399: Trust Strategies, Congress Gets Back to Work

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Senior Associate Dean at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health, reflects on restoring trust in public health; Jeffrey Ekoma, ASTHO Senior Director of Government Affairs, tells us what to expect when...

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Senior Associate Dean at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health, reflects on restoring trust in public health; Jeffrey Ekoma, ASTHO Senior Director of Government Affairs, tells us what to expect when Congress is back in session; ASTHO issues a statement supporting the Biden Administration's designation of Fentanyl and Xylazine as an emerging threat to the U.S.; online registration is open for ASTHO’s Health Equity Summit; and registration for ASTHO’s TechXpo and Futures Forum is still open for in person and online.

Restoring Trust In Our Nation’s Public Health System

ASTHO Statement on Biden Administration Designating Fentanyl Combined with Xylazine as an Emerging Threat to the United States

Overdose Data to Action Recipient Health Equity Needs Assessment Overview

Health Equity Summit: A Movement for Justice

Public Health TechXpo and Futures Forum


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This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Friday, April 14, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson.

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



Right now, we're in a place where trust in the public health system is rather low.


Dr. LaQuanda Nesbitt is senior associate dean at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health, talking about trust in public health work.


The entire purpose of the public health system is to provide services to the public. And without the public's trust in the system, it's extremely difficult to get the public to engage, to follow policy guidance, to receive much needed services that we need them to receive in order to protect their health and the health of others.


Nesbitt has written an article in Health Affairs. It's about restoring trust.


We know that people tend to have more trust in their local public health systems and their state public health systems than they do our federal public health systems. But our state and local health systems tend to rely on the federal health system for resources and policy guidance and general direction, and so it's critically important that we have our public gaining trust in all three levels of that system.


Monday, Dr. Nesbitt offers strategies that could help rebuild trust in public health. Listen at 5 a.m. ET everywhere you stream audio.


Congress returns to work Monday. ASTHO senior director of government affairs Jeffrey Ekoma tells us what to expect in this week's view from Washington, D.C. report.

Congress is back in session next week. They've been out for two weeks now. What do ASTHO members need to know about their agenda, their plans, when they come back to work on Monday?


Congress is coming back next week with a full plate of things to work on. However, with much appreciation to our island support team, ASTHO was pleased to send a letter of support to Representative Gregorio Sablan for his bill, the Insular Area Medicaid Parity Act, which seeks to repeal language in Section 11-08 of the Social Security Act and sunset limitations on Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa beginning in FY 2023. Now, although Congress recently passed a permanent FMAP increase of 83% for all territories, excluding Puerto Rico, whose FMAP was extended for five years at 76%, the bill really wants to remove all funding limitations for the territories and put them on the same playing field as the state.

So that's one thing that we're really proud of, but Congress is coming back with a lot of things to do coming back from their early April recess.


What about hearings? Congress likes to hold hearings, I'd imagine there are some of those on the schedule.


Absolutely. There's one particularly of interest to us. I mean, we are in budgeting/approps season. The House Appropriations Committee will be hosting a hearing on the FY 24 budget request for CDC, ASPR, and NIH on Wednesday, April 19. That will include testimony from Dr. Walensky, amongst others. So we'll be looking out in that hearing for many things that our members have told us to look out for to advocate for on their behalf.


Jeffrey Ekoma, thanks for taking the time to meet with us again here on the newscast. We always appreciate your updates.


Thank you.



The Biden administration says fentanyl combined with xylazine is now an emerging threat to the United States. ASTHO has issued a statement supporting the designation. You can read it using the link in the show notes.


Also today, a new ASTHO tool is available to help agencies working to address drug use and addiction. O'Keyla Cooper has more.


ASTHO created a tool to assess the needs and capacity of recipients of CDC's Overdose Data to Action cooperative agreement to incorporate health equity into overdose prevention and surveillance efforts. The results will be used to provide health equity-focused activities such as technical assistance, mentorship, trainings, and peer exchange. You can access the full assessment using the link in the show notes.



Finally this morning, two reminders. ASTHO's Health Equity Summit is coming up April 25-26 in Atlanta. If you attend, you can learn how to create a movement for justice. Online tickets are still available. Also, ASTHO's TechXpo and Futures Forum is happening in May in Chicago. It's a can't-miss opportunity to engage with innovators working to improve public health technology. We have links to both events in the show notes.


That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back Monday morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great weekend.

LaQuandra Nesbitt MD MPH

Senior Associate Dean, Population Health & Health Equity, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health

Jeffrey Ekoma

Senior Director, Government Affairs, ASTHO