Category Archives: community health

A Message from NACCHO on Our COVID-19 Response

These are extraordinary times for public health. Not only are we at heightened concern for the communities we serve, but we’re also extending that concern to our families, friends, and neighbors, to local businesses and restaurants, and our hospitals and clinics. As we redouble our efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our work, expertise, and actions are needed more than ever. Our roles will be expanding in ways that will rapidly unfold, and NACCHO wants to emphasize that we’re here for our colleagues throughout the country, ready to respond to the best of our abilities.

NACCHO’s activation in this pandemic has been elevated to a Level 3 (highest) and a full Incident Command Structure (ICS) has been activated. At a Level 3, moderate to significant alteration of staff schedules should be expected; ICS staff may be prioritizing and spending significant amounts of time on COVID-19 related response activities.

We recognize that state and local public health agencies may be receiving COVID-19 updates at different times through other communication channels. Please know that we are collaborating with ASTHO, APHL, CSTE, and CDC to disseminate relevant and accurate information as quickly as possible to our members.

NACCHO has deployed a liaison to the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Secretary Operations Center (SOC) and is in constant contact with the CDC. If you issues that you need elevated, send an email to preparedness@naccho.org.

We have also set up a dedicated COVID-19 Virtual Community, where best practices can be shared and LHDs can learn from each other about ways to respond. All LHO and Preparedness Coordinators have been sent log-in information, please contact them for access.

We need to hear from you. If you’re with a local health department, please submit your stories on this short form about your COVID-19 response efforts:  https://www.naccho.org/programs/coronavirus. This feedback is critical to our work to advocate on your behalf. (And yes! please submit it again as the situation changes.)

Other ways to keep in touch with NACCHO as we all work to address the pandemic include the following:

If there’s anything we can do, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We truly are all in it together, and our work matters more than ever – not only for our communities, but for the nation, and the world. Thank you for all you do.

How to Combat Childhood Obesity: A Detailed Guide for Parents, Children and Health Practitioners

By Bradley University’s Online Master of Science in Nursing program. This story was originally posted on Bradly University’s website.

In the early 1970s, approximately 6.1 percent of children ages 12-19 in the United States were obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By 2011-2012, that figure had more than tripled to 20.5 percent.

This is problematic, considering that not only has the number of children with obesity risen in the country, but more kids are at risk of facing bullying, lower self-esteem and chronic health problems because of their condition. Additionally, children with obesity are more likely to continue to be obese as adults, the CDC reports, making them more susceptible to serious health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Cities with One Common Goal: To Improve Breastfeeding Support for Low Income Mothers in Marion County, IN

By Julie Patterson, PhD, MBA, RDN, LDN, Northern Illinois University; Lindsay Moore-Otsby, MD, HealthNet; Carrie Bonsack, DNP, CNM, HealthNet, and Kay Johnson, HealthNet 

Our story begins with an internal champion, a physician whose personal struggles with breastfeeding inspired the creation of a breastfeeding clinic at HealthNet. She engaged internal and external stakeholders to develop a breastfeeding model of care in collaboration with Northern Illinois University. This model aims to improve breastfeeding support and outcomes at HealthNet, and ultimately could serve as a model for other clinics to improve breastfeeding disparities. This project has succeeded in many ways, particularly in highlighting the need for multipronged, multidisciplinary breastfeeding support efforts not only within the clinic system itself, but also in collaboration with local support services. Continue reading

Increasing Breastfeeding Support at Erie Family Health Centers

By Misty Romero, BA, RN, IBCLC and Hrishikesh T. Shetty, Institutional Giving Manager, Erie Family Health Centers 

Through NACCHO’s Building a Breastfeeding Support Model for Community Health Centers’ eight-month project, Erie Family Health Centers, a community health center network comprising 13 sites, was able to standardize and improve breastfeeding support throughout the organization and make services more accessible to patients. To reflect Erie’s mission and evidence-based medical practice, we updated our organization-wide breastfeeding and employee pumping policies and procedures to align with state and federal standards. We reconvened our internal workgroup; The Erie Breastfeeding Committee (EBC) and increased Erie’s organizational capacity by training our lactation specialists as trainers, who then trained more staff. Finally, we improved our clinic environment to be supportive of breastfeeding. Continue reading

Leveraging Partnerships and Strengthening Connections to Support Breastfeeding Families

By Erica Peterson, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Bluestem Health; Tami Frank, Partnership for Healthy Lincoln; and Karina Vargas, CLC, Bluestem Health

While the need to better support breastfeeding families in safety net clinics is well recognized, internal resources are often limited. Likewise, many community-based initiatives have difficulty engaging high- risk families who would benefit most from their efforts and supports. With funding from NACCHO’s initiative “Building a Breastfeeding Support Model for Community Health Centers”, the goal of the project’s cost-effective approach was to strengthen and leverage community partnerships, enhance internal systems, and provide ongoing training to all staff. Continue reading

Opioid Settlement Funds Must Go Where They’re Needed Most—Treatment and Prevention

By Dana Fields-Johnson, MPA, Program Manager and Sarah Mittermaier, Communications Coordinator, Prevention Institute 

As thousands of cities and counties hard-hit by the opioid crisis move closer to settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors, it’s time to talk about how communities can use these funds to meet urgent needs for treatment and invest in what it will truly take to stop this epidemic: preventing people from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place.

As we face up to the magnitude of the opioid crisis—estimated to have cost the U.S. over $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017, with a human toll that can’t be calculated—we need to learn from what has and hasn’t worked in past public health settlements and set more stringent parameters around how opioid settlement funds will be used. Continue reading

Streamlining Breastfeeding Support and Education in a Federally Qualified Health Center in New York City

By Lindsay DuBois, MPH, CLC, Associate Director; and Melissa Olson, RD, Nutritionist, Community Healthcare Network 

In New York City, we have witnessed staggering inequities in maternal health outcomes, which is largely driven by racial discrimination.[1] This inequity extends to breastfeeding rates. Through NACCHO’s Building a Breastfeeding Support Model for Community Health Center grant, Community Healthcare Network (CHN) implemented a project to improve organizational policies and practices to help increase breastfeeding rates within our low-income, African American community. This eight-month (February to September–2019) breastfeeding initiative was a multipronged approach to address the core tenets of breastfeeding: promotion, protection, and support within our network of health centers. Continue reading