Category Archives: general

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 Essential Elements blog.

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

Parents Need Support to Prevent Youth Violence

By Alyssa Banks, Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support, Minnesota

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

Parent support group programs can be an effective strategy to teach caregivers necessary skills to better parent at-risk youth. Poor parenting can have many negative effects on families and children. For example, it can create a lack of communication in families and thus letting the children go down a path that is self-destructive or involved with violence. The Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support has supported many parent support group programs through the City’s Blueprint for Action to Prevent Youth Violence initiative. These programs aim to strengthen families and help parents and caregivers to provide the best environment for healthy youth development. The programs are also particularly effective because they are culturally specific and focus on the unique needs of each community. Continue reading

Local Health Departments Mark National Public Health Week 2016 and Look Ahead to 2030

3535. NPHW webThe following post was originally published on NACCHO’s Healthy People, Healthy Places blog.For more information about environmental health and infectious disease, visit http://essentialelements.naccho.org/.

During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW) as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. This year, NPHW is April 4–10 and the theme is “Healthiest Nation 2030.”

Today, Americans are living 20 years longer than their grandparents’ generations, yet more work is needed to promote optimal conditions that will give everyone the opportunity to be healthy in 2030 and beyond. NPHW 2016 highlights the need to build safe, healthy communities with a foundation of social justice for all, in addition to providing access to quality healthcare. This week also emphasizes factors beyond traditional health, such as how at least a high school education allows people to have increased opportunities to earn a livable wage and have improved access to safe, healthy food. In addition, protecting our work, school, and home environments has a profound impact on our health. Together, these conditions set the stage for a healthier nation in just 14 years, if we work to prioritize them.

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NACCHO Releases 2015 Annual Report

2015-annual-reportNACCHO has released its 2015 Annual Report, which focuses on the association’s considerable accomplishments last year. Among its achievements, NACCHO increased membership, expanded program funding, and advocated vigorously on behalf of its members. It produced 100 publications, hosted 14 workshops, created 43 webinars, and provided 1,000 hours of one-on-one technical assistance to local health departments. A total of 86 visits to Capitol Hill and 21 new or updated policy statements rounded out NACCHO’s growing footprint, both in Washington, DC, and around the country. NACCHO’s work informs, supports, and gives voice to its local health department members, who serve their communities with increasing skill and breadth of services. Together, NACCHO and its members are advancing local public health across the nation. Read the report at http://naccho.org/communications/newsroom/naccho-annual-report.

NACCHO Launches Newly Designed Website to Enhance Member Services and Deliver Population Health

websiteNACCHO launched its newly designed website to make its rich array of resources and information more accessible to its members, partners, and visitors in enhancing population health. The new site’s functionality will also allow NACCHO to drive member engagement, maximize retention rates, and increase organizational relevancy. Continue reading

How One Award-Winning LHD Successfully Expanded Services for Homeless Veterans

Interview by Ian Goldstein, Web and New Media Specialist, NACCHO

NACCHO’s LHD of the Year Award recognizes and honors outstanding accomplishments of local health departments (LHDs) across the country for their innovation, creativity, and impact on communities. Whatcom County (WA) Health Department is the winner of NACCHO’s 2014 Local Health Department of the Year Award in the medium-sized jurisdiction category for its initiative to house and expand services for homeless veterans. The following is an excerpt from a recent podcast in which NACCHO interviewed Regina Delahunt, MS, REHS, Director, Whatcom County Health Department.

NACCHO: Tell us about your policy and why you wanted to apply for NACCHO’s LHD of the Year Award.

Delahunt: We applied because the award’s focus was on policy development. About five years ago, we made conscious decision in our health jurisdiction to focus on more upstream policy-level change, especially policies that affect the social determinants of health. We applied because we have had quite a bit of success with the policy-level change. We wanted to showcase one of our biggest successes and recognize all of our partners because we could not do this on our own. We also wanted to share our experience with other health jurisdictions so that maybe their road to policy development would be a little bit easier. Continue reading

Local Health Official Interview: Winifred M. Holland of the Florida Department of Health in Clay County

Holland, WWinifred M. Holland, MPH, MA, LMHC, Health Officer, Florida Department of Health in Clay County, has spent more than 30 years in public health. In this interview, Holland discusses her career path, the challenges of maintaining the fiscal viability of her LHD, and the rewards of working on teen pregnancy prevention programs.

  • Please tell us about your professional background and how you got to where you are today.

I have been a public health professional for over 30 years. My initial degree is in secondary education but once I was exposed to public health, it became my passion. Continue reading