247: CDC Reforms

Dr. Nirav Shah, ASTHO’s President and Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, commends CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky for wanting to improve the CDC’s mission; Rachel Scheckman, an ASTHO Senior Policy Analyst,...


Dr. Nirav Shah, ASTHO’s President and Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, commends CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky for wanting to improve the CDC’s mission; Rachel Scheckman, an ASTHO Senior Policy Analyst, discusses a new microlearning available to help people with questions about the HIV epidemic in the United States; and an ASTHO blog article explains how Medicaid, WIC, and SNAP programs can be leveraged to address different aspects of hunger and food insecurity.

ASTHO Webpage: ASTHO HIV 101 & Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States

ASTHO Webpage: Braiding and Layering Funding to Address Housing and Food Insecurity

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Transcript

ROBERT JOHNSON:

This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.

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

 

NIRAV SHAH:

I think it's a great effort and I commend the director for undertaking it. Taking a hard look at yourself in the mirror is never easy, whether it's as an individual or as an organization.

JOHNSON:

ASTHO President Dr. Nirav Shah on word from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky that she wants to make big changes to improve the CDC's ability to better achieve its mission. Shah says states and territories have been invited to meet with Walensky to provide their input.

SHAH:

I think the number one thing that states can do is to show up for those meetings with the director when they come to your town, and provide her feedback on where you think CDC can go to be better. The director is very clearly interested in that and she signaled as much. We have an opportunity to help provide unvarnished feedback that can help her make the CDC a better place.

JOHNSON:

Shah adds he's spoken with the CDC director about her plans, noting they're on the same page.

SHAH:

I think the fundamental approach is to streamline their ability to communicate rapidly, to remove as many ways as possible so that they can live up to their credo of being first, being right, being correct.

The second is to shift away from CDC as an academic organization, which, although it produces academic work, really could be re-engineered toward making CDC public health practice organization as opposed to solely a research organization.

JOHNSON:

Change never comes easy, but Shah says he's hopeful.

SHAH:

Certainly I believe the diagnosis is correct. Now, the question is whether the treatment is the right one.

 

JOHNSON:

ASTHO has a new micro-learning available to help people with questions about the HIV epidemic in the United States.

Rachel Scheckman is a senior analyst working on the ASTHO project.

RACHEL SCHECKMAN:

So, this micro-learning briefly covers the biology and history of HIV. And then, it explores topics based off of the pillars of the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States initiative.

And so, we mainly focused on three of the four pillars in this microlearning—we made content areas that are specific to diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. But responses always a part of all of those, and so response is a common theme that is touched on throughout all of these sections.

JOHNSON:

Scheckman says the online tool will be especially helpful to people just beginning of public health career.

SCHECKMAN:

You know, some of the new staff are people who have lived experiences who might have never worked at a public health agency before. And others may be public health veterans who've never worked in the HIV sphere and might have questions about more specific knowledge about, you know, what is HIV and how is it being treated right now? I remember 20 years ago, right, but I don't remember what's going on now.

So, we created this tool as a way to provide self-paced access to this information and links to places where someone can learn more about a specific area if it's necessary for their work or it piques their curiosity.

JOHNSON:

You can find the micro-learning on the ASTHO website using the link in the show notes.

 

Finally today, the Medicaid SNAP and WIC programs all provide federal dollars that could be used to address hunger and food insecurity, but sometimes making them work together can be a chore. ASTHO has posted a new blog article that explains how some agencies have worked to leverage dollars from different programs. You can read more about braiding and layering funding strategies using the link in the show notes.

 

That'll do it for today's newscast. We are 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.

Nirav Shah MD JD

Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention; President of ASTHO

Rachel Scheckman MPH

Senior Analyst, Population Health and Innovation, ASTHO