare facilities and Oakland County government agencies, and to ensure all stakeholders received access to resources furthering their emergency preparedness and response capacity.

Strengthening Global Health Security: Public Health – Seattle and King County, Washington

Between January 2015 and December 2016, Public Health Seattle and King County’s (PHSKC) Preparedness Program and Tuberculosis (TB) Control Program conducted three large-scale TB contact investigations, which included medical evaluations of of more than 1,600 individuals. This massive undertaking was made possible through the health department’s collaborative efforts engaging King County’s Medical Reserve Corps; the Public Health Reserve Corps; nurses from neighboring counties; and staff from the Washington State Department of Health.

The formal application announcement for next year’s National Health Security Awards will be released via this blog at a later date in 2017. In the meantime, NACCHO and ASPR urge local health departments to share how their agency is contributing to national health security throughout the entire year. Please contact NACCHO’s Preparedness Team at for opportunities to promote local public health accomplishments in national health security and/or other emergency preparedness efforts through NACCHO’s wide reaching communication channels! Click here to learn more about the National Health Security Strategy.

NACCHO Annual 2017 Sharing Session Recap: Community Partnerships Help Tri-County Health Department Curb Prescription Drug Misuse

This entry features an interview with NACCHO Annual 2017 presenter and Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator for the Tri-County Health Department in Colorado, Steven A. Martinez, MA. His session, “Tri-County Overdose Prevention Partnership: A Community-Led, Local Health Department-Facilitated, Collaborative Effort,” described the importance of partnerships to address prescription drug misuse in local communities. Below he shares his health department’s process for convening partnerships and assessing, planning, and implementing collaborative strategies. Continue reading

A Look Inside the NACCHO Health and Disability Fellowship Program

Evelyn Arana, left,Tara Lutz, right.

NACCHO is currently seeking two graduate students to become the newest Health and Disability fellows. To provide potential applicants an inside look into the fellowship experience, NACCHO Health and Disability Program Analyst, Sara Lyons, interviewed the program’s two outgoing fellows. Tara Lutz and Evelyn Arana began their fellowship journey last fall. Below they share how the yearlong experience helped propel them into the next phase of their public health careers. View the fellowship flyer for more information about the program. Continue reading

Member Spotlight: Health Director Dr. Crystal Miller Discusses Needle Exchange Programs, Critical Partnerships, and Sustainable Funding

Interview by Taylarr Lopez, Communications Specialist, NACCHO

NACCHO’s Member Spotlight series features interviews with local health department leaders and staff about their careers in public health. This interview features Crystal Miller, DrPH, MPH, Director of the WEDCO District Health Department in Kentucky. She is also a member of NACCHO’s Board of Directors. Below she shares the challenges of leading a local health department in tough financial and political times and how she is preparing her department for the future. Continue reading

NACCHO Annual 2017: Bridging Clinical Medicine and Population Health


Dr. Shah and members of NACCHO’s leadership team address the crowd at the inaugural Member Connect session

By Lindsay Tiffany, Lead of Publications, NACCHO

On July 11–13, more than 1,200 local health department (LHD) leaders and staff assembled in Pittsburgh for the 2017 NACCHO Annual Conference, the largest annual gathering of local public health leaders and partners in the United States. Over the course of the three-day conference, attendees learned from national public health experts, shared effective programs and strategies for improving local population health, and tackled the most pressing issues affecting the work of LHDs today. Continue reading

Shifting Internal Policies and Systems to Create Breastfeeding Continuity of Care

By Carmen Vergara, RN, MPH (ESPERANZA HEALTH CENTERS) and Harumi Reis-Reilly, MS, CNS, CHES, IBCLC (NACCHO)  

Esperanza Health Centers, a former grantee of NACCHO’s Breastfeeding Initiative, is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) on the Southwest side of Chicago. The main population served is predominately low-income and Latino, and families in Esperanza’s service area experience significant economic, educational, and health inequities. Over 70% of area residents live 200% below the poverty level. Esperanza’s main services are adult primary care, pediatrics, prenatal care, and behavioral health. Additional public health services include programs related to children’s weight management, diabetes management, and physical activity. Continue reading

NACCHO Annual 2017 Preview: Transforming Community Health and Managing Multi-Collaborative Solutions for Better Health Outcomes

Interview by Taylarr Lopez, NACCHO Communications Specialist

This entry is the second in a series of “NACCHO Annual preview” blog posts, which feature interviews with presenters ahead of NACCHO Annual 2017. Ron Bialek, MPP, President of the Public Health Foundation, and Jack Moran, MBA, PhD, CMC, CQM, Senior Quality Advisor for the Public Health Foundation, discuss ways that local health departments can build strategic partnerships to address health threats in the community in their upcoming presentation, “Community Chief Health Strategist: Transforming the Way You Approach Health in Your Community.” Below, Mr. Ron Bialek shares the importance of local health departments becoming Chief Health Strategists. Continue reading