Local Health Department Engagement in Teen Driver Safety Week

In 2015, 2,333 teens (ages 16 to 19) were killed in motor vehicle crashes; that is six teens dying from motor vehicle injuries every day.1 Per mile driven, teen drivers are almost three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.1 Among teen drivers, those most at risk for crashes are males, teens driving with teen passengers, and newly licensed teens.1

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) encourages local health departments (LHDs) to engage their communities in prevention activities during Teen Driver Safety Week (October 15–21). Placing a focus on parents and schools is a great way to engage families of teens. 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

Incoming NACCHO President Dr. Umair A. Shah Shares How His Health Department Uses the Principles of Innovation, Engagement, and Equity to Advance Population Health

Interview by Lindsay Tiffany, Lead of Publications, NACCHO

On July 1, Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director of Harris County Public Health in Houston, became NACCHO’s President. Dr. Shah is a long-standing and enthusiastic member of NACCHO and has served on a variety of different advisory groups including the Health Equity and Social Justice Committee, the Global Health Workgroup, the Media Champions Network, and the Finance Committee. He has also represented NACCHO in a number of national initiatives, providing the voice of local public health. He has served on NACCHO’s Board of Directors since 2014. He recently spoke to NACCHO Voice about his career path, the challenges that keep him up at night, and how his agency is using innovative, non-traditional approaches to create the local health department of tomorrow. Continue reading

Member Spotlight: Cincinnati Health Department’s Denisha Porter Discusses Her Agency’s Path to Accreditation and Highlights Her Community Health Promotion Successes

Interview by Taylarr Lopez, Communications Specialist, NACCHO

NACCHO’s Member Spotlight series features interviews with local health department leaders and staff about their careers in public health. This interview features Denisha Porter, MPH, Director of Health Promotion and Worksite Wellness and the Creating Healthy Communities Program at the Cincinnati Health Department. She is also a member of NACCHO’s Board of Directors. Below she shares how she worked with the local housing authority to implement smoke-free multi-unit housing for 13,000 residents and discusses her department’s efforts to achieve accreditation.

Tell us about your career path in public health.

I went to Miami University in Ohio to pursue a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and found out about public health through my minor study, medical sociology. During one of my classes, a wall advertisement for a graduate program in public health caught my eye but I didn’t immediately act on it. After I received my undergraduate degree, I worked as a health unit coordinator in the bone marrow transplant division at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health. Unfortunately, during this time I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer but was grateful that I was surrounded by the best doctors in cancer medicine and treatment. Thankfully, I was able to have my thyroid removed and I was cleared of any signs of cancer. Those circumstances really shaped my passion for public health and gave me that final push to attend Wright State University to obtain my master’s in public health. 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

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

Evaluating Health Impact Assessment and the Role of Funding for Local Health Departments

By Ali Aslam, NACCHO Environmental Health Intern

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Healthy People, Healthy Places blog.

In June 2017, NACCHO released a new report titled Evaluation of Technical Assistance for Local Health Departments. This report is part of NACCHO’s ongoing evaluation of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) at local health departments to examine implementation practices, common challenges, and resource gaps. The report provides practical recommendations for local health departments administering HIA and national organizations that support HIA at the local level. NACCHO’s evaluation showed that funding and staff time were the most significant barriers for local health departments conducting HIA. Furthermore, local health departments with HIA funding were shown to prioritize HIA activities while having a higher capacity than their non-funded counterparts. Continue reading