Category Archives: advocacy

2018 Election Recap: What Does It Mean for Public Health?

By Adriane Casalotti, MPH, MSW, Chief of Government and Public Affairs, and Eli Briggs, MA, Senior Government Affairs Director, NACCHO

As expected, Tuesday’s election results will bring great change to Congress in January 2019. But the impact of the changes in Washington have a ripple effect in local communities. Here is a rundown of what happened and what it means for public health. Continue reading

Public Health Advocacy: Informing Lawmakers about What Matters Most in Our Communities

By Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, NACCHO President and Executive Director of Harris County Public Health in Houston, Texas

The Journal of School Health defines health advocacy as “The processes by which the actions of individuals or groups attempt to bring about social and/or organization change on behalf of a particular health goal, program, interest, or population.” 1 It is also one of the main pillars of public health. Local health departments depend on policymakers to enact laws that make our communities safe and promote healthy living. Every day, federal, state, and local decision-makers discuss a myriad of issues, including those related to public health. Through the power of advocacy, we have seat belt, tobacco prevention, safe drinking water, and nutrition labeling laws, just to name a few. For the betterment of our communities, it is imperative that public health professionals who possess expertise and experience in the field, educate lawmakers through evidence-based research. Continue reading

Public Health Policy: What to Watch in 2018

NACCHO’s government affairs team has provided a forecast of what to expect in public health policy in 2018. The decisions made in Washington this year will have a major impact on local health departments and on the public’s health. As always, NACCHO members and staff will work together this year to be the voice of local health departments. Below is a short list of the top things to watch this year. For the full list, go to https://www.naccho.org/advocacy/news. Continue reading

The Opioid Epidemic in 2018: Where Do We Go from Here?

By Ian Goldstein, Government Affairs Specialist, NACCHO

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 91 people die daily due to an opioid overdose. The Trump Administration has declared curbing the opioid epidemic a major priority. In March 2017, the White House created the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Epidemic, headed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The President proclaimed a public health emergency in late October 2017, however, such a declaration does not allocate any additional funding towards efforts to control the epidemic. On November 1, 2017, the Commission sent a report to the President with 56 recommendations the Administration can take to combat the growing opioid crisis. Some of those recommendations include an expanded drug court system, educational requirements for prescribers, and a media blitz to spread the word about preventive services and treatment availability for substance use disorder. Moreover, the Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors now puts the cost of the epidemic at $504 billion. 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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NACCHO Highlights Need to Address Tobacco and Opioids

From left: Dr. Shelley Hearne, NACCHO; Laura Hanen, NACCHO; Fred Wells Brason II, Project Lazarus; Susan McKnight, Lake County (IL) Health Department; and Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Department.

From left: Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA); Laura Hanen, NACCHO; Fred Wells Brason II, Project Lazarus; Susan McKnight, Lake County (IL) Health Department; and Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Department

By Aliyah Ali, Government Affairs Intern, NACCHO

During the second full week of April, NACCHO hosted two briefings for Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and public health advocates: “Tobacco 21: Raise the Age to Save Lives” and “Opioid Overdose and Naloxone: Lessons Learned in Saving Lives.” Public health experts on both issues convened to explain the benefits of raising the age for purchase of tobacco to 21 years and discuss the life-saving abilities of naloxone.

Tobacco 21: Raise the Age to Save Lives
On April 14, NACCHO, Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC), Trinity Health, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids joined forces to highlight the Tobacco to 21 Act (S.2100/HR 3656), a bill introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) that would make 21 the minimum age to buy tobacco. Continue reading

When Professional Advocacy Work Becomes Personal

rx-overdose-ian-alexia

Photo courtesy of Ian Goldstein

By Ian Goldstein, Government Affairs & Senior Web and Digital Media Specialist, NACCHO

As a member of NACCHO’s Government Affairs team for over two years, I have been to Capitol Hill to advocate for policies and funding that support local health departments. I take great pride in helping voice the concerns of NACCHO’s members and educate Congressional staff about everything local health departments do to keep their communities healthy and safe. Many public health issues I advocate for are grounded in professional morals and ethics, but on March 1, my professional role became personal. I lost my 17-year-old cousin, Alexia Springer, to a prescription drug overdose. Continue reading