169: Listening Builds PH Trust

Ioana Ungureanu, ASTHO’s Senior Analyst for Public and Behavioral Health Integration, discusses a new ASTHO report outlining 10 high-level strategies to improve behavioral health for kids in schools; Angela Minicuci, the former Communications...


Ioana Ungureanu, ASTHO’s Senior Analyst for Public and Behavioral Health Integration, discusses a new ASTHO report outlining 10 high-level strategies to improve behavioral health for kids in schools; Angela Minicuci, the former Communications Director for the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services during the Flint water crisis, tells us why listening is so important; and J.T. Lane, ASTHO’s Senior Vice President of Population Health and Innovation, explains how ASTHO’s Public Health TechXpo attendees will be able to apply what they learn from the conference.

ASTHO Report: Improving Youth Behavioral Health Through School-Based Strategies

ASTHO Webpage: Public Health TechXpo

ASTHO Press Release: Mental Health in Schools

ASTHO logo

Transcript

ROBERT JOHNSON:

This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Monday May 2, 2022. I’m Robert Johnson.

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

 

ASTHO releases a new report today outlining 10 high-level strategies to improve behavioral health for kids in schools. It comes as rates of teen anxiety and depression are on the rise.

ASTHO’s Ioana Ungureanu report and a webinar held last week are just part of the plan to put recommendations into motion.

IOANA UNGUREANU:

So, besides this report and webinar that we’ll be releasing nationally, we are working with five states right now to make sure we implement these strategies with the cross-sector partners. So, we’ve been hosting site visits and other meetings with state cross-sector partners.

So, in the time that I’ve been at ASTHO, I have not seen so many partners brought together for these meetings—everyone from Medicaid to academia to education to public health to children and family divisions—so it’s been really nice to see this work move forward collaboratively.

JOHNSON:

The report is available now. Download it using the link in the show notes.

 

Public health leaders looking to rebuild trust with their communities need to make sure they’re listening.

Angela Minicuci worked in Michigan’s public health department during Flint’s water crisis. In today’s morning conversation, she tells us why listening is so important.

Does public health need to focus on rebuilding trust with the public and other audiences right now?

ANGELA MINICUCI:

Absolutely they do and, in many cases, through no fault of their own. We’re coming off of a couple of years of the worst pandemic basically anyone alive has ever seen; and when you’ve gone through that much trauma and hardship, obviously it’s going to impact the way you view the world and the relationships that are out there for public health officials.

So, now more than ever, is a rebuilding time for public health—not only in America, but in the world.

JOHNSON:

Public health leaders have so much on their plate right now: the pandemic is not over, so many other health concerns have gone unattended, and there’s catch-up work there that needs to be done. How do they go about tackling this trust issue with all of that happening?

MINICUCI:

That’s an excellent question. One of the biggest and best pieces of advice that we give our clients is that communication is a two-way street; so, you need to be listening to what people have to say, what their concerns are, where their focuses are. That’ll help you prioritize how you’re going to go about addressing the rest of this pandemic—especially if it does become endemic—and then also all the multitude of other issues that either didn’t get the attention that they deserved or that came up as a result of COVID.

So, listening and paying attention to the concerns of your community and prioritizing based on that feedback—that’s going to be instrumental in making sure that trust is gained by your audiences, by those you have to work with, and that they are a willing and welcoming partner in the next couple of years.

JOHNSON:

Speaking of partners, a lot has been made of the role that community partners play in this trust-rebuilding process. Why are they important?

MINICUCI:

You know, it’s very interesting as we look at how COVID has been politicized a little bit over the last few years. And so, having trusted credible messengers within the communities that you need to work with—that is who people turn to when they’re looking to whether or not they can trust the advice coming out of government, of public health officials, and even scientists, to an extent.

So, making sure you’re working with people that you can trust, that your audiences trust—that’s going to help extend that credibility and build those bridges even more quickly than if you were to just do that outreach on your own.

 

JOHNSON:

There’s still time to register for ASTHO’s Public Health TechXpo, planned for May 10th and 11th online. ASTHO’s J.T. Lane says attendees will be able to apply what they learn from the conference as soon as the event is over.

J.T. LANE:

I think state and local public health will have new ideas to take back to their agencies on how to execute their modernization activities. There are going to be new ideas, new approaches that we’re going to be discussing. These are going to be concrete actions they can take when they get back to their day jobs from the event.

JOHNSON:

Sign up for the TechXpo now with the link in the show notes. Registration is free to those with .mil, .edu, and .gov emails.

 

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 todays’ newscast. We’re 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

Angela Minicuci APR

Partner, Martin Waymire Public Relations