Dr. Evan Mallen, an ORISE Fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says cities and states need to adapt plans and programs to changes in climate that impact public health; Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer at the Louisiana...
Dr. Evan Mallen, an ORISE Fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says cities and states need to adapt plans and programs to changes in climate that impact public health; Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer at the Louisiana Department of Health, says Louisiana’s Perinatal Quality Collaborative is having early success helping pregnant and postpartum people who struggle with opioid use; ASTHO leaders write in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice about steps public health teams could take to get ready for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall; and ASTHO publishes a blog article outlining strategies to address caregiver stress that can reduce the possibility of negative parenting and adverse childhood experiences.
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Thursday, July 28th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.
Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
We are seeing rises in heat-related illness and mortality across the country. As you might imagine, it is quite closely related to the environmental Exposure here, which is heat and these heat waves that we've been having.
Dr. Evan Mallen is an ORISE Fellow at the CDC. He works with cities and states to help them adapt plans and programs to changes in climate that impact public health. When it's hot, he worries about internal heat waves kicked off by bad weather.
We call these compound events. Often, this can happen after something like a major storm goes through or with the wildfires that are going on in the west. When people lose access to their power, they lose access to their air conditioning. And so, if that comes along with an extreme heat event, then those interior temperatures can actually exceed ambient temperatures. Your house acts like an oven and it heats up and we often get significant rises in heat-related illness or mortality in such an event.
Mallen says public health leaders can take action to address these problems before they happen.
One of the things that we can do is workforce development—you know, training our medical staff, especially folks like school nurses who might be dealing with kids who are exposed to these high temperatures like these athletes, making sure that they know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion.
He says community cooling centers and phone trees to check in on older adults who might be socially isolated are examples of creative responses to what he calls an increasing risk of severe health outcomes caused by hotter weather.
This is gonna be a significant challenge, but I think that if we can start shifting our mindset towards addressing heat risk, then we will largely be able to adapt in most conditions to these rising temperatures.
The CDC has a webpage about the relationship between climate and public health. There's a link in the show notes.
Louisiana's perinatal quality collaborative is less than a year old, but it's having early success helping pregnant and postpartum people who struggle with opioid use. State health officer Dr. Joseph Kanter says the collaborative was created as an independent advocate bringing all parties and views to the discussion.
It becomes not just an appendage of the health department, and that's allowed it to gain credibility and bring people to the table that I don't think would've come to the table as easily had it just been another programmatic office within the health department.
Dr. Amy Ladley manages the collaborative. She says 47 of the state's 49 birthing hospitals are involved, noting the hope is to create lasting changes to systems and culture for the benefit of the people who need help.
I think what we've learned in the pandemic is that stability of processes can change. It doesn't matter how, like, amazing you're doing with a process at a hospital. If half of your staff has COVID or has been reassigned to a COVID unit, if those processes aren't heavily ingrained, if they're not patient-centered, particularly as it relates to things like identifying and caring for substance-exposed dyads, then you can set yourself back years and years.
Doctors Kanter and Ladley are talking about the Louisiana project right now on the Public Health Review podcast. It's available on demand everywhere you stream audio.
Also this morning, fall is fast approaching and that has public health officials thinking about the potential for a new wave of COVID-19 infections. ASTHO leaders have come together to write an article about steps public health teams could take to get ready for cooler temperatures and the potential for another surge. The article appears in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. You can read it using the link in the show notes.
Finally today, strategies to address caregiver stress can reduce the possibility of negative parenting that can lead to adverse childhood experiences. Higher minimum wages and more green spaces are among the responses outlined in a new ASTHO blog article now online. Look for it using the link 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.