Category Archives: preparedness

The Local Health Department Response to the Zika Virus: Lessons Learned and Looking Ahead

By Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, NACCHO President and Executive Director of Harris County Public Health in Houston, Texas

Local health departments (LHDs) have been on the front lines of responding to the Zika virus since its emergence as a public health threat in the United States (U.S.) more than two years ago. The virus, spread by Aedes aegypti (L.) and Ae. albopictus Skuse mosquitoes, carries adverse and costly health risks for pregnant women and their babies and has affected communities across the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2,395 pregnant women in the U.S. states and the District of Columbia have shown laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection to date. Additionally, NACCHO’s 2017 Forces of Change survey found that confirmed travel-related cases of Zika have been reported in nearly 90% of large LHD jurisdictions. LHDs incorporated a multi-pronged, One-Health approach to responding to the virus that included vector control, epidemiology, environmental public health, maternal and child health, community engagement, and advocacy activities. Continue reading

Influenza Season: Resources and Information for Local Health Departments

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Preparedness Brief.

Flu season is upon us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports increasing and widespread flu activity across the United States. According to CDC surveillance, influenza-like illness activity is higher than it was during the peak of the 2014-2015 flu season and so far hospitalization rates are similar to that same time period. Continue reading

Public Health Policy: What to Watch in 2018

NACCHO’s government affairs team has provided a forecast of what to expect in public health policy in 2018. The decisions made in Washington this year will have a major impact on local health departments and on the public’s health. As always, NACCHO members and staff will work together this year to be the voice of local health departments. Below is a short list of the top things to watch this year. For the full list, go to https://www.naccho.org/advocacy/news. Continue reading

Understanding the Changing Public Health Landscape: Findings from the 2017 Forces of Change Survey

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has released its 2017 Forces of Change report, The Changing Public Health Landscape, containing new findings on the forces that are affecting the nation’s local health departments (LHDs). LHDs face both challenges and opportunities as the public health environment evolves, and the Forces of Change survey helps to identify infrastructure gaps, as well as strategies for strengthening public health capacity. Continue reading

National Preparedness Month: We Have the Power to Prepare

By Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, NACCHO President and Executive Director of Harris County Public Health

This September marks the fourteenth annual National Preparedness Month, created to raise public awareness about the importance of preparedness and encourage Americans to plan for emergencies. Each year during the month of September, more than 3,000 national, state, and local organizations commemorate National Preparedness Month by promoting guidance and resources that help communities effectively prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and other catastrophic events. Ultimately, National Preparedness Month helps to ensure every resident in our nation has the skills they need to protect themselves and their families during an emergency. Continue reading

The Medical Reserve Corps – An Interview with Leaders Captain Rob Tosatto and Commander Skip Payne

The following is an excerpt from the summer 2017 issue of NACCHO Exchange. The issue features in-depth articles about the work of Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) units across the country. In this condensed article, NACCHO explores the history and significance of the MRC program in an interview with program leaders Captain Rob Tosatto and Commander Skip Payne. Read the full article and download the issue in the NACCHO Bookstore at http://eweb.naccho.org/prd/?na766pdf.

By Brennan J. Leddy, M.A.Ed (Ctr), Communications Specialist, Medical Reserve Corps Program, Partner Readiness and Emergency Programs Division, Office of Emergency Management, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Medical Reserve Corps is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities. This year, the MRC celebrates its 15-year anniversary! Continue reading

NACCHO and ASPR Recognize Significant Contributions of Local Health Departments Advancing National Health Security

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Preparedness Brief blog.

Local health departments’ day-to-day operations impact National Health Security across the country. Every time local health officials run a vaccination clinic, spearhead a disease prevention campaign, or deliver life saving provisions to disaster survivors, their work directly contributes to advancing the nation’s health security. In fact, everything local health departments do aims to improve the health of people in their community, and healthier people are more likely to survive a disaster and make a faster recovery. That’s what national health security is all about: creating a resilient nation through sustained health outcomes as a result of effective prevention, preparedness, and response efforts. Continue reading