391: Heartbreaking Gun Violence, ACIP Explained

On Day Two of Public Health Week, Rich Hamburg, Executive Director of the Safe States Alliance, discusses policies that would help reduce gun violence in America; the Public Health Foundation has a new video explaining the CDC’s Advisory Committee...

On Day Two of Public Health Week, Rich Hamburg, Executive Director of the Safe States Alliance, discusses policies that would help reduce gun violence in America; the Public Health Foundation has a new video explaining the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP); Dr. Anne Zink, ASTHO President, and Mike Fraser, ASTHO CEO, join an online discussion today about the public health workforce hosted by Health Affairs; and registration is open for ASTHO’s Public Health TechXpo and Futures Forum.  

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This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Tuesday, April 4, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson.

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



We can't have people walking into schools with automatic rifles.


On day two of National Public Health Week, Rich Hamburg with the Safe States Alliance discusses violence prevention and the crisis of gun violence in America.


Statistics don't lie: leading cause of death among children, teens, young adults under 25; the number of deaths at 45,000—the highest ever. And then, the figure that just boggles my mind is the fact that we have nearly 400 million guns in this country; so any chart that you look at, any comparison with other countries around the world, we're just in another stratosphere.


Hamburg says most of the progress on policy has come at the local level.


Yeah, I think the states and territories are having some success. You know, there's a number of different opportunities for some of the lower hanging fruit, so to speak. You know, as far as registering weapons, and doing gun violence research, and locking devices, and, you know, just trying to figure out some of the simple things that should be--red flag laws.


Hamburg says there's no good reason to oppose these ideas as none of them threaten the Second Amendment.


You know, we have to act to put an end to this. It's heartbreaking, it's unacceptable, the violence that's happening across the country.


The American Public Health Association has identified seven themes to examine this week. We began our coverage on Monday. We'll consider each topic through next Tuesday.

You can read more about all of them using the link in the show notes.


The Public Health Foundation (PHF) has produced a new video explaining the role of the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, better known as ACIP. Vanessa Lamers is with PHF.


There are many documents that describe the committee and its history, but there wasn't a lot of engaging, short, simple explanations of what the ACIP is and their value to the U.S. The ACIP recommendations really become the standards of care for the United States, but they're not very well understood.

So, we wanted to create a short, engaging video that would be able to describe the process for developing vaccine recommendations and build that understanding.


The COVID-19 pandemic quickly brought the vaccine approval process into the spotlight. Lamers says it was clear that everyone needed a primer to explain what they were watching live on cable news.


We quickly realized that there was not a lot of understanding—even in public health workers, healthcare workers, the health workforce in general—around the process for developing the vaccine recommendations, the steps that the committee goes through, the membership and how that worked, who the kind of ex officio members were, why certain people were talking during the committee and not, kind of who was voting and who was not voting.


Lamers says the video also could help boost vaccine confidence.


I think watching that process in real time, for me, built my confidence in the vaccine is going through. Being on those ACIP committee meetings—which went from, I think, three meetings a year to something like 25 virtually overnight—but being part of those public meetings, watching them struggle with the complexities of the reality that we live in of the pandemic, really helped me understand. And I think having that background for myself is the way that I can communicate to others about that process.


You can watch the video about the CDC's ACIP process using the link in the show notes.


Also, ASTHO President Dr. Anne Zink and CEO Mike Fraser are part of a panel discussion about the public health workforce today at noon Eastern time. The online event is hosted by Health Affairs. You can register to attend using the link in the show notes.


Finally this morning, ASTHO's TechXpo and Futures Forum is coming up next month in Chicago and online. You still have time to sign up. There's a link to the event web page 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.


Vanessa Lamers MPH

Director, Performance Management and Quality Improvement, Public Health Foundation

Richard Hamburg MPA

Executive Director, Safe States Alliance