Dr. Marcus Plescia, ASTHO’s Chief Medical Officer, talks about an article he helped author in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, which discusses the work public health did in response to the pandemic; Bea Martinez, Southern...
Dr. Marcus Plescia, ASTHO’s Chief Medical Officer, talks about an article he helped author in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, which discusses the work public health did in response to the pandemic; Bea Martinez, Southern Coordinator for the Office of Community Health Workers with the New Mexico Department of Health, addresses efforts to help improve the health of Hispanic communities; ASTHO publishes a blog about how state and territorial health officials are working to address privacy concerns associated with mental healthcare and telehealth; and ASTHO has a report to help states and territories address the danger kids face with lead in their drinking water.
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Thursday, October 13th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.
Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
You know, this is the moment of great adversity. It was unexpected. And you know, while there's plenty of lessons to be learned from the things that didn't work, there were places where the system really came through for us.
ASTHO's chief medical officer Dr. Marcus Plescia is talking about the work public health did in response to the pandemic. He, along with Claire Hannan from the Association of Immunization Managers and Jessica Baggett from ASTHO, wrote an article for the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
They reviewed public health achievements, among them the partnerships created to get millions vaccinated.
We had to bring on new people, new providers. We had to bring on new medical providers, but the big thing is we brought on pharmacies—that's something we had not worked as extensively with.
And then, as time went on, we started to partner with community-based organizations. You know, once we got through the initial big demand for the vaccine, there were still a lot of people who needed to be vaccinated who weren't coming forward.
Plescia says public health also made great progress closing the equity gap.
First time—one of the first times in my career—I've seen us close a disparity gap like that. And we're very close now to having the same level of participation amongst racial and ethnic minorities as we do with the rest of the population. That was a huge success, and the fact that we did that means we can do it again.
Plescia says the article is a testament to the great work public health teams did to keep people safe despite adversity and public criticism.
We partly wrote this because we felt like our members deserved it. They deserved to get some credit for something that they'd done well. But I think what we're seeing is that everybody likes to see a success story. And, you know, maybe it's time for some people to reframe a little bit about how they look at this whole thing.
Because we had a lot of challenges and we had a lot of setbacks. But there were some things we did really well, where the system worked for us and where also people came together. You know, this really required the general public to participate and decide that they would get vaccinated.
You can read the article using the link in the show notes.
It's National Hispanic American Heritage Month. ASTHO is recognizing the accomplishments its members have made to help improve the health of Hispanic communities.
In New Mexico, Bea Martinez says, community health workers are vital to those efforts.
Since the pandemic, the CHWs has been the frontline public health champions in supporting health equity. They've been champions in the community. You know, they're the go-getters, they're the ones that live in the community, and they know the needs of the community.
Martinez is the southern coordinator for New Mexico's Office of Community Health Workers.
When we went to the pandemic, they were outside the neighborhood build stores providing masks, providing sanitizers, providing information, making sure that they knew about the vaccine, and how important it was there for them to get vaccinated. They provided a lot of resources for people to go vaccinated—in many cases, they even helped them with the scheduling vaccines with the Department of Health.
Martinez says they're one of the department's best connections to their communities.
Where we're so close to the border, it's mostly Hispanic populations. Sometimes they don't understand the language, you know? And when you have somebody that that knows you, that knows your language, you're going to feel better and you're going to trust in them. So, they make a lot of difference. I mean, they're our champions.
I think this pandemic has broadened perspective of how the CHW works in that community. If there wasn't for them, who would be out there knocking on doors? Who would be outside the little stores? Who would be doing flyers and talking to them and helping them out?
Also, patients with mental health concerns received treatment via telehealth connections during the worst days of the pandemic, but was their privacy protected?
O'Keyla Cooper has more.
The COVID-19 pandemic increased the prevalence of anxiety and depression. In turn, telehealth practices were expanded to meet healthcare needs.
One policy challenge related to meeting this increased demand is protecting patient privacy. Find out how state and territorial health officials are working to address this concern in ASTHO's latest blog, found in the show notes
Finally this morning: today is Children's Environmental Health Day, an opportunity to discuss the danger kids face with lead in their drinking water.
ASTHO has a new report to help states and territories address the problem. The report examines sampling protocols for lead in residential buildings and provides links to resources when testing for lead in schools. You can read the report using the link in the show notes.
Just a reminder before we go: if you want more news like this, all you need to do is follow the newscast using the follow button on your favorite podcast player. We're online every day at 5:00 a.m. If you follow us, we'll be on your mobile device at the same time.
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.