Category Archives: community health

National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Building Community, Building Hope

By Margaret Carr, NACCHO Senior Program Assistant

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) encourages local health departments (LHDs) to engage their communities throughout the month of April in promoting child abuse prevention efforts. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the theme this year is Building Community, Building Hope.

Child Abuse and Violence

Child abuse and neglect continues to be a major public health issue in the United States. In 2014, 702,000 victims of child abuse and neglect were reported to child protective services.[i]

Children are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of violence. Early experiences and environments shape the architecture of children’s developing brains,[ii] which in turn influences the connections their brains make. For example, children who grow up in environments where they do not feel safe, learn to better recognize and respond to threats. As such, this can lead to an increased fight-or-flight response which can override other skills that enable non-violent conflict resolution. Exposure to child abuse and neglect as well as other traumatic stressors termed adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), lead to short- and long-term health and social problems.[iii] Violence is preventable and LHDs can work with their communities to ensure every child has the opportunity to grow up in a safe environment.

Child abuse is just one form of violence children may experience, however, the many forms of violence are related and often share root causes. Addressing the shared risk and protective factors for violence can prevent child abuse and violence across a life span.

The Role of Local Health Departments

LHDs play an essential role in preventing child abuse and creating a safe, healthy community for all of their residents. Interventions that include protective factors, which are those that reduce risk and encourage positive and healthy development, are proven to be successful.[iv] NACCHO’s resource, Local Health Department Efforts to Prevent Child Maltreatment highlights five evidenced-based parenting programs. LHDs can implement interventions such as home visiting and/or other parenting programs, which provide parents with the necessary skills to promote the health and well-being of their children. While these programs are beneficial, prevention efforts must go beyond individuals and families. LHDs can work with community partners (e.g. hospitals, schools, social services, non-profits) to change social norms and increase community connectedness for families. Reducing social isolation can reduce the risk for multiple forms of violence.[v] LHDs can help move the community to take collective responsibility for all children.

We encourage you to share child abuse prevention messages throughout the month of April!

Potential Messages to Share:

Resources:

 

[i] https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childmaltreatment/

[ii] http://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/brain-architecture/

[iii] https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/connecting_the_dots-a.pdf

[iv] https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/guide_2017.pdf

[v] https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/Strategic_Vision.pdf

Curbing Opioid Overdose Using Programmatic and Geospatial Data

By Kate Lena, MPH, Linkages to Care Coordinator, AHOPE Needle Exchange Program, Boston Public Health Commission

This is an excerpt from the 2017 NACCHO Exchange Winter Issue on opioids.

Opioid misuse is highly stigmatized and criminalized, making people who inject opioids an especially hard-to-reach, high-risk population and hampering public health surveillance efforts to understand the timing, circumstances, and proximate causes of overdose events. Boston Public Health Commission’s needle exchange program, AHOPE, has spent more than a decade working to overcome those obstacles. Launched in 2006, AHOPE—Massachusetts’s first community Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) pilot program—distributes harm reduction supplies to people who inject drugs.1 Continue reading

Commemorating American Heart Month: Resources and Strategies for LHDs

Claude JacobBy Claude-Alix Jacob, MPH, NACCHO President and Chief Public Health Officer for the Cambridge Public Health Department (MA)

The burden of cardiovascular disease poses significant risk to the health and well-being of our communities. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. According to the CDC, approximately 610,000 Americans die from heart disease—one in every four deaths. Someone dies from a heart disease-related event every minute in the United States.1 These statistics have dire consequences for the quality of life and vitality of our populations. Our nation also experiences these consequences economically: Heart disease costs the United States about $207 billion each year in healthcare services, medications, and lost productivity.1 Continue reading

A Look Back: The Best of NACCHO Preparedness

prep-highlights

By Anastasia Sonneman, NACCHO Communications Specialist

This story originally ran on NACCHO’s Preparedness Brief.

The year 2016 brought a whole new meaning to the importance of public health emergency preparedness. From the onset of Zika virus disease to international acts of violence related to terrorism, to the worst global migrant crisis since World War II, NACCHO has worked diligently in collaboration with many of its members and partners to enhance the capacity of local health departments (LHDs) to protect and increase the resiliency of their communities. As we enter the new year, many of NACCHO’s preparedness-related projects can still serve as a valuable resource to local preparedness staff. With this in mind, the NACCHO Preparedness team compiled the following list, highlighting a selection of the year’s featured programs, events, resources, and tools. Continue reading

Health and Disability Training: The Power to Transform Public Health

meredith-williamsBy Meredith Williams, MPH, 2015–2016 NACCHO Health and Disability Fellow

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Healthy People, Healthy Places.

This October, I had the privilege of representing the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Health and Disability Team at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Conference in Denver. As a former NACCHO Health and Disability Fellow, I was thrilled to see so much interest in our poster on health and disability training. My time at the conference gave me the chance to share my experiences with training, learn from national disability leaders in public health, and encourage professionals, students, and educators to join us in advancing this crucial field. Continue reading

Using Disease Intervention Specialists to Improve Linkages and Access to Care

By Carolyn Campbell, Anne Arundel County (MD) Health Department

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Stories from the Field.

Fifty-percent of people in the United States who are living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) reside in twelve of the nation’s cities. Frequently listed among the top six of these high-morbidity cities are Baltimore and Washington, DC. Anne Arundel County in Maryland is located immediately south of Baltimore, directly east of Washington, DC, and houses the state capital, Annapolis. Maryland ranked third in the United States for HIV diagnoses rates in 2013, and Anne Arundel County ranked fifth among Maryland jurisdictions for percentage of total newly diagnosed HIV cases. In addition, the county has the fourth highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis infections in Maryland. Anne Arundel is similar to many other counties in Maryland in its proximity to both Baltimore and Washington, DC and in its combination of residents– mixing rural, suburban, and urban populations and having a wide range of income levels. Continue reading

World AIDS Day 2016: Local Health Department Leadership, Commitment, and Impact

By Alyssa Kitlas, HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis Program Analyst, NACCHO 

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Healthy People Healthy Places.

The U.S. Government theme for World AIDS Day 2016 is “Leadership. Commitment. Impact.” These themes resonate strongly with the work local health departments (LHDs) do every day to address HIV in their communities.

LHDs are key leaders in providing and assuring access to HIV prevention, care, and treatment for the communities they serve. As community health strategists, LHDs facilitate collaboration between public health, healthcare, social services, and other key stakeholders, such as community organizations and small businesses, to achieve more integrated and effective systems for HIV prevention and care. Over the past few years, this leadership and collaborative work with community partners has led to the successful development of local and state plans for ending the HIV epidemic, such as those for Fulton County (GA), San Francisco (CA), Houston (TX), and the State of New York. The value of health department leadership for reducing new HIV infections and improving outcomes across the HIV care continuum was highlighted in a recent study to generate hypotheses to explain declines in HIV incidence in Massachusetts, North Carolina, San Francisco, and Seattle. Researchers found that the most unifying observation was that leadership within health departments is critical to achieving success. Continue reading