238: New York Responds to Monkeypox

Dr. James McDonald, Medical Director in the Office of Public Health for the New York State Department of Health, says the monkeypox response in New York follows the data and social determinants; a new ASTHO report about mosquitos highlights the work...


Dr. James McDonald, Medical Director in the Office of Public Health for the New York State Department of Health, says the monkeypox response in New York follows the data and social determinants; a new ASTHO report about mosquitos highlights the work U.S. territories and freely associated states face as they attempt to control them and the diseases they carry; Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott,  ASTHO’s Senior Executive Consultant, talks about her new role; ASTHO reports on legislative actions aimed at making sure kids get at least one healthy meal each day; and ASTHO has job openings in several areas of the organization.

ASTHO Report: Public Health Confronts the Mosquito: Special Considerations for United States Territories and Freely Associated States

ASTHO Blog Article: States Serving Up Healthy Eating Policies

ASTHO Webpage: Careers at ASTHO

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Transcript

ROBERT JOHNSON:

This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Wednesday, August 10th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.

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

 

JAMES MCDONALD:

I think it's important to remember that anyone, really everyone, is at risk for acquiring monkeypox.

JOHNSON:

Dr. James McDonald is medical director for the state of New York. He says the state has about one fourth of all monkeypox cases in the U.S. with more than 90% of those in New York City.

MCDONALD:

You think about how monkeypox is spread, you know, by close contact or respiratory droplets. But you know, what we're really seeing is it's spread by intimate contact, is what we're seeing in New York. So, we are seeing more cases in men who have sex with men. You know, this is something that's been reported.

Having said that, you know, one of the things we have to keep in mind is, although that's what we're seeing, really everyone's at risk. This is why everyone needs to be aware of monkeypox and understand how it's transmitted. Again, spread by close contact, spread mainly by touch, but there is that respiratory component as well. And I just think it's important for everyone to be thoughtful about how we're gonna approach this.

JOHNSON:

McDonald says the state has been working to make sure the response is driven by data and the social determinants.

MCDONALD:

One of the things we've been talking, you know, about is that we wanna make sure that the vaccine distribution reflects the case distribution, 'cause it's important to do that. That's part of why we work with local health departments. We wanna optimize our vaccine distributiontot those at highest risk, and same with optimizing treatment.

JOHNSON:

Among the lesson so far, McDonald says:

MCDONALD:

We've had a lot of dialogue with effected communities 'cause it's really about customized public health. And I think it really gets back to the, you know—one thing I think about to sum things up a little bit is the two most powerful words of public health are trust and welcome. And you know, we have the public's trust, but they need to feel welcome when they interact with us. And that really makes everyone a little bit healthier.

 

JOHNSON:

Another concern on the public health agenda this summer: mosquitos, controlling them, and the diseases they carry can be a challenge anywhere. But a new edition of an ASTHO report about mosquitos highlights the work that faces U.S. territories and Freely Associated States. You can download an updated copy of the report using the link in the show notes.

 

NICOLE ALEXANDER-SCOTT:

It allows for continuing the work that I have been so passionate about, doing it with great people, and doing it at a tough time.

JOHNSON:

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott talking about her new assignment as ASTHO senior executive consultant. The former director of the Rhode Island health department and past ASTHO president has a long to-do list.

ALEXANDER-SCOTT:

One is to be able to take what's been learned at a state level and apply it nationally while maintaining and understanding an appreciation for how challenging it can be navigating the politics, the finances, the operations that are necessary. So, I'm thrilled to be able to be an advocate for my colleagues who are on the front lines, serving as health officials and other public health leaders across the country.

 

JOHNSON:

Schools across the states and territories are getting ready to welcome students back to classes. On their list, a focus on healthy school lunches.

ASTHO reports on legislative actions aimed at making sure kids get at least one healthy meal each day. It's all part of a blog article on healthy eating policies. You can read it now using the link in the show notes.

 

Finally this morning, ASTHO has job openings in several areas of the organization. It's hiring a director of contracts, a senior analyst in finance, and an analyst for the island support team. You can learn more about these jobs 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.

Nicole Alexander-Scott MD MPH

Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health

James McDonald MD MPH

Medical Director, Office of Public Health, New York State Department of Health