CDC’s Dr. Judy Monroe Explains How OSTLTS Supports Local Health Departments

judy-monroeBy Ian Goldstein, Web and New Media Specialist, NACCHO

Judy Monroe, MD, FAAFP, is the deputy director for state, tribal, local and territorial support efforts at CDC and director of the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support (OSTLTS). In her role, Dr. Monroe provides critical leadership for supporting and revitalizing the public health system. Her efforts focus on establishing a systems approach that supports integration and collaboration among public health professionals and translating science to practice to increase the capacity and performance of public health agencies. The following is an excerpt from a recent podcast interview with Dr. Monroe.

NACCHO: How are you able to translate science into practice in order to increase the capacity and performance of governmental public health departments?

JM: Great question. We’ve actually used a logic model framework where you have to be aware of the science, accept it, adopt it, implement it, and then evaluate and sustain it. With each one of those steps, from awareness to adoption, we’ve got things—for example, CDC puts out Vital Signs every month, which talks about really timely topics using the best and latest science. We make sure that we’re using those to raise awareness of the latest science. We have some tools called “Did You Know?” that is a weekly publication that goes out to the field. We try to make it user-friendly. We have health officer orientation and welcomes. Partners like NACCHO help raise awareness. Meetings like the NACCHO Annual meeting help raise that awareness.

To me, that’s sort of the “what,” the science. But the “how” is where the nitty gritty comes from. How do you actually put this into practice? To me, the way to really make that happen is through conversation with folks in the field. We have something once a month called a Vital Signs Town Hall Meeting where we get folks that are in practice talking with the scientists at CDC and then folks in the field who get examples of how they’ve translated that [science] so others can learn from them. It’s a great way to cross-fertilize.

NACCHO: How do you bring these folks together?

JM: [The town hall meeting] is actually a phone call. It is a national town hall conference call. Anyone is welcome to join and there is information on our website about that. If you go to the OSTLTS webpage on the CDC website, there is lots of information there for health departments.

NACCHO: Much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is already in effect and many important provisions are set to take effect in January 2014. How is OSTLTS supporting local health departments with the ACA implementation?

JM: [OSTLTS is doing so] in a number of ways. It started with a workgroup that we have that is led by David Fleming, who is a NACCHO member, which looks at the health department of the future. We’ve been focusing on workforce, electronic health records, public health and healthcare integration, shared services, and so forth.

Listen to the rest of Dr. Monroe’s response at www.naccho.org/podcasts.

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