Category Archives: community health

Faith-Based Community Establishes Church Policies to Battle Cardiovascular Disease Health Disparities in Omaha, Nebraska

Black churches are answering the call to action to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities associated with cardiovascular disease by establishing Policy, System and Environment (PSE) changes. Through an expanded partnership with the Omaha Million Hearts® 2022 in Municipalities Project, the Omaha faith-based community will be able to sustain efforts in reducing cardiovascular disease. Continue reading

NACCHO Exchange Summer 2018: Breastfeeding

The summer 2018 issue of NACCHO Exchange showcases the ways in which local health departments are implementing policy, systems, and environment changes to increase breastfeeding rates in their communities. Below is an excerpt from the issue.

By Emily Bernard, IBCLC, NACCHO Consultant; Harumi Reis-Reilly, MS, LDN, CHES, IBCLC, Lead Program Analyst, Breastfeeding Project, NACCHO; and Nikia Fuller-Sankofa, MPH, MPA, Director, Breastfeeding Project, NACCHO

Breastfeeding in the Community: Using Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change Strategies to Facilitate Continuity of Care

Background
Leading health agencies in the United States recognize breastfeeding as a public health priority, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Suboptimal breastfeeding has significant public health implications. Because human milk contains unreplaceable immunomodulation properties and live substances including antibodies, hormones, and enzymes that are not found in breast milk substitutes, infants who are not breastfed do not receive the same protection against illnesses.1 Not breastfeeding also increases the mother’s risk of several diseases, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes. Infants who are not breastfed have higher rates of diarrhea, necrotizing enterocolitis, otitis media, sudden infant death syndrome, obesity, and childhood leukemia.2 Annually, suboptimal breastfeeding contributes to 3,340 excess deaths, with medical costs totaling $3 billion and the costs of premature death totaling $14.2 billion.3 Continue reading

Florida Epidemiologists Combating HAIs by Becoming CIC Certified

By Luz Caicedo, MPH, CPH, CIC and Danielle Walden, MPH, Florida Department of Health in Orange County

In 2018, the Florida Department of Health (Department), Health Care-Associated Infections (HAI) Infection Prevention Program, in collaboration with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange), established the HAI Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC) Study Group.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that in 2011 there were an estimated 722,000 HAIs in U.S. acute-care hospitals. Approximately 75,000 of those patients with HAIs died during hospitalization. Public health surveillance, prevention and response are key to reducing the number of HAIs in local communities. Currently, health department involvement in HAI prevention is primarily through surveillance of reportable diseases and conditions as well as HAI outbreak response. According to CDC, outbreaks in health care settings are often attributed to failures in infection control practices or contaminated equipment or medications. It is important for public health staff to be knowledgeable in infection prevention and control. One of the key challenges for HAI prevention and response for public health staff is access to education and training on infection control. Based on a recent survey, 10 out of 104 (9.6%) epidemiology public health staff members in the Department hold the CIC credential. This low prevalence illustrates the need to implement a strategy to increase education and training in infection control for public health staff. Continue reading

Allegheny County Health Department Assesses Antibiotic Stewardship

By Kristen Mertz, MD, MPH, Allegheny County Health Department, Pennsylvania

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

Overuse and misuse of antibiotics contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic resistant organisms, which are estimated to cause over 20,000 deaths each year in the United States. Bacteria that were once easy to treat are developing resistance to antibiotics, leading to more severe and more costly infections. Continue reading

Foreword: Exploring the Public Health and Healthcare Connection to Advance Population Health

By E. Oscar Alleyne, DrPH, MPH, Senior Advisor for Public Health Programs, NACCHO

The following is an excerpt from the winter issue of NACCHO Exchange.

Introduction

Historically, America’s public health and healthcare systems have worked in isolation from one another. But as our nation continues to face complex and cross-cutting threats to population health, it is more important than ever to identify and advance the connection between public health and healthcare. Recently, public health has witnessed several benefits from bridging the two sectors. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, enacted by the U.S. Congress in 2010, marked the greatest revolution in U.S. health policy since the 1960s. The law established the first National Prevention Strategy,1 added new funding for prevention and public health programs, promoted the use of clinical preventive services and other measures, and provided the impetus for greater collaboration across the health system. In fact, since the release of the Institute of Medicine’s 2012 report, Primary Care and Public Health: Exploring Integration to Improve Population Health, there has been an uptick in initiatives that support the creation of linkages across public health and healthcare to address national health priorities. Continue reading

Dakota County Public Health Builds on Breastfeeding Program to Create Rapid Referral System

By Harumi Reis-Reilly, MS, LDN, CHES, IBCLC, Lead Program Analyst, NACCHO, and Katie Galloway, MBA, RD, LD, IBCLC, Dakota County WIC Program

Dakota County Public Health Department (DCPHD) in Minnesota, a 2017 NACCHO Model Practice awardee, built upon their comprehensive breastfeeding program and implemented a rapid referral system to expand access to critical lactation care to low-income families. Through the Reducing Breastfeeding Disparities through Peer and Professional Support grant, DCPHD increased participation by 68% in prenatal breastfeeding classes and more than doubled their rapid-response lactation visits. Continue reading

Responding to Youth Violence as a Public Health Problem

By Linda McGlone, MPH, STRYVE Coordinator, Monterey County Health Department, California

Looking at youth violence through a public health lens, the Monterey County Health Department contributed to violence reduction by offering their skills in data, strategic planning, and the public health approach.

In 2011, Salinas, California was a small city with a big city problem: gang violence. The violent crime rate for Salinas was 732.5 crimes per 100,000 residents – higher than Los Angeles’ rate of 522.4. For decades, gang-related shootings caused most of the city’s violent injuries. Monterey County had the highest rate of youth homicides in California in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. Salinas is a city of 150,854 residents, 75% of whom are Hispanic or Latino. This is a young community, with a high percentage of families living below the federal poverty level, organizing to become a healthy and thriving community. The Monterey County Health Department (MCHD) recognized youth violence as a public health problem, and we saw that primary prevention was lacking from the community’s response. How could this perspective gain traction in a discussion led largely by law enforcement? Continue reading