Public Health Talks

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#Pubht Chat 9/12: e-Cigarettes & Public Health

Reduction of tobacco use was one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th Century. Use of public health law and regulation played a significant role in the decline of the use of cigarettes and their social acceptability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette use has declined in recent years, but use of other tobacco products has increased. In 2015, 9.3% of high school students had smoked cigarettes, yet 25.3% said they had smoked any tobacco product — and 16% had smoked e-cigarettes specifically (Image courtesy of CDC.gov).


The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated cigarettes, smokeless, and roll your own tobacco. However, on August 8, FDA finalized a new rule to regulate all tobacco products.


This new rule has come with opposition from the tobacco industry and led to the development of legislation to attempt to block the rule. During this #pubht chat, we will discuss the public health implications of e-Cigarettes and tobacco products more broadly. We will also cover the role of law in public health. Please join us on Twitter using #pubht at 9pm EST on Monday, September 12.


In the summer of 2008, I was an intern at the American Diabetes Association, advocating for the more than 29.1 million of Americans with type 1, 2, and gestational diabetes in the United States. That summer wasn’t like just any other summer. It was a summer that inspired me, showed me the essence of walking in other individual’s shoes, and reminded me of it’s not what you do, it’s how you do to help others that is the essence of our existence in this world. It wBush_signs_in_ADA_of_1990as the summer of the amendments Act for the American with Disabilities Act. The amendment was an extension to the original ADA passed in 1990. The focus of the amendment act was to further extend ADA’s protection to a greater number of individuals with disabilities. The entire process leading to the congressional hearing was full of excitement. As part of the disabilities coalition, I met with other advocates from all circles of the disabilities world. I heard stories from mothers with children with disabilities, I heard from individuals in the disabilities world and their struggles to conquer in a world that threw them obstacles along the way, I heard from congressional members with personal stories of their own, the list went on and on… The fact is, that disabilities impact all members of the American family; it is a bipartisan issue. We can all relate because no matter what your political party, you, a family member, or a friend has a condition that has challenged them along the way, pulling extra obstacles in one’s life path. This is why this amendment act was so important. But before the amendment act, there was the original ADA.

On July 26, 1990, the ADA was signed into a law by President George H. W. Bush. It became a civil rights law that prohibited discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, not excluding jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

Last week marked the 26th anniversary of the ADA. I couldn’t be more proud that this law exists. A beacon of hope that establishes that DISABILITIES RIGHTS, ARE CIVIL RIGHTS.

On Monday, August 1st, we celebrate and commemorate the ADA by learning, advocating, and furthering our support for it. Please join us as we return to our regular Monday chat, and discuss the importance of the ADA and how it strengthens the fabric of our great nation!

All resources on the ADA: https://www.ada.gov/

June 6: #PubHT Guest Expert Chat on Health Healthy Homes & Environmental Hazards

Our next #pubht chat will focus on environmental hazards within the home, as June marks the first annual National Healthy Homes Month, an observance organized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (@HUDgov). A guest expert from HUD plans to join us for this chat.


National Healthy Homes Month (#NHHM2016, #HealthyHomesMonth, #HUDHealthyHomes) is an outreach campaign designed to create awareness about and action around home health and safety hazards and to empower families to learn how to create the healthiest home possible for their family. This month-long celebration offers an opportunity to learn more about housing and its impact on health and provides resources to encourage local activities as well as empowers families to protect themselves from hazards in their home.

Some key issues relevant to keeping a healthy healthy homes, and issues for our forthcoming chat include:

  • Childhood lead poisoning prevention
  • Residential asthma intervention
  • Smoke free public housing
  • Safe indoor pest control
  • Radon Safety
  • Disaster Recovery

Please join us on Monday, June 6th at 9PM ET for a #PubHT chat on healthy homes and environmental hazards with guest expert, Warren Friedman!


5/2: #PubHT Guest Expert Chat on Injury & Violence Prevention

What are injuries and violence, and how can they be prevented? Is the topic of our next #pubht chat. 

April was Injury Prevention month and to continue the discussion in May we’re organizing our next #PubHT chat to focus on this important topic. Joining us is guest expert Dr. Debra Houry, Director of the National Injury Prevention and Control at CDC.

Injuries and violence can include anything from motor vehicle crashes, falls, burns, homicides, suicides, poisonings, and more. The matter of fact is, that while it affects everyone, they can be prevented and their consequences can be reduced. The CDC has done over 20 years of research in prevention strategies for injury and violence; of which many have contributed to public health preventions strategies.  For example:

  • Seat belt campaign and strategies have saved almost 255,000 lives
  • Violence preventions strategies through school-based programs have reduced violence by 29 percent among high school students and 15 percent across all grade levels.
About CDC’s Injury Center|Injury Center|CDC. (2016). Cdc.gov. Retrieved 30 April 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/injury/about/index.html

Please join us on Monday, May 2nd at 9 PM ET for a #PubHT chat on injury and violence prevention with guest expert, Dr. Debra Houry!

debhoury2015_165x210Debra Houry, MD, MPH, is the Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) at CDC. In this role, Dr. Houry leads innovative research and science-based programs to prevent injuries and violence and to reduce their consequences. She joined the CDC in October 2014. She has previously served as Vice-Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and as Associate Professor in the Departments of Behavioral Science and Health Education and in Environmental Health at the Rollins School of Public Health. Dr. Houry also served as an Attending Physician at Emory University Hospital and Grady Memorial Hospital and as the Director of Emory Center for Injury Control. Her prior research has focused on injury and violence prevention in addition to the interface between emergency medicine and public health, and the utility of preventative health interventions and screening for high-risk health behaviors. She has received several national awards for her work in the field of injury and violence prevention.

Dr. Houry received the first Linda Saltzman Memorial Intimate Partner Violence Researcher Award from the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma and the Academy of Women in Academic Emergency Medicine’s Researcher Award. She is past president of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research, and Emory University Senate. Dr. Houry has served on numerous other boards and committees within the field of injury and violence prevention. She has authored more than 90 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters on injury prevention and violence. Dr. Houry received her MD and MPH degrees from Tulane University and completed her residency training in emergency medicine at Denver Health Medical Center.

April 4th Chat on Health Equity

As we celebrate National Public Health Week (#NPHW) and National Minority Health Month (#NMHM16), join #Pubht for a discussion on health equity at 9pm ET on Monday, April 4. 


What is health equity? And why does it matter?

Health equity can be achieve when everyone has the opportunity to attain their full health potential and are not disadvantaged because of socially determined circumstances. Health disparities can unfairly disadvantage certain groups of people due to social, environmental or economic factors. Public health is largely built upon these broad social determinants of health. These determinants can influence where a person is born, where they work, who they are friends with etc. In public health, where we are concerned with the health of the entire community, such disparities cause great concern and can create adverse effects on community health outcomes.


About National Minority Health Month

April is National Minority Health Month, and this year, the theme of the month is “Accelerating Health Equity for the Nation.” The HHS Office of Minority Health has invited groups across the country to raise awareness of the health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities– and that is the goal of #pubht’s chat on this topic.


Zika Chat 3/7: Blame those pesky mosquitoes again

A new, but not so new, virus is in town (well some towns), and it’s called Zika! You’re


Source: Ynet News

probably quite aware given the media’s heavy focus on it, but while Googling gives us the background, so many questions remain for the public health and medical community.



Zika 101:

  • Date discovered: 1947, discovered in rhesus monkeys in Uganda; and in 1952 in humans in Uganda and Tanzania.  
  • Source: Aedes mosquitoes
  • Transmission: Mosquito bites and sexual transmission
  • Incubation period: Not clear, but could be a few days
  • Symptoms: Flu like symptoms, similar to dengue. Includes: fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, skin rashes, etc.
  • Complication: Several autoimmune and neurological conditions reported, some of which were Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly in babies
  • Vaccination: Nope not yet, but the science community is working on it! Recently, Google donated $1 million to UNICEF to raise awareness, and work on discovering a vaccination for it amongst other things.

Zika can cause microcephaly; a birth defect that causes a baby’s head to be smaller than babies of the same age and sex. Source for picture: CDC 

Recent cases have been reported in Central and South American countries. There are currently no reports of mosquito transmission of Zika in the US; however, reported cases have been associated with persons who have travelled abroad. As a preventive measure, experts recommend using mosquito repellents that contain DEET. In addition, mosquito control and reduction has been recommended in some regions.
There is so much more to learn about Zika and what better way than in our online public health community, #PubHT! Come join us on Monday, March 7th at 9 PM ET as we share information, swap stories/current efforts, and build on each other’s knowledge. See you then!

February is American Heart Month

On Monday, February  1, join us at 9:00pm ET as we discuss heart health. Use #pubht to join the conversation. As a reminder, #pubht now only meets the first Monday of each month, so don’t miss out on the upcoming discussion on Twitter. 

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.? Each year, 1 in 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, #pubht is proudly participating in American Heart Month by dedicating our February chat to this public health issue.


You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
  • Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get active and eat healthy.

Beyond making personal behavior changes, let’s look to prevent heart disease within our communities. As you may know, Million Hearts® is a national initiative with an ambitious goal to prevention 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. As part of this effort, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged individuals and communities to “Make Control Your Goal.” What they mean by this is focus on controlling high blood pressure, the leading cause of heart disease and strong. More than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, and this increases their likelihood to die of stroke and heart disease. As communities look to address high blood pressure, the following steps could be taken:

  • Engage healthcare providers in the fight against high blood pressure. Encourage them to talk with their patients about how they can set attainable goals to lower blood pressure.
  • Create smoke-free environments and offer opportunities for those who are smoking to quit.
  • Promote information about healthy eating and lifestyle, which includes reduction of sodium intake. Learn more about AHA’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative.

For more information about heart disease prevention before joining our chat, consider reviewing these resources:

  • Million Hearts® – http://millionhearts.hhs.gov
  • American Heart Association – http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
  • CDC – http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/ and http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm

Photo courtesy of health finder.gov. 





1/4 #PubHT Chat: CDC’s 6 public health threats in focus for 2016


via Community Development Society

#PubHT kicked off its first chat of the year with the topic  “CDC’s 6 public health threats in focus for 2016.” Some chat participants were surprised by this list, while others agreed that these threats are of the greatest priority for the agency. Can you guess what items  are on this list?

In no particular order [see full descriptions here]:

  • Ebola: in this area, CDC’s priority for 2016 is to set up three permanent offices in West African countries most impacted by the outbreak. Those countries include Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. In addition, CDC will  provide support to the African Union so that they may set up their own centers for disease control.
  • Antibiotic Resistance: CDC did a lot of work in this area in 2015 by way of releasing the National Action Plan to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. In 2016, the agency plans on continuing this work and providing a report that will provide best practices in human medicine.
  • Global Health Security: in this area, the highlight in 2015 was the release of the Global Health Security Agenda. This agenda provides a 30-country commitment to achieving the targets provided in GHSA. The 2016 initiative will be to create a five-year roadmap to help reach those established goals.
  • Tobacco: 2015 was a strong year in this area with CDC’s campaign “Tips from Former Smokers.” This strong campaign will continue into 2016 with the hopes of continuing to curb tobacco use by teens.
  • Prescription Drug Overdose: this is a major issue across many states in the US, and the agency made it a priority to release the Prevention for States program in 2015. This program entailed many valuable resources to detect and prevent opioid deaths in qualifying states. For the new year, the agency plans to release new prescribing guidelines for opioids as well as continue the expansion of the Prevention for States program.
  • Lab Safety: 2015 was a great year of progress in this area with a new Office of the Associate Director for Laboratory Science and Safety and the first year for the Laboratory Leadership Service fellowship. In 2016, the agency hopes to collect as many best practices to lower risk as much as possible.

The chat brought together a diverse array of public health professionals and enthusiast. See what they had to say about this list and to find new resources and ideas that you can implement into your own work.

Please note: #PubHT is switching to a one chat per month schedule from January onwards. You can catch us live every first Monday of the month on Twitter. Stay tuned for great topics in 2016 and as a reminder we’re always open to your ideas!

More than the Sum of Their Parts: How Public Health and Primary Care are More Together

On December 7, 2015 at 9:00 Eastern, join #pubht for a Twitter “brainstorm” to share how you are working with primary care and identify collaborative paths going forward. 

Public health and primary care practitioners share the same goal: to improve health. Primary care works downstream while public health works upstream – but we both want to solve problems and improve health. Neither of us can do that alone.

There is no treatment, pill, or vaccine to address the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables to support a healthy diet, limited options for physical activity, exposures to environmental toxins, or the disproportionate distribution of alcohol and tobacco advertising and outlets. These are the community-level drivers of the diseases that plague population health and are responsible for much of US healthcare spending.


If we are to improve health across the board, public health and primary care professionals must start to see their work as components of an integrated health system, spanning clinic and community. Borrowing from the American Academy of Family Physicians’ 2014 policy statement, Integration of Primary Care and Public Health Position Paper, two areas where we can be collaborating more effectively for significant returns on investment are health data/analytics and aligned health messaging.

Data and Analytics

Would you buy a house without an inspection or a stock without knowing its history? Probably not. Before making these important decisions you would want all the information available to make a complete picture.

In health, we work without the complete picture all the time. Public health practitioners AND primary care providers have to make important decisions without all the relevant information.

Clinicians have detailed information about each of their patients but limited information on the communities and contexts in which they live. Public health practitioners have deep information on communities, but little access to real time, geographically specific disease information.

It doesn’t have to be this way. If we were able to share data more effectively, we could use it to improve health more quickly – for the individual and for our communities.

Clinical Data to Public Health Practitioners

Today, chronic disease surveillance focuses on collecting data at national and state levels when often the most actionable information is at the neighborhood level or even smaller area. These data are also often released years after data collection takes place limiting their benefit to planning and intervention efforts.  This absence of information has left local health departments unable to accurately monitor the health status of their communities.

The good news is that the proliferation of electronic health records (EHRs) presents opportunities for the systematic collection and analysis of large-scale health care data to inform public health practice. The increase in EHR adoption — along with the proliferation of other electronically captured data — creates a new resource for timely and geographically specific data.

In Texas, Children’s Optimal Health project uses individual-level data from multiple sources such as school districts, health care providers, and police to identify obesity problems and potential solutions at the neighborhood level. Examples of mapping data collected by clinicians can also be found in Colorado and San Diego, California. In each of these examples, clinical data is being used by public health practitioners to support policy, develop strategies, and improve population health.

Community Information to Clinicians

When you see the doctor, he or she issues the best possible recommendations based on what you tell them about your health and what they can observe. Maybe you could stand to lose a few pounds. A clinician would probably tell you “Eat better!” or “Incorporate exercise into your daily routine!” – but that isn’t helpful for people who live in food deserts or high crime areas. Integrating contextual information about your neighborhood and everyday risks to your health back into the EHR would provide a richer clinical picture and (more importantly) allows your doctor to make more useful recommendations.

A great example of this is pediatrician Dr. Robert Zarr, who collaborated with the DC Department of Health to create a database of green spaces in Washington, DC. This tool was integrated it into Unity Health Care’s electronic health records, allowing providers to share this information with patients who were in need of physical activity.

Primary care physician Dr. Jeffrey Brenner constructed a searchable database and map of discharge data from all patients at Camden (NJ) hospitals and discovered that a very small number of patients consumed a large share of the overall costs of health care and social supports. This information led to new strategies and the creation of new primary care access points, reducing overutilization of emergency room services.

Data Flow Graphic

We need to make these exceptions the rule. Otherwise, we will fail to make progress in population health.

Aligned Health Messaging

Primary care providers have a unique opportunity to build relationships and trust with their patients. As a result, primary care can, at times, communicate more effectively with patients regarding personal health and more directly regarding population health issues, an asset to be leveraged in partnership with public health.

Public health has the tools to continue health messaging at the community level. Stop smoking! Use a condom! Get immunized! Buckle up! These are all familiar messages from public health campaigns, which are complemented by community relationships. For example, barbers in African-American communities have been trained to provide health education messages related to HIV/AIDS and colorectal cancer screening.

Primary care and public health will each be more effective in improving health if their messages reinforce each other; i.e. jointly developing messaging and coordinating their responses. For example, every spring, as the weather begins to entice neighbors out onto their bikes, primary care could elevate bike safety in conversations around exercise with their patients. At the same time, public health could promote the need for safe streets with police departments, news media, and community-level messaging. Primary care providers can also reinforce efforts of public health practitioners to promote new bicycle lanes and other safe exercise options.

By aligning health information messages received in the community with those received in the clinic, primary care and public health can deliver a formidable one-two punch.


Rowing in the Same Direction

As I explored in my previous blog, Rowing Upstream: How Public Health Supports the “Upstream” Doctor, if we are to improve population health, public health practitioners and primary care providers must see their work as components of a collaborative health system that acts upon the undeniable link between the individual and the community.

Closer collaboration between public health and primary care is a clear and present need, which we have taken steps to address through (among other initiatives) the Practical Playbook: Public Health & Primary Care Together (open access at www.practicalplaybook.org and for purchase through Amazon). The Practical Playbook has catalogued success stories from across the country, documenting exactly how projects to improve population health were executed through primary care and public health partnerships.




Brian Castrucci (@BrianCCastrucci) is the Chief Program and Strategy Officer at the de Beaumont Foundation (@deBeaumontFndtn). Prior to joining the Foundation, Brian spent a decade working in state and local public health departments. Brian is currently pursuing his doctorate in public health leadership at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.

#Pubht Dec. 7th to focus on public health workforce, collaborating with primary care

#Pubht is pleased to have Brian C. Castrucci, the Chief Program and Strategy Officer at the de Beaumont Foundation, join us as guest expert for this chat on Monday, December 7 at 9pm ET.

Stay tuned for a blog post from our guest expert.

In the interim, learn more about what de Beaumont Foundation is doing in this space with their partners: https://www.practicalplaybook.org/


More about Brian:

Brian C. Castrucci, MA, is the Chief Program and Strategy Officer at the de Beaumont Foundation.  In this role, Castrucci is responsible for identifying and fostering visionary public health projects and contributing to the strategic design and tactical implementation of Foundation initiatives. He has ensured that public health research and practice go hand-in-hand through grants such as the Practical Playbook, the BUILD Health Challenge, the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey, and the Big Cities Health Coalition. 

Castrucci seeks to bring academic rigor to public health practice and a focus on actionable outcomes to public health research. His commitment to improving population health, furthering robust collaboration between public health and primary care, and strengthening public health infrastructure in the United States is informed by a decade of experience working in state and local health departments. 

As an award-winning epidemiologist and public health leader, Castrucci has published more than 50 articles in the areas of public health systems and services research, maternal and child health, health promotion, and chronic disease prevention. His recent work has focused on the public health needs of large cities, the need for better data systems, and public health system improvements.  He is an editor and contributing author to The Practical Playbook. Public Health. Primary Care. Together published by Oxford University Press in 2015.  Castrucci blogs on public health topics at the Huffington Post, where he is committed to advancing an understanding and awareness of public health issues through new media. 

Castrucci graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from North Carolina State University and a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in 2006. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Public Health Leadership at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

#PubHT Chat – Recap of #APHA15 Annual Meeting in Chicago

Join #PubHT and the American Public Health Association on Monday, November 9th for a recap chat of #APHA15 

The American Public Health Association concluded its 143rd Annual Meeting and Exposition on Wednesday, November 4th in Chicago, Ill., where more than 13,000 public health officials and experts from around the world came together to present the latest research and explore new strategies to address today’s leading health challenges. The Annual Meeting began Oct. 31 and featured the Opening General Session, featuring addresses by Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr., who discussed how climate change is a leading health issue. Video of the opening session speakers is available on APHA’s YouTube Channel.

“I believe that engagement and collaboration are leadership functions and we should never be afraid to listen to anyone — and it’s absolutely important to engage everyone,” APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin said during Opening General Session remarks. “We have to try if we’re to make progress and achieve our goal to be the healthiest nation in one generation. We are the American Public Health Association. We are about science but we’re also about action and we’re also about your health.”

On Monday, APHA hosted a scientific session with discussion on the National Prevention Strategy, one of the crown jewels of the Affordable Care Act, with speakers including Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson, Murthy, Benjamin and APHA President Shiriki Kumanyika.

APHA’s Annual Meeting is the largest public health gathering in the world bringing together some of the most influential health advocates, researchers, practitioners and other specialists. Centered on the theme “Health in All Policies,” the meeting focused on the complex factors that influence health and equity, also referred to as the social determinants of health, including educational attainment, housing, transportation options and neighborhood safety.

The meeting also hosted APHA’s Public Health Codeathon joining tech developers and public health practitioners to help create mobile apps and other health innovations and APHA’s Global Public Health Film Festival, which showcased more than 115 films.

Additionally, a wide array of new research related to this year’s theme was released to coincide with the meeting, including presentations on health topics explaining how:

  • 1 in 3 college freshmen is food insecure;
  • adolescent alcohol, drug use with or without a parent’s knowledge results in negative consequences;
  • misconceptions of the Affordable Care Act associated with negative opinions of the law;
  • mothers with low milk supply breastfeed longer when using social media, Internet for advice;
  • people lose more weight with financial implications; and
  • TV binge-watching related to negative health effects;

Social media activity among attendees and remote followers was pronounced. Throughout the week, more than 20,000 tweets were generated using the Annual Meeting’s official hashtag, #APHA15.

Learn about APHA’s Generation Public Health initiative

Domestic Violence & Public Health – Join us Oct. 19th

In observance of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month (#DVAM2015), #pubht will focus its upcoming chat on domestic violence and the related public health implications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every minute 20 people are victims of intimate partner violence. This is public health epidemic within the United States. Approximately 85% of domestic violence victims are women, yet this is an issue of importance and significance for men and women alike. Additionally, 10 million children are affected by domestic violence each year.

Join #pubht on Monday, October 19th at 9pm ET to continue this discussion about domestic violence and public health.

Check out these resources in advance of our chat:
National Network to End Domestic Violence: http://nnedv.org
Domestic Violence Awareness Project: http://www.nrcdv.org/dvam/
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence: http://www.nrcdv.org

How do we tackle gun violence? #pubht

“We’ve mourned too often, seen too many schools and colleges devastated by shootings, watched too many students get an education in grief. It’s time for a new approach to gun violence.

We’re angry, but we also need to be smart. And frankly, liberal efforts, such as the assault weapons ban, were poorly designed and saved few lives, while brazen talk about banning guns just sparked a backlash that empowered the National Rifle Association.

What we need is an evidence-based public health approach — the same model we use to reduce deaths from other potentially dangerous things around us, from swimming pools to cigarettes. We’re not going to eliminate guns in America, so we need to figure out how to coexist with them.

via Nicholas Kristof A New Way to Tackle Gun Deaths

What’s your opinion? How should we solve the gun violence issue in America? How do we go about creating this public health plan?

Join #PubHT on Monday, October 5th at 9 PM ET to discuss.

#Pubht Chat Sept. 21st to Discuss Public Health Education

Join us 9PM ET using hashtag #pubht in all tweets.

#PubHT Chat 8/17 at 9 PM ET – Recognizing National Immunization Awareness Month

Join #PubHT on Monday, August 17th at 9 PM ET for a chat on immunization and public health. This chat coincides with National Immunization Awareness Month (#NIAM15) and also serves as the 3rd birthday of #PubHT. Three years ago, two public health professionals who love Twitter – @NinaJTweets & @SaraRubin – developed this platform to bring together the public health community to discuss pressing questions, share knowledge, and network. Thanks to all our chat participants, guest experts, and guest facilitators for supporting this platform over the past 3 years.

What is National Immunization Awareness Month (#NIAM15)? Luckily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a handy toolkit and set of resources to help us answer this question. The purpose of the month is to highlight immunizations, which CDC classifies as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century (and we of course agree!). Perhaps the 3 most important messages to remember when observing this month, and talking to others about immunization, are:

  • Vaccines are an important step in protecting against serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases.
  • Vaccines are recommended throughout our lives.
  • A strong provider recommendation is one of the best ways to ensure patients get the vaccinations they need when they need them.

The month celebrates the following key topics on each week of the month:

  • Week 1: Ensure a healthy future with vaccines (teen & pre-teen)
  • Week 2: Protect yourself and pass your protection on to your baby (pregnant women)
  • Week 3: Vaccines are not just for kids (adults)
  • Week 4: A healthy start begins with on-time vaccinations (birth to age 6)

Please join us for #pubht as we celebrate our 3rd anniversary and a top 10 public health achievement, immunization through #NIAM15. Information within this post is also available at CDC NPHIC site. We encourage you to review the comprehensive resources that they offer here: https://www.nphic.org/niam

#PubHT Guest Expert Chat on the Opiate Epidemic – 8/3 at 9 PM ET

Join #PubHT and guest expert Dr. Danesh Mazloomdoost on Monday, August 3rd at 9 PM ET for a chat on the Opiate Epidemic

Guest post by: Dr. Danesh Mazloomdoost
pills-and-needle-1498017In context to the opiate epidemic evolving since the 1990s, the field of genuine pain management has been usurped by a fallacy of narcotic maintenance. Contrary to evidence-based guidelines, the common view of pain management has become a last-resort option that blurs the line between ineffective symptom palliation by life-long opiate maintenance and true medical workup for disease treatment. But beyond the layperson’s view, academia has taken tremendous leaps in knowledge about the multitude of chronic pain conditions and the nervous system that relays it. My goal is to bring this academic knowledge within reach of everyday individuals and renew the perception of what a sound pain specialist does; specifically:

1. Interpreting the messages relayed by our body when we feel pain;
2. Developing treatment plans to fix treatable causes of pain;
3. Intercepting, modulating, or overriding pain signals prior to its perception in the brain;
4. Educating about therapeutic and preventative strategies to pain management incorporating physiologic, lifestyle, behavioral, and psychological factors.

Check out Dr. Danesh’s op-ed on “Pain is a symptom; pills don’t deal with causes”: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/05/29/2204373_dr-danesh-mazloomdoost-pain-is.html?rh=1

Danesh Mazloomdoost M.D. is fellowship-trained and dual-board certified in Anesthesiology & Pain Management. He is at the frontier of pain management innovation, having trained at prestigious institutions including Johns Hopkins and MD Anderson.

Dr. Danesh’s main clinical interest is in non-narcotic management of pain. Focusing on novel techniques including neuro-modulation (disruption of pain transmission through nerve stimulation) and ultrasound guided nerve isolation, Dr. Danesh is at the forefront of advancing pain management through science.

His numerous publications include esteemed journal articles and book chapters on novel cancer pain treatment, spinal cord stimulation, and information technology advances in medical education. Dr. Danesh has a long-standing passion for humanitarian medical relief and has also participated in medical projects in North Africa and the Middle East.

Dr. Danesh received his bachelors in medical economics and business management from Case Western Reserve University where he had an early admission to medical school, immediately out of high school. He opted to pursue his medical degree at John Hopkins Medical Institute where he also completed his anesthesiology residency. Following an interest in the complexity of cancer-related pain, Dr. Danesh sought a Pain Fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center, the largest cancer center in the world.

Aging and Public Health – A Debrief of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging

On Monday, July 20th at 9 PM ET #PubHT will be discussing aging and public health. This chat is a debrief of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. We hope to gather the public health community to discuss major public health issues related to aging.

The Conference took place on July 13, 2015 and discussed various issues related to retirement planning, care for older loved ones, and increasing the quality of life as we age. The overall aim of the Conference was to focus on the transformative demographic shift occurring in the US and recognize the possibilities of healthy aging.

Read the discussion guide here: http://www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov/involved/docs/guide-WHCOA-Issues-Discussion.pdf

#Pubht Chat: 6/15 on Environmental Health

Next chat: Monday, June 15 at 9pm EDT. Use #pubht to join.

Listeria, Lead and Liberia. All in the news. What do they have in common?  Unnecessary loss of life, squandered human potential, and expensive fixes. Join environmental health expert Dr. David Dyjack as he explores these and other profoundly important environmental public health issues which affect you, your family, and your community.

David Dyjack is the Executive Director and CEO of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), the largest association in the world dedicated entirely to the environmental health profession. NEHA provides workforce education and credentialing services, with emphasis on food safety and security. Prior to this, Dyjack was Associate Executive Director for Programs at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) where he oversaw the organization’s grant portfolio and a staff of 75 health professionals in support of the nation’s 2800 local health departments. Dyjack received a doctorate in public health from the University of Michigan, an MSPH from the University of Utah, and is a board certified industrial hygienist (CIH). He has provided management and leadership in varied public health activities since the mid 1980s. 

#PubHT Chat 6/1: Dating apps & STD Outbreaks

Join us on Monday, June 1st at 9 PM ET to discuss “Dating apps and STD Outbreaks”

sex-125199-mMobile applications such as Grindr, Tinder, and Get Down are making it easier for people to meet. However, these same apps are creating problems that are now being noticed by public health officials. Just last week, the Wake County Health Department was on the news for the highest number of syphilis cases in 20 years (1). The health department had 37 confirmed cases in 2008, while it currently has 213 cases of syphilis. Through various assessments, health officials have connected the rise to dating and hookup apps. Many of the patients had used one of the apps to meet and have sex with someone they had just met through the platform.

Similarly, three years ago, health officials in New Zealand announced an outbreak of syphilis connected to apps such as Grindr, Boy Ahoy, and NZ Dating (2). These dating apps are used by bisexual and gay men.

Instead of blaming the apps, Carl Sandler – hookup app founder of Daddyhunt and Mister – has argued that public health health officials can use the opportunity to collaborate with these apps to encourage safe sex, testing, and prevention (3).

What should public health do? Come join #PubHT and share your views on this issue.

  1. SYPHILIS CASES SPIKE IN WAKE COUNTY, DATING APPS MAY BE TO BLAME http://abc11.com/health/wake-county-apps-may-be-to-blame-for-syphilis-spike/732931/

  2. Call Me Maybe: Social Media & the Spread of STDs http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/bodyhorrors/2013/04/25/networking-std/#.VWULYtPBzGc

  3. Are Hookup Apps Fueling A Spike In Sexually Transmitted Diseases? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/09/hookup-apps_n_6439162.html

May 18th Chat: Hepatitis Awareness Month

Join us on Monday, May 18th at 9pm EDT for a Twitter chat about viral hepatitis. Not only is May Hepatitis Awareness Month, but May 19th (one day after our chat) is “Hepatitis Testing Day.” Come share what you know about viral hepatitis, or learn from your public health colleagues.

Get familiar with hepatitis resources before joining the chat:

  • CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/HepAwarenessMonth.htm
  • Vaccines.gov: http://www.vaccines.gov/
  • Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/we-now-have-the-cure-for-hepatitis-c-but-can-we-afford-it/
  • NIH: What I need to know about hepatitis c: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/liver-disease/hepatitis-c/Pages/ez.aspx
  • Help raise awareness on Hepatitis Testing Day: https://blog.aids.gov/2015/05/help-raise-awareness-on-hepatitis-testing-day-may-19th.html

April 20th Chat: 3rd Annual Recap of the Preparedness Summit

Join #Pubht on Monday, April 20th at 9pm to discuss preparedness issues and key lessons learned from the 2015 Preparedness Summit, which had a theme this year of “Global Health Security: Preparing a Nation for Emerging Threats.” All participants are welcome – both those who attended the Summit and those who did not. For this chat, both @MelissaMarquis and @KarlaBlack02 will serve as guest experts for this chat. 













About Melissa:

Melissa Marquis is employed by the West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District and Farmington Valley Health District as their Public Health Emergency Response Specialist. In this role, Melissa is responsible for developing and maintaining all-hazards response plans, monitoring health surveillance in the 12 towns that are served by her two health districts, ensuring staff are aware of their emergency response roles by conducting trainings and following up with drills and exercises designed to test the districts’ plans, among many other activities. Previous to her local employment, Melissa worked at the Connecticut State Association of County and City Health Officials (SACCHO) for nearly six years as an Emergency Preparedness Specialist. Melissa is currently appointed as the Chair for the Medical Countermeasures work group at NACCHO, and additionally sits on multiple preparedness and policy committees and advisory boards with both NACCHO and CDC. Melissa has had an instrumental role in the development of the CDC’s Operational Readiness Review Tool, during which she was asked to assume the lead role for local health departments on this CDC-led workgroup. Melissa earned her Master of Science degree in Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness from St. Louis University. She obtained her BSN from the University of Phoenix, and her RN from Capitol Community College.
About Karla:
Karla Black holds Bachelors of Science degrees in chemistry and biology from the University of Illinois and a PhD in biology from Purdue University.  She has served as a Strategic National Stockpile contractor for the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Allegan County in Michigan.  She currently is the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) in Grand Rapids, Michigan which serves over half a million residents in urban and rural settings. In 2012, Dr. Black earned her Master Exercise Practitioner and Professional Emergency Manger designations. While at KCHD, she coordinated KCHD’s successful Project Public Health Ready application and participated in KCHD’s effort in achieving national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board.

April 6th Chat: The Role of Program Evaluation in Public Health

Blog post by guest facilitator, Natasha Henry (Twitter handle: @sakibombing). Ms. Henry is a Health Scientist in the Office of the Inspector General at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in NYC. She is interested in public health popular culture, and applying public health thinking to social and environmental problems. 

Hello fellow PubHTers and Happy National Public Health Week!

I love this time of year. #NPHW kicks off, and I’m reminded of how my work connects to the field of public health. NPHW helps to highlight the contributions of public health andProgram Evaluation Chat (1) issues that are important to improving our nation. This year’s NPHW theme is Healthiest Nation 2030, inspired by the goal of making America the healthiest nation in one generation.

In the work that I do at the EPA’s Office of Inspector General, I am engaged in helping prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the federal government by working with a team to conduct program evaluations at the Environmental Protection Agency. The evaluations that I am a part of use design and methodology strategies that maximize innovation, identify new issues, and focus on increased understanding of EPA programs. Sometimes I think that it is incredibly easy to become so involved in answering the health problem that one forgets to ask perhaps the most important questions: How are we doing? Is this working? Program Evaluation is a tool that allows us to do that in a methodical, evidence based way.

The Centers for Disease Control shares a definition of program evaluation as the “systematic investigation of the merit, worth or significance of an object.” It is also one of the ten fundamental classes to any public health educational program. Program evaluation can not only be leveraged as a tool to help guide us as we work towards Healthiest Nation 2030, but will also let us know when we have achieved our goal.

As we get ready for out #PubHT on Monday, April 6, let’s start thinking about program evaluation and some of the challenges for the practice of it. I look forward to engaging, learning, and sharing with you all! Also, check out the CDC’s Evaluation Fellowship Program. The deadline is April 30.

Additional Reading:

American Evaluation Association: American Evaluation Association

CDC Program Evaluation: http://www.cdc.gov/eval/guide/introduction/

CDC Evaluation Fellowship Program: http://www.cdc.gov/eval/evalfellowannouncement-2015.pdf

NPHW Events: http://www.nphw.org/events/calendar

Pledge to Create the Healthiest Nation: http://action.apha.org/site/PageNavigator/pledge_2030.html

Creating a Healthier Nation

Join #Pubht and guest expert Susan Polan on Monday, March 16 at 9pm EST to discuss creating a healthier nation.

Guest blog post by Susan L. Polan, PhD, is associate executive director for public affairs and advocacy with the American Public Health Association. 

Why is it APHA’s vision to create the healthiest nation in one generation? We in the public health community have helped with great improvements in health. The average lifespan is 25 years longer because of public health improvements. HIV/AIDS deaths are down 70 percent. Infant mortality has dropped 76 percent. Yet despite all our hard work, other countries have better health and health outcomes than we do.  For the first time, children in the U.S. may not live as long a life as their parents.  And despite spending more money in our health care system, the U.S. trails other countries on most measures of health.

Too many people, including opinion leaders and politicians, believe we have the best health care in the world. That might be true as far as effective medical treatment. But health is not just about effective medical treatment for people once they’re sick or injured. Health care has only a 10 percent impact on the causes of premature death.

The truth is, in the U.S. we spend a lot more on health care but live shorter lives and struggle with more health issues than our peers in other developed countries. This holds true for the old and the young, the rich and the poor, and all age and income levels. And within the United States, there are unacceptable disparities in health by race and ethnic group, between states and even between neighboring counties.

Compared to peers in these countries, people in the United States have:

  • Shorter lives — over the past 25 years, U.S. life expectancy has grown, but at a lower rate than in other countries. Studies consistently show we have a lower life expectancy.
  • Bad birth outcomes — we have the highest rates of infant mortality, low birth weight, women dying due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth and children less likely to live to age 5.
  • More injuries and homicides — deaths from motor vehicle crashes, non-transportation injuries and violence happen at much higher rates.
  • Heart disease — the U.S. death rate from ischemic heart disease is the second highest. Adults over age 50 are more likely to develop and die from cardiovascular disease.
  • Obesity and diabetes — for decades, the U.S. has had the highest obesity rate across all age groups, and American adults have high rates of diabetes.
  • Chronic lung disease — lung disease is more common and associated with higher risk for death.
  • Disability — Older U.S. adults report a higher prevalence of arthritis and limits to their daily activities.
  • Adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease — our youth have the highest rate of pregnancy and are more likely to acquire sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Drug-related death — we lost more years of life to alcohol and other drugs even when deaths from drunk driving are excluded. In fact, the president’s 2014 National Drug Control Strategy noted overdose deaths now surpass homicides and car crash deaths.

This is why we at APHA have set our sights on creating the healthiest nation in one generation. We see this as the defining challenge of our time — a challenge that we, the public health community, are uniquely positioned to overcome.

Together, we must transform the way our country approaches health. We need a greater focus on prevention and wellness so we don’t need treatment as often. We need to better address the broader issues that affect health — from poverty to poor housing, education, transportation and the environment. It’s not enough to individually make choices that will improve our own health. We need to make sure the right choice is the easy choice – no matter where you live, work, play or learn.

Sign our pledge, check out our website and follow us on social media.  We all need to create a movement made up of traditional public health and non-traditional partners – to create the healthiest nation in one generation.

Vaccines Save Lives

Join #Pubht and guest expert Dr. Priya Radhakrishnan on Monday, March 2 at 9pm EST to discuss the importance of vaccines.

Guest blog post by Dr. Priya Radhakrishnan, Robert Craig Chair of the Internal Medicine department, at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, a Dignity Health facility.

SHOTS THAT SAVE LIVESMy daughter is a freshman in college in California and during enrollment they required proof of vaccination. When we checked her blood to ensure immunity from her previous vaccinations, I was startled to find out that she did not develop a proper immune response. Normally this would not have caused an issue: the “herd immunity” would have taken care of it.

I now have a reason to be concerned. Recent doubt and debate raised about vaccine safety coupled with the forgotten severity of infectious diseases has sparked the resurgence of nearly eradicated diseases such as measles in the U.S. Measles, a highly contagious disease, has been known to cause death, blindness, deafness, and severe brain injury to children. Indeed Helen Keller was thought to have developed blindness and deafness due to a childhood illness possibly due to Rubella or Scarlet fever. However, fear is not the way to convince others to value public safety over personal choices. But understanding that vaccinations are one of the most important acts of kindness we can do for ourselves, our families, and our communities  has the power to change the debate on vaccination.

California is the number one state with the most unvaccinated children and Arizona, where I practice, is ranked 7th.1 I am not afraid to have the tough conversation with my patients, friends or family members regarding the importance of vaccinations and I want to empower you to do the same.

As a physician and parent, I think it is incredibly important to keep in mind that vaccines are not a personal choice but a public health responsibility, civic duty, and act of kindness and consideration. Protecting your child and yourself with standard vaccinations also protects those around you with compromised immune systems including cancer patients or infants who are too young to be vaccinated. At Dignity Health, we believe in the value of vaccinations to not only protect our patients, but also the communities we serve. We are collectively responsible for our herd: the frail, the nonimmune, the infant and grandmother, and the odd kid like mine who did not develop a response.

Please join me and Dignity Health on Monday, March 2 at 9 PM ET as we discuss how to bring kindness and compassion into the vaccination debate.

1) http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6133a2.htm

Dr. PriyaPriya Radhakrishnan, MD, FACP is the Robert Craig Chair of the Internal Medicine department, at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Dr. Radhakrishnan provides adult primary care at the Internal Medicine Health Center. Her interests are chronic disease management, health policy & advocacy and medical education.

She has been at St. Joseph’s since 2003, having served in several leadership positions at St. Josephs. She has won several awards and honors for teaching, service and patient care, including the prestigious SGIM Clinical Practice and Innovation Award on behalf of the Internal medicine health center for the significant changes in health care for patients with chronic disease.

Dr. Radhakrishnan is active in the Society of General Internal Medicine, and the American College of Physicians, having held several leadership positions.

About Dignity Health

Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health care systems, is a 20-state network of nearly 9,000 physicians, 56,000 employees, and more than 400 care centers, including hospitals, urgent and occupational care, imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality and affordable patient-centered care with special attention to the poor and underserved.  In FY14, Dignity Health provided nearly $2 billion in charitable care and services. For more information, please visit our website at www.dignityhealth.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.