425: Data Tune-Up, ASTHO Media Playbook

Dr. Monica Bharel, Senior Public Health Advisor at Advanced Clinical, discusses data infrastructure needs; Dr. Michael Fraser, ASTHO CEO, says new a ASTHO guidebook will help public health leaders navigate news media requests; Pacific Island region...

Dr. Monica Bharel, Senior Public Health Advisor at Advanced Clinical, discusses data infrastructure needs; Dr. Michael Fraser, ASTHO CEO, says new a ASTHO guidebook will help public health leaders navigate news media requests; Pacific Island region health leaders plan to meet in June to discuss ways to control the Dengue virus; and you have one more day to purchase online tickets to ASTHO’s TechXpo and Futures Forum starting tomorrow.


Public Health TechXpo and Futures Forum

The story of the COVID-19 vaccine, from the lab to millions of arms

Dengue Preparedness in the U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States

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This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Monday, May 22, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson.

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



We have to evolve our systems in order to prepare for the next epidemic or pandemic.


Dr. Monica Bharel led the drive to make data more holistic when she was public health commissioner in Massachusetts. Tomorrow, she talks about the importance of innovation during a panel at the ASTHO TechXpo in Chicago and online.


Part of the challenge is that it's hard, when there's a daily crisis, to think about something that feels very logistical like data infrastructure. But it's really not a choice anymore. We can no longer have aging mainframes hidden in closets at our labs under leaking roofs. We can no longer send someone in a car to pick up paper lab results from a clinic to enter into the case report Excel sheet.


Bharel admits the challenges are many, but says the opportunities are exciting.


The health issues at hand today are complex. And the needs of the people we're serving are more than they've ever been. And using this data integration and the opportunities we have, we can really see an impact on our work.


Bharel is collaborating with Google. She says part of the answer to the data challenge is to work smarter.


The tools are there, the private-public partnership opportunities are there, the lessons that we learned are there, and I'm excited to see what we can do together in the future.


You still have time to get an online ticket to the TechXpo. The link to sign up is in the show notes.


ASTHO has published a new guidebook to help public health leaders navigate their relationships with the news media. CEO Dr. Michael Fraser says the communications playbook for public officials is an edited compilation of daily news tips emailed to ASTHO members during the early days of the pandemic.


First, we realized that communication and working with the media is just, now more than ever, a core feature of a state health official's job. And so, helping them get ready for that is really important. And then--it's kind of a funny story. Our president-elect at the time and then our president, Nirav Shah, was receiving our daily newsletter during COVID and saw your tips, Robert, in those newsletters, and came up to me one day and said, "You know, you probably put those all together in a book."


It's a fact that yours truly wrote all 73 chapters in the book. At 171 pages, it's an easy reference designed to guide the reader through almost every media encounter.


One of the things that's important about the book is it's not just about public health, but it's certainly relevant to the work of public health officials. So the feedback I'm getting from most members is, you know, great tips, very helpful, shared it with my PIO, and found it very valuable for those those nuggets of wisdom that come with your experience.


Fraser expects his members will find the guidance they need when navigating a variety of media requests.


Their work with the media is a challenge area for them. You know, even after all all the training and expertise that they've gained through formal schooling, there aren't a lot of courses that prepare you for those crucible moments in a press conference. And so this book helps with that, but also a broader media strategy that they may not be fluent in and it gets folks up to speed real quick.


The playbook is available on Amazon. There's a link in the show notes.


Also today, health leaders in the Pacific Island region will meet in June to discuss strategies that could help control the dengue virus. Their work includes the development of models that can predict the impact of climate changes on virus outbreaks. You can read an ASTHO blog about the work and the meeting using the link in the show notes.


Finally this morning, another reminder that you can still get an online seat at ASTHO's TechXpo starting tomorrow in Chicago. As we mentioned earlier, the link is in the show notes. We'll be in the Windy City tomorrow and Wednesday, talking with the experts, bringing you those conversations in the days and weeks ahead.


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.

Monica Bharel MD MPH

Senior Public Health Advisor, Advanced Clinical