167: Tech Xpo Preview

J.T. Lane, ASTHO’s Senior Vice President of Population Health and Innovation, explains how public health has a unique opportunity to modernize its data systems to prepare for the next crisis in a preview of the upcoming Public Health Tech Xpo; Ioana...

J.T. Lane, ASTHO’s Senior Vice President of Population Health and Innovation, explains how public health has a unique opportunity to modernize its data systems to prepare for the next crisis in a preview of the upcoming Public Health Tech Xpo; Ioana Ungureanu, ASTHO’S Senior Analyst for Public and Behavioral Health Integration, discusses how ASTHO and a national group of educators are working to identify strategies to help lower stress in young people; Isolation and quarantine orders are reviewed in a new ASTHO blog article; and Dr. Umair Shah, Secretary of Health in Washington, joins a panel discussion today on the impact of the pandemic on the public health workforce.

ASTHO Webpage: Public Health Tech Xpo

ASTHO Webinar Registration: Improving Youth Behavioral Health Through School Based Strategies

ASTHO Blog Article: Isolation, Quarantine, and Public Health Authority Beyond the Pandemic

GovExec webpage: Health Summit

ASTHO logo



This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Thursday, April 28th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.

Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.


Public health needs to quickly modernize its data systems to prepare for the next crisis. The pandemic has created an opportunity to do that, raising unprecedented awareness and providing new funding.

ASTHO's J.T. Lane says public health professionals can learn more at this year's ASTHO Public Health TechXpo, planned for May 10th and 11th online. He makes the pitch in today's morning conversation.

What's the goal of the TechXpo?


We want to provide a platform for the public health community, the governmental public health community, technology and data vendors, all of the other professional services, firms, nonprofit community, think tanks to come together to have a meaningful dialogue about the future of public health data systems and technology.

We have sort of been in a place over the last few decades where our systems have been siloed due to funding and policies and sharing information across various jurisdictions, and that's created over a pretty complex data ecosystem in the U S. And so, we're at a point because of the pandemic that we want to really start moving aggressively with plans that we were making before the pandemic to modernize the country's public health data infrastructure.

So, we want to provide a forum for all of those public and private sector leaders to discuss the status of the pandemic and the role technology and data solutions play in the response; and also, provide a space for all of those leaders to plot the course for modernizing the nation's public health data technology infrastructure over the next decade, because this is going to be a long-term effort.


Why would someone want to attend this event?


Well, I first would say I want to acknowledge our supporters. Because of the generous support of our sponsors, public health professionals, and those in the public sector with a .mil or.gov or.edu, and the media can register at no charge. So, that's maybe the first reason those individuals want to attend—that it's free.

As I've mentioned, data modernization is a multi-year complex effort, and we need everyone at the table. It's not just public health expertise that's needed for this to be successful. We need the best technology expertise—the best engineers, developers, and solutions architects—and we need healthcare providers and their insights at the table as well. And so, we have speakers and leaders and agency heads from ONC, CDC, HHS, state public health officials and their agency technology leaders; tech firms like Google Health, Amazon, Microsoft, as well as smaller vendors like WellSky, STChealth, RSM; as well as professional consulting firms like McKinsey, Guidehouse, and many others that are going to be part of the conversation on day one and day two.

And so, it's a really good mix of experts and organizations that we're going to need to move forward. And I don't think anybody's going to want to miss what any of these leaders have to say to contribute to the conversation.


What should attendees expect to take away from this event?


First off, as I mentioned before, data modernization is a complex multi-year effort, and I think that we're coming out of the speed and multifaceted mode of the COVID-19 responses. And so, it's time for everyone to sort of reflect and get a greater awareness of this massive effort that's underway in public health.

And then secondly, states are already engaged in their modernization assessments and planning actions now, so it's a good time for others to get engaged and walk away with clear concrete actions and ways that we're moving forward as a community and how everyone else can get involved and get engaged if they're not already.


You can sign up for the TechXpo using the link in the show notes.

Tomorrow, Lane tells us more about the agenda for the event.


America's young people are dealing with a concerning amount of stress, largely the result of the pandemic. ASTHO and a national group of educators work together to offer strategies to address these concerns.

ASTHO's Ioana Ungureanu cites one example included in the report.


So, one of the examples that we're going to highlight during the webinar as well is from Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention—which is the department of health for the state of Maine.

And what they've really done is a data-driven action approach. So, they're collecting data from all schools, and they're looking at both the risk factors, but also protective factors for behavioral health issues. So, everything from why youth matter to their schools, do they have protective environments, do they have protective adults in their life.

So, that's been really key for them to build their resiliency programs in their states, and to make sure that they're working with their local and state partners to make sure that youth feel like they matter in their communities. And that's been really key to this work.


A webinar explaining the new report is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Eastern time today. There is a link to the event in the show notes.


Isolation and quarantine orders are reviewed in a new ASTHO blog article. It provides a brief history of these public health tools and examines recent attempts to limit their use—at least four states passed laws in 2021 to modify these authorities.

Read the article using the link in the show notes.


Finally today, there's a discussion this afternoon on the impact of the pandemic on the public health workforce. It's all part of a summit hosted by Government Executive, Nextgov, and Route Fifty. Dr. Umair Shah from Washington state is on the panel.

You can watch the event using the link in the show notes.


Before we go, we want to remind you to follow the show on your podcast app. And if you're on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn, we'd love a shout out.

That'll do it for today's newscast. We are back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.

J.T. Lane MPH

Senior Vice President, Population Health and Innovation, ASTHO

Ioana Ungureanu MPH

Senior Analyst, Public and Behavioral Health Integration, ASTHO