225: Health Equity Summit Preview

Dr. Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge, ASTHO’s Senior Vice President of Health Equity and Diversity Initiatives, previews the goals of next Wednesday’s Health Equity Summit 2022; Dr. Lorraine Backer, Senior Environmental Epidemiologist at the National...


Dr. Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge, ASTHO’s Senior Vice President of Health Equity and Diversity Initiatives, previews the goals of next Wednesday’s Health Equity Summit 2022; Dr. Lorraine Backer, Senior Environmental Epidemiologist at the National Center for Environmental Health with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discusses the dangers of high levels of cyanotoxins both in the water and the air; and a new ASTHO brief examines the benefits and challenges of meeting with business owners online for virtual inspections of water systems, restaurants, and body art businesses.

ASTHO Webpage: Addressing Structural Racism Priority for Public Health Officials During ASTHO Health Equity Summit

ASTHO Health Equity Summit Registration

CDC Webpage: Cyanotoxins in Air Study

CDC Webpage: Healthy Swimming

CDC Webpage: Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB)-Associated Illness

ASTHO Brief: Environmental Health Innovations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

ASTHO logo

Transcript

ROBERT JOHNSON:

This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Friday, July 22nd, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.

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

 

KIMBERLEE WYCHE-ETHERIDGE:

Our goal is to be able to share information for different states and entities to talk about some of the best practices of how they've managed to do the work in their areas, and hopefully to excite and give people the tools that they need to work in their own areas towards achieving health equity.

JOHNSON:

That's Dr. Kimberlee Wyche Etheridge on the goal of next Wednesday's Health Equity Summit 2022. She wants health equity champions across public health to use this meeting as an opportunity to gather and get energized.

WYCHE-ETHERIDGE:

Sometimes, it can get a little bit lonely out there in some of the areas, so knowing that you're not in this fight alone, that there are many people at many different levels and many different organizations and entities doing this work, and that there is power and reassurance in numbers.

JOHNSON:

Wyche-Etheridge says there's a lot on the afternoon agenda, but for her:

WYCHE-ETHERIDGE:

I'm most looking forward to hearing some of the stories and some of the best practices and the ways that people have been successful in light of some of the obstacles that they may be facing.

JOHNSON:

She says attendees will leave with plenty of ideas and inspiration.

WYCHE-ETHERIDGE:

You really can get encouraged hearing the passion of people who even in the most dire of situations are working towards making sure that everybody in their community has access to health and the best health that they can have.

JOHNSON:

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

 

Summer heat draws people to rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. But Lorraine Backer with the CDC says higher temperatures can also lead to unsafe levels of cyanotoxins making those same waters very unhealthy.

LORRAINE BACKER:

So, cyanotoxins are toxins or poisons. They are sometimes produced when small, plant-like organisms called cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, rapidly grow out of control or bloom. So, cyanobacteria blooms most often occur in fresh water, such as lakes, rivers, and streams, and people are most often exposed while swimming, boating, or doing other activities in or near the water with a cyanobacteria bloom.

JOHNSON:

Backer is a senior research epidemiologist. She says the CDC is conducting a study in Florida to determine the health effects of exposure to cyanotoxins, not in the water but in the air.

BACKER:

So, our study is called the Cyanotoxins in Air Study, or CAST, and it's intended to assess the health effects of exposure to cyanotoxins among people who live or work on Lake Okeechobee, the St. Lucie River, the Caloosahatchee River and the Cape Coral Canals.

JOHNSON:

You can read more information about the CDC study using the link in the show notes.

 

Finally today, virtual inspections of water systems, restaurants, and body art businesses are among the innovations that state and territorial environmental health directors have developed during the pandemic. A new ASTHO brief examines the benefits and challenges of meeting with business owners online. You can read it using the link in the show notes.

 

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

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

Kimberlee Wyche-Etheridge MD MPH

Senior Vice President, Health Equity and Diversity Initiatives, ASTHO

Lorraine Backer PhD MPH

Senior Environmental Epidemiologist, National Center for Environmental Health, CDC