Susan Laird, a health communications specialist with the CDC, discusses the need to use more inclusive communication when working with individuals or groups; Sheila Nelson, Program Manager for Adolescent Health and Injury Prevention with the Maine Center for...
Susan Laird, a Communications Director with the CDC, discusses the need to use more inclusive communication when working with individuals or groups; Sheila Nelson, Program Manager for Adolescent Health and Injury Prevention with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, details a plan to reduce suicide and overdose by letting young people know they matter; a new ASTHO brief outlines an effort with the CDC that will help people living with disabilities during emergencies; and ASTHO offers a summary of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act approved by the U.S. Senate late last week.
CDC Webpage: Health Equity Guiding Principles for Inclusive Communication
ASTHO Brief: Defining Disability for Syndromic Surveillance
ASTHO Legislative Alert: Senate Approves Bipartisan Safer Communities Act
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Tuesday June 28th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.
Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
When I talk to others about this work, I say that it starts with them as individuals. It starts with me. It starts with you.
Susan Laird with the CDC on the need to use more inclusive communication. When working with individuals or groups, she admits it can be tough to know what to say and when, but offers a simple piece of advice.
So, first we have to take a step back and be willing to listen to the why part. Why is this important, what words have we used our entire lives that might just be hurtful to others. For example, when we refer to a person as their disease, you know, like Susan is a diabetic versus Susan is a person living with diabetes. We're almost blaming the person for the situation they're in.
Laird is part of a team that produced a website to help public health professionals improve their communications. It offers lots of examples.
So, we use person-first language instead and remember that there are many types of subpopulations.
We avoid saying things like target, tackle, combat, other terms that with violent connotation when we're referring to people, groups, or communities. We've used some of those terms in public health so long that they're habits with us. So, it's very hard to change habits, it takes a lot of time. And it also takes effort and avoiding unintentional blaming.
And her approach when asking someone to reconsider their language?
There's no hammer. It is an invitation to think about this. There's no, "You must do this or else." It's not a prescription. And it's certainly not going to solve the problems of the world today, but it is a start to saying that, you know, being a little bit more respectful, being inclusive.
To understand that we're not all cut from the same cloth. We're just not, and we have varying experiences that have brought us to the places where we are. So, from that point of view, whatever it is, we invite you to join us in this work to help us all be more effective and a bit more respectful.
Learn more about inclusive communication using the link to the CDC website in the show notes.
Public health teams in Maine want to reduce suicide and overdose with a plan to let young people know they matter. It's called the Cultivating Mattering for Maine Youth Initiative.
Sheila Nelson is with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
You know, young people who report mattering in their community are much less likely to be experiencing some of the potential factors around substance use and poor mental health.
Specifically, you know, they're less likely to report depressive symptoms, they're less likely to report some of those early substance use behaviors that we know can potentially really increase, you know, a young person's likelihood of struggling with a substance use disorder later in their life.
Project leaders plan to produce a roadmap that anyone in the country can use to address suicide and overdose in their communities. Learn more about the Maine initiative in a new episode of the Public Health Review podcast, coming later this week everywhere you stream audio.
Data is helping drive the Maine project. It's also the key to a new effort between ASTHO and the CDC, one that will help people living with disabilities during emergencies. You can read about the project in a new ASTHO brief now online. There's a link in the show notes.
Finally this morning, ASTHO has a summary of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act approved by the U.S. Senate late last week. Bill language is included in the legislative report. It's in the show notes.
That'll do it for today's 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.