418: Post-Emergency Plans, Americorps Investment

The public health emergency ends today; ASTHO CEO Dr. Mike Fraser says ASTHO members are prepared; Maggie Davis, ASTHO’s Director of State Health Policy, explains that public health is adopting emergency measures into local statute and policies;...

The public health emergency ends today; ASTHO CEO Dr. Mike Fraser says ASTHO members are prepared; Maggie Davis, ASTHO’s Director of State Health Policy, explains that public health is adopting emergency measures into local statute and policies; ASTHO President Dr. Anne Zink looks ahead to improve systems for those who continue to suffer from COVID-19; Dr. Brannon Traxler, Director of Public Health for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, outlines how South Carolina will handle sharing COVID-19 data following the end of the public health emergency; AJ Pearlman, Director of Public Health AmeriCorps, explains how the organization works to build up the public health workforce; Dr. Micky Tripathi, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, shares what COVID-19 taught public health about data management; online tickets to attend TechXpo are still available for the next two weeks; and an invitation to sign up for ASTHO’s legislative alert emails.


Alaska’s COVID-19 situation has flattened out, but what should Alaskans do if they test positive now?

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Leadership Trailblazer Spotlight: Micky Tripathi, HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

Public Health TechXpo and Futures Forum

Legislative Alerts


ASTHO logo



This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Thursday, May 11, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson.

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



So there's a lot that ends on May 11 at the end of the public health emergency.


ASTHO CEO Dr. Mike Fraser thinking about the policy changes connected to the end of the pandemic-related public health emergency.


There's definitely going to be continued demand for healthcare services, especially where Medicaid reenrollment is either difficult or complicated, or, you know, just a lot of issues established there. And while not all state public health departments run the Medicaid program, it's part of the health family and so that's a big deal.

The other big deal is really thinking through what data systems that were developed during COVID. Do we want to maintain in the way that we reported data to get current, almost real-time data? How do we continue to do that in a non-emergency situation so that we have that situational awareness? That's a big priority, and we're still trying to figure that out.


Fraser says ASTHO members have spent a lot of time getting ready for today's deadline.


I think that what's happening with COVID is it's kind of falling into line with the way other respiratory diseases are dealt with by states and state epidemiologists and by CDC, so a lot of the work has really been transitioning COVID and our COVID response back to sort of the typical flu season, for example.


Maggie Davis is ASTHO's director of state health policy. She agrees that members are ready to deal with the changes coming tomorrow.


This has been a very thoughtful process to unwind a lot of these emergency measures that were put in place to address a massive public health emergency. And some of these measures have been adopted full term. For example, we've seen some states change their laws to expand telehealth flexibilities to expand scope of practice for vaccinations. So there has been really this thoughtful adaptation of pieces that were working well that we'd like to continue from the public health emergency as we get more into somewhat of a steady state with the legal framework around public health and addressing COVID-19.


ASTHO members are weighing in on the deadline. Association president Dr. Anne Zink answers questions about the next phase of the pandemic in a conversation with Alaska Public Media. She says now that the COVID curve has flattened out, she's thinking about how to improve systems for those who continue to suffer from the virus and whatever outbreak might come next. Also, Dr. Brandon Traxler from South Carolina tells the Washington Post how her state will handle COVID-19 data now that they'll no longer be required to send it to the CDC. You can get more on these stories using the links in the show notes.


AmeriCorps and the CDC will invest more than $90 million in a new round of grants intended to help build the public health workforce. The dollars support the Public Health AmeriCorps partnership. Director AJ Pearlman says the goals are twofold.


First, to engage thousands of AmeriCorps members to complete a year of service in public health settings, while advancing more equitable health outcomes for underserved communities. And the second goal is to create pathways to quality, public health-related careers. Through that, hands-on experience and training with a focus on recruiting AmeriCorps members who reflect the communities in which they serve.


Pearlman says Minnesota is one example of the work agencies have done to recruit, train, and develop the next generation of public health leaders.


They're engaging in disease investigation, providing education on childhood immunizations, and they're leading social media outreach campaigns around HIV prevention, just to name a few. So AmeriCorps members not only strengthen the impact of these organizations during their service term, but they also apply what they've learned and leverage their experience as they continue to build a career in public health.


Public Health AmeriCorps is expected to receive $400 million over five years. Pearlman says now is the time for everyone to engage the public health workforce rebuilding effort.


We are always asking folks to share information about Public Health AmeriCorps with their networks. There are currently opportunities to serve across the country, and we have ongoing enrollment in all of our Public Health AmeriCorps programs.


You can get more information about the program using the links in the show notes.


Also today, the pandemic revealed many challenges and opportunities for public health. HHS National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. Micky Tripathi is thinking about the lessons related to using and managing data.


When you live in a world of cloud infrastructure that is highly extensible—meaning that it's highly scalable and, for practical purposes, almost has no limit in terms of the amount of storage and capacity that is there—the fact that our public health system had volume constraints is, in some ways, just sort of shocking.


Tripathi is on the agenda at the ASTHO TechXpo and Futures Forum planned for May 23–25.


We have the opportunity now to start to, at a minimum, update the way we think about how all of the information sharing sort of happens across that entire ecosystem. And even going further than updating, completely rethinking in some ways the way that information sharing happens and how we might start to think of ourselves more and more as sort of being on a digital foundation.


Online tickets to the Xpo are still available. Sign up now using the link in the show notes.


Finally this morning, stay up to date with everything happening in state and territorial capitals by signing up for ASTHO'S Legislative Alert emails. You can join the list by visiting 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.

Micky Tripathi PhD

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, HHS

AJ Pearlman JD

Director, Public Health AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps

Maggie Davis JD MA PMP

Director, State Health Policy, ASTHO