36: Heart Health Messages

Dr. Dave Dixon, a clinical pharmacist and a member of the American College of Cardiology’s Prevention Section and Leadership Council, tells us how public health teams can apply the message of World Heart Day in their jurisdictions;  Joanne...

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Dr. Dave Dixon, a clinical pharmacist and a member of the American College of Cardiology’s Prevention Section and Leadership Council, tells us how public health teams can apply the message of World Heart Day in their jurisdictions;  Joanne Pearsol, ASTHO’s Director of Leadership and Workforce, explains how the new PHWins survey of the public health workforce can help inform personnel funding decisions; ASTHO highlights three job openings; and an ASTHO microlearning helps members navigate and implement the new Healthy People 2030 report.

ACC Website: Cardiosmart.org

Webpage: PH Wins

JPHMP: Public health workforce interests and needs survey (PH Wins)

ASTHO: Job opportunities

ASTHO Learning: Preparing for Healthy People 2030

Report: Healthy People 2030

ASTHO logo



This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Wednesday, September 29th, 2021. I'm Robert Johnson.

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


Today is World Heart Day, an opportunity to focus on heart-related conditions that impact millions of lives.

Dr. Dave Dixon is a clinical pharmacist and associate professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy. He's also on the American College of Cardiology's Prevention Section and Leadership Council.

Dr. Dixon tells us how public health teams can apply the observance in today's morning conversation.

How does an event like World Heart Day help focus attention on issues impacting heart health?


Well, if we've learned anything from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it's that heart health plays an important role in our overall health. We know individuals that have poor heart health have certainly been at greater risk for hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.

So, I think it's also shined a light on the severity of heart health inequity in our society, as we've seen inequities in terms of management of cardiovascular risk factors, as well as how that can translate to worse outcomes with COVID.

So, I think World Heart Day can help bring more attention to both of these issues.


Public health officials listen to this newscast.

How can they leverage World Heart Day to advance community health goals?



So, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted much of the ongoing efforts to strengthen community efforts to improve heart health. Many people have put on a few pounds, become less active, become more socially isolated, all of which we know increases cardiovascular risk.

So, I think public health officials can use World Heart Day to re-engage with their community on how to eat better, move more, safely engage with others to improve their heart health.

And I'd be remiss not to mention, too, that World Heart Day can also be leveraged to help promote vaccination against both COVID-19 and influenza.


Is there anything then that public health officials ought to be doing in the months ahead to help improve heart health in their communities?



So, looking ahead as we hopefully emerge from the pandemic, I think we need to communicate to our communities that we are still in a heart health crisis. We have rising rates of obesity, diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure and, as I mentioned, many individuals have lost progress with their heart healthy efforts in terms of diet and exercise; and so, I think we'll need to double our efforts to get our communities back on track.

And also, the underlying issues of health, inequity, nutrition, and inadequate access to high-quality primary care services have not gone away. I think our communities need to be reminded of this and use this as motivation to address some of these important issues as we move ahead.



While the fight to control COVID-19 continues, ASTHO members also are battling fatigue, anxiety, and burnout among those in the public health workforce.

Now, ASTHO and the de Beaumont Foundation want to know how people are feeling about their jobs and their futures. A new PH Wins survey is in the field gathering input from thousands of professionals.

Joanne Pearsol is ASTHO's director of leadership and workforce.


I think it's really critical to take a look at what the data is telling us about the workforce.

There's new funding going into health jurisdictions to support workforce efforts. And having this data that can be looked at both from a national perspective and from a state and local perspectives will really help to plan for the future of the workforce so that we can address both retention of the current workforce as well as recruitment of the future workforce and make sure that everyone is prepared to address public health issues that are on the horizon.


Pearsol says survey results will be available next summer.


People thinking of making a career change don't have to wait until next year—ASTHO has job openings right now.

The communications team is looking for a specialist. Other positions include one as a senior analyst working on climate change policy, and another as a manager of distance learning.

A link to ASTHO's career webpage is in the show notes.


Finally this morning, if you'd like to know how to apply the new Healthy People 2030 Report in your jurisdiction, ASTHO has a new microlearning that can help.

The online course explains what's new in the report and it tells you how to use it to benchmark your own progress at the state and territorial level.


Find a link to the microlearning, along with links to everything else mentioned today, in the show notes.


Also, remember to follow us on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or listen on Alexa or Google assistant.

And, if you have a minute, please take time to leave us a rating and a review.


Join us tomorrow morning for more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition.


Chair, Department of Pharmacotherapy & Outcomes Science, VCU School of Pharmacy

Joanne Pearsol MA MCHES

Director, Workforce Development, ASTHO