Category Archives: Uncategorized

Local Public Health Confronting Climate Change in Communities

By Kevin G. Sumner, MPH, NACCHO President and Health Officer and Director of the Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission in Green Brook, New Jersey

The effects of climate change are visible in communities across the country, from increasingly severe storms (e.g., the recent “bomb cyclone” in the Plains and Midwest) to more frequent wildfires, record-breaking floods, and prolonged heat waves. These extreme weather events and corresponding changes to the ecosystem threaten the public’s health.

As traditionally cooler regions experience warmer and longer summers, for example, mosquitoes and other vectors are migrating north and infecting populations previously not at risk. According to the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, vector-borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, including Lyme disease and West Nile virus, tripled from 2004 to 2016. Continue reading

Advancing Health Equity and Racial Justice: Emerging Lessons from Los Angeles County’s Community Prevention and Population Health Taskforce

By Manal J. Aboelata, MPH, Deputy Executive Director, Prevention Institute

Across the country, local jurisdictions are employing a variety of tactics to achieve health equity and racial justice. In 2016, as Los Angeles County prepared to integrate the departments of mental health, public health, and health services under a single health agency umbrella, the Board of Supervisors recognized the value in creating an advisory body that would tap into the knowledge and expertise of community-based organizations and LA County residents to elevate priorities, challenges, and opportunities to eliminate gaps in public health outcomes through a focus on the determinants of health and wellbeing. This profile details the early days of the Taskforce, including its efforts to embed community-based health equity perspectives into county decision-making and center racial justice within its focus on health equity. It also outlines the critical role of the local public health department in supporting the Taskforce. The aim of this profile is to provide those in and outside of LA with a snapshot of this nascent effort and emergent lessons for those interested in addressing health equity and racial justice by forging stronger ties between local government decision-makers and diverse organizational and community-based interests. Though it’s too early to claim “success”, this profile sheds light on some of the formative experiences of the Taskforce to inform those interested in testing similar approaches elsewhere and provide background for those seeking to contribute to the effort underway in LA County. Continue reading

How Local Health Departments with Moderate Resources Can Increase Active Transportation

By Karin Valentine Goins, MPH, Program Director, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a three-part series covering the Capabilities for Public Health Agency Involvement in Land Use and Transportation Decision Making to Increase Active Transportation Opportunity from the UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center. Read the first post here. Continue reading

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

Helping Hands for Houston: Disaster Relief and Recovery

As the flood waters continue to rise in Houston and rain batters New Orleans, NACCHO has put together a list of organizations accepting donations. As with any organization to whom people choose to donate, always do your own research before giving to any group; focus on local organizations with strong ties to the community; and demand accountability of the groups to which you donate. A good place to start when assessing a charity is Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org), an independent nonprofit that evaluates how well organizations perform financially and how efficiently they use the donations they receive. Some Houston charities involved with response and recovery are as follows, and thanks to Dylan Scott at Voxfor the information: Continue reading

Shifting Internal Policies and Systems to Create Breastfeeding Continuity of Care

By Carmen Vergara, RN, MPH (ESPERANZA HEALTH CENTERS) and Harumi Reis-Reilly, MS, CNS, CHES, IBCLC (NACCHO)  

Esperanza Health Centers, a former grantee of NACCHO’s Breastfeeding Initiative, is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) on the Southwest side of Chicago. The main population served is predominately low-income and Latino, and families in Esperanza’s service area experience significant economic, educational, and health inequities. Over 70% of area residents live 200% below the poverty level. Esperanza’s main services are adult primary care, pediatrics, prenatal care, and behavioral health. Additional public health services include programs related to children’s weight management, diabetes management, and physical activity. Continue reading

Public Health 3.0: A Challenge for the Nation, a Charge for Public Health


By LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Executive Director, NACCHO & Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

What will Public Health 3.0 — new model for building healthier communities across America — mean for the nation’s nearly 3,000 local public health departments (LHDs), as they face the ongoing challenge of tackling the full range of factors that influence each citizen’s overall health and well-being?  NACCHO and the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) are working together to define what this means in practical terms trying to help LHDs refine their efforts to address the social determinants of health in the communities in which they serve. Continue reading