Category Archives: Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck

The Disaster Divide: Opportunities for Rebuilding Communities

By Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

Think back to the nightmare of Hurricane Katrina. Those tragic images of high waters and despair. Broken levees. Survivors desperately searching to find missing relatives while struggling to reach higher ground. Victims stranded on rooftops waiting to be airlifted to safety. The chaotic overcrowding of temporary shelters like the Superdome in Louisiana.

Now think about the more recent Ebola virus threat. Hospital workers donning protective spacesuits. Government-imposed travel restrictions and citizens forced into home quarantine. Lacking even basic information, nearly every community across the globe feared the deadly contagion. Worse yet was the situation at the epicenter of the epidemic in Central West Africa, where thousands of infected and dying people were overwhelming small hospitals ill-equipped to handle the surge. Continue reading

Helping Our Communities Kick the Cigarette Habit – The Great American Smokeout Is November 17, 2016

By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

On Nov. 17, local health departments (LHDs) will join the chorus of public health and healthcare organizations urging smokers to quit for just one day as part of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout campaign. LHDs will lead the charge in their communities by providing evidence-based support and information. According to the American Cancer Society, “By quitting – even for 1 day – smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.” Continue reading

Mass Incarceration and Racism Policy

By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

According to civil rights attorney and former Stanford University Law Professor Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, there are currently more black men in prison or jail, on probation, or on parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.

The United States holds the dubious distinction of incarcerating more individuals than any other nation. According the latest Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics, approximately 2.2 million men and women are currently imprisoned. The U.S. rate is nearly 5 to 10 times higher than rates in Western Europe and other democracies. Continue reading

Preparedness Month 2016: Raising Local Awareness this September and Beyond

By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

September marks National Preparedness Month, a golden opportunity for local health department (LHD) and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Unit leaders, staff, and volunteers to highlight the importance of public health preparedness. Whether it is a natural disaster, like the current flooding in New Orleans, or a sudden disease outbreak, like the Zika virus, raising awareness about preparedness, its various components, and the role of LHDs, MRC Units, other agencies, and community members is crucial to ensuring the health and safety of our nation. LHDs and MRC Units—typically leading the charge in the wake of a public health emergency—stand to particularly benefit in two big ways by celebrating Preparedness Month. First, they can pique community interest in emergency planning and response activities in September, and ultimately inspire residents to be vigilant and engaged in preparedness efforts throughout the year.

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A Historic Event for the Public Health – FDA Regulation of E-Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products

By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

We are never short of hyperbole here in the nation’s capital. Even run-of-the-mill decisions by the powers that be are hailed as breakthroughs. Perhaps we are so accustomed to political log jams in this city we’re stunned when anything is accomplished. However, on May 6, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ruling that is truly historic.

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NACCHO Annual: A Can’t-Miss Learning Opportunity for Local Health Department Leaders and Staff

By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

NACCHO Annual is one of the highlights of my year. While my staff and I work diligently year-round to ensure NACCHO is a leader, partner, catalyst, and voice for local health departments (LHDs), I get to experience the energy, hard work, and dedication of our members firsthand at NACCHO Annual. In no other venue is passion for improving health and well-being at the local level as palpable. The conference brings together leaders from across the country—from small, rural counties to large, urban cities and everything in between. In talking to a variety of LHD leaders and staff, I’ve noticed that their stories all reflect a core commitment to creating healthier and safer communities. Perhaps more important than any new model practice or insightful takeaway, I value NACCHO Annual for the renewed sense of inspiration, connection, and purpose it brings me. Continue reading

Earth Day 2016: Addressing the Health Effects of Climate Change at the Local Level

By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO

Celebrating Earth Day provides an opportunity for local health department (LHD) leaders and staff to reflect on and plan for the health effects of climate change. Climate change is already having global impacts; LHDs are on the front lines of ensuring the health and safety of their communities and will face a plethora of local-level challenges brought on by climate change in the future.

Climate change will significantly impact the health of communities. The World Health Organization estimates that between 2030 and 2050, climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year.1 Climate change is predicted to bring about an increase in heat-related illnesses; poorer air quality; an increase in droughts, forest fires, and brush fires; and more frequent and intense storms and floods. It will also affect issues such as food security and water-, food-, and insect-borne diseases. Continue reading