401: New HAI/AR Resources, STI Hurdles and Opportunities

Elizabeth Mothershed, Deputy Associate Director of State Strategy for the CDC, says it’s important for leaders to work together on Healthcare-associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance (HAI/AR) programs; a new ASTHO report outlines how...

Elizabeth Mothershed, Deputy Associate Director of State Strategy for the CDC, says it’s important for leaders to work together on Healthcare-associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance (HAI/AR) programs; a new ASTHO report outlines how health department leaders can support effective HAI/AR programs; ASTHO releases two new videos on state approaches to HAI/AR programs; David C. Harvey, Executive Director at National Coalition of STD Directors, explains the importance of STI awareness; and a new ASTHO blog provides resources, programs, and policies to address the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide.

Eight Ways Health Department Leaders Can Support Effective HAI/AR Programs

How Can Health Agencies Support HAI/AR Program Alignment and Structure Reassessment?

How Can Health Agencies Support HAI/AR Staff Recruitment and Retention?

ASTHO and NCSD Issue Joint Statement on Concerning Rise in Syphilis Cases Across U.S.


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This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Tuesday, April 18, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson.

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



Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, HAI/AR programs have led and supported healthcare infection prevention and control activities.


Elizabeth Mothershed with the CDC on the need for public health leaders to work together to support healthcare-associated infection and antimicrobial resistance (HAI/AR) programs.


I don't think anyone can really deny the importance now of infection control across healthcare and the community. This has really been spotlighted through the COVID experience. And so the time is right because we've learned so much from the COVID experience and there's so much opportunity right now with funding to states.


In addition to the federal investment, Mothershed says workforce initiatives and training are essential to proper infection prevention and control practices.


This requires the coordination of public health healthcare community partners, and it really requires the full engagement of state health leaders. And this may require health officials to explore creative ways for hiring or for staff retention and growth, including new avenues for compensation or on-the-job training or opportunities for additional professional development.


Mothershed says existing advisory panels also play a critical role in reducing cases.


Every state has an HAI advisory group that is a multi-sectorial group. It's coordinated by the HAI/AR program, and the intent of this group is to align efforts around healthcare infection prevention and response. So in some states, this group also works strategically with large healthcare systems or with the state chief medical officers to share HAI/AR data and to develop strategic coalitions that can work together to prevent HAIs or multi-drug resistant organism transmission in healthcare settings.


Louisiana state health officer Dr. Joseph Kanter and the state's HAI/AR coordinator Erica Washington discussed the benefits of having leadership dedicated to this issue in a new ASTHO video now online. Also, ASTHO has written a report outlining eight ways health department leaders can support effective HAI/AR programs. In another new video, leaders with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment talk about three of those eight strategies. You can watch both videos and download the ASTHO report using the links in the show notes.


The latest CDC data shows some STIs are on the rise. David Harvey is executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.


Most Americans-many Americans are uncomfortable talking about these topics, including sex, and we face an enormous lack of awareness about people's risks for sexually transmitted infection.


Harvey reminds us that stigma is only one of the challenges impacting work to prevent and treat these diseases.


And we also have a series of policy challenges to our ability to do effective public health programs: court challenges against reproductive health, the Affordable Care Act, minor consent laws that are getting repealed. So we have a lot of challenges to confront with the number one issue being that we need much more funding in this field to make a difference.


Despite the hurdles, Harvey says there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future.


Doxy-PrEP holds great promise for preventing sexually transmitted infections. We are looking forward to the results of vaccine research. And there are other innovations in our field including home self-collect testing, express STI clinics, the administration is getting ready to release an STI implementation plan which we are eagerly await. And we feel that all the national work that's focused on improving data infrastructure within public health departments are all going to make enormous differences in our field.


ASTHO issued a statement with Harvey's organization in response to the latest data about rising rates of syphilis and congenital syphilis in the U.S. You can read it using the link in the show notes.


Finally this morning, another study about youth mental health is raising new concerns. O'Keyla Cooper has more.


Results from the 2011 – 2021 CDC Youth Risk Behavior survey reveal worrying trends in mental health conditions of adolescents. A new ASTHO blog discusses resources programs and policies that state and territorial health officials, as well as other public health professionals, can research and create to lessen the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide. The full report can be found 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.

Elizabeth Mothershed MS

Deputy Associate Director, State Strategy, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion , CDC

David Harvey MSW

Executive Director. National Coalition of STD Directors