Dr. Jim McDonald, New York State Acting Health Commissioner, says partnerships with people in local communities are key to the state's response to the opioid crisis; Siman Qaasim, Health Equity Administrator for the Arizona Department of Health...
Dr. Jim McDonald, New York State Acting Health Commissioner, says partnerships with people in local communities are key to the state's response to the opioid crisis; Siman Qaasim, Health Equity Administrator for the Arizona Department of Health Services, says Arizona’s mobile COVID-19 vaccine program has vaccinated 150,000 people; a new ASTHO blog talks about how state and territorial health officials can re-establish trust; and you can learn more about managing toxic stress in a new ASTHO Insight and Inspiration event planned for Wednesday, Feb. 22nd.
WETM News Article: NYS DOH reports increase in overdose deaths from 2020
Arizona Department of Health Services News Release: ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans
ASTHO Blog Article: Rebuilding Trust in Public Health Through Effective Communications
ASTHO Webpage: Insight and Inspiration: Conversations for Public Health Leaders
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Monday, February 13, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson.
Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
The supply chain issues were historic during the pandemic—my goodness, you couldn't even find toilet paper. However, you know, the illicit drug trade didn't have any interruptions at all.
Acting New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Jim McDonald on the 14% increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in New York State in 2021. Compared to 2020, he says the illicit drug supply has become more potent, and that has only made things worse.
So, I think when I say potency, it's like, when you look at counterfeit oxycodone pills, for example, you know, if you really don't know what's in there, you don't know what's in there. And you know, even just a little bit of fentanyl is enough to take someone's life. And that's really the struggle we see.
In New York State, McDonald says making connections is a key part of the response strategy.
Yeah, I think it's a treatment that's really important. You know, when I think about that issue is finding people and meeting them where they are. You know, people need to feel welcome. So, if you shop up at an emergency department, and you can be connected to treatment, that's awesome. I mean, one of the things I've learned about recently in New York, I think this something in New York does well, is links to treatment.
McDonald points out partnerships with people in the communities are invaluable.
You know, I think working with overdose prevention programs in New York is important. We have over 1,000 in the state. They do more than just hand out naloxone, by the way--you know, it's really about connecting people to treatment, that linkage to treatment, kind of helping people feel safe to to call 911, that there's some Good Samaritan activity here.
You can read more about New York's latest opioid data using the link in the show notes.
Arizona is using a mobile COVID-19 vaccine program to reach unvaccinated people across the state. Siman Qaasim is Arizona's health equity administrator.
The model is that we use vendors that can come on site, bring their own supplies, no insurance required, no immigration status questions, no ID check. Literally you just have to give a name and a date of birth--that's it. And the mobile vendors can go anywhere in the state, including very rural places. But we have, of course, prioritized unsheltered Arizonans, are those that are unhoused, as well as those that are living in correctional facilities.
Qaasim says the program has vaccinated 150,000 people, many with the help of community partners.
And we coordinate very much with community partners and county partners and can do nasal swab, saliva, antigen, and the rapid PCR, which is obviously more appropriate for situations where you might be at an encampment and someone wouldn't be able to come back in 24 to 48 hours to get their lab results.
Qaasim says the program relies on trusted organizations to lead the way.
We may not have had, for example, vaccine clinics that were accessible to people with disabilities. Will you meet with us, and will you teach us, and we can learn from you and we can make changes. And I think by doing that listening and then actually following through and making changes based on community input, we have started to establish trust among trusted community providers.
You can read more about the Arizona program using the link in the show notes.
Also today, many agencies are still thinking about how to rebuild public trust that was lost during the pandemic. O'Keyla Cooper has more.
The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has left many public health jurisdictions weakened in their ability to do their daily work. A new ASTHO blog talks about how state and territorial health officials can reestablish trust and what they should consider when developing a strategy to improve trust between health departments and their audiences. Read the full blog using the link found in the show notes.
Finally this morning, you can learn more about managing toxic stress in a new ASTHO Insight and Inspiration event planned for Wednesday, February 22. Dr. Kemia Sarraf will give attendees the steps they can take to heal from the impacts of the pandemic. You can sign up for the online event 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.
Medical Director, Office of Public Health, New York State Department of Health