ED Share June 5, 2017

By Ariel Brandt Lautman posted 06-12-2017 02:43 PM


Executive Director Share
Week of June 5, 2017


The Week in Review

  • Share Your Success Stories!
  • ASTHO Board Meeting Announcement
  • Zika Report and Press Release
  • ASTHO Affiliate Policy Meeting
  • ASTHO Activity on the Hill
  • CDC Partners Meeting
  • Joint Audit/Finance Committee Meeting
  • Special ASTHO Alumni Society Teleconference on President’s Budget
  • President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis
  • Meeting with Georgetown University Global Health Lead
  • Johns Hopkins School of Public Health “Massive Open On-line Course” on Public Health
  • Meeting with STC, Inc.
  • Newsletter Review
  • Prevent Block Grant and CDC Meetings
  • ASTHO at CSTE Meeting
  • ASTHO at National Vaccine Advisory Committee Meeting
  • Medical Countermeasures Meetings
  • ASTHO EMT meeting
  • ASTHO Operations Updates
  • Staff Kudos
  • The Week Ahead


Share Your Success Stories!
Last Monday, ASTHO launched a campaign to highlight successful public health initiatives and outcomes from all state and territorial health departments. The campaign will run for 75 days leading up to ASTHO’s annual meeting and 75th anniversary gala. Each day, we will share a digital postcard image on ASTHO’s Twitter and Facebook featuring a “snapshot” of success stories from states and territories—think in terms of 20 words or less! What is a digital postcard? See examples in this video and learn how to participate! PLEASE share a success using this online form or email We welcome participation from all state and territorial health departments, ASTHO affiliates, senior deputies, alumni, peer networks, and policy committees! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to highlight the important work of public health. If you have any questions, please contact or visit the campaign web page for more information.

ASTHO Board Meeting Announcement
The ASTHO board of directors will meet in Atlanta for a convening that will include a full day at CDC beginning with a strategy session, hosted by ASTHO with futurist Clement Bezold, PhD, chairman of the Institute for Alternative Futures, followed by meetings with CDC Leadership, including Acting Director Anne Schuchat. Strategic discussions with CDC leadership will include how we can effectively work together on public health funding, surveillance systems, prevention of opioid misuse and abuse, strengthening the public health workforce, and new and emerging pathogens, including Zika and H7N9. ASTHO, Georgia Healthcare Foundation, and the CDC Foundation will host a reception honoring “Georgia’s Giants in Public Health” at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health from 5-7 p.m. on June 15. Honorees include President and Mrs. Carter, and the 16th Surgeon General of the United States David Satcher. On Friday, June 16, the ASTHO board will meet. The board’s agenda was shared in last Wednesday’s Pulse. If you have specific items or concerns to share with the ASTHO board about policy or program issues in your state, be sure to contact your ASTHO Regional Director – we will be having an open discussion on regional issues in June and welcome SHO feedback. As a follow-up, a summary of the board meeting and discussion items will be shared with all S/THOs shortly after the meeting. For a list of regional directors, click here. Please contact Melissa Ferguson if you have questions about the June board meeting events.

Zika Report and Press Release
On Friday, ASTHO released a response to CDC’s new report on Zika virus infection and the territories, making the case for continued attention to Zika prevention and support for Zika response. You can read the press release here.


ASTHO Affiliate Policy Meeting
Several ASTHO affiliates met on Thursday to discuss policy and advocacy priorities and learn more about what each organization is hearing concerning public health funding and other issues. It was a great group, attended by almost 20 individuals representing various ASTHO affiliates. Many thanks to Carolyn Mullen and Carolyn McCoy on our ASTHO team for their help with the meeting and to Joe and Lynda who helped with meeting logistics. The group discussed developing a joint sign-on letter in support of public health and common advocacy trainings for members, and shared ideas about educational opportunities for our groups to share with Congress. We also discussed planning shared advocacy days whenever possible, for example our Hill Day in March.

ASTHO Activity on the Hill
Last week, Sen. Hirono’s (D-HI) office contacted ASTHO to review their draft dear colleague letter about HPP and PHEP. The health security team reviewed the letter. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any state stories to share about the impact of cuts in the timeframe needed for the letter, but we did provide contact information for other groups in the public health community and explored the possibility of helping the senator’s office identify a Republican co-lead for the letter. In addition, Carolyn Mullen attended a meeting with TFAH and other public health organizations to encourage Senator Graham (R-SC) to support funding of public health and the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Staff appeared supportive, however they have not yet seen the text of the Senate ACA repeal bill.


CDC Partners Meeting 

Last week, Carolyn McCoy and Carolyn Mullen attended a CDC partners meeting here in Washington, D.C. CDC staff reviewed the president’s budget and took questions.


Joint Audit/Finance Committee Meeting
The ASTHO Audit and Finance Committee met on Friday morning. The committee reviewed the FY16 ASTHO Audit Report, which will be shared with the full board after staff review. We also reviewed current ASTHO finances, the work of the ASTHO non-dues revenue working group, and operational updates and improvements in our finance, grants, and contracts areas. Thanks to John Mericsko for putting together the necessary background documents and leading the committee through the materials. Thanks also to John Wiesman (SHO-WA), Secretary/Treasurer, who chaired the meeting.


Special ASTHO Alumni Society Teleconference on President’s Budget
The ASTHO Alumni Society convened a teleconference on Friday afternoon to discuss ASTHO’s advocacy efforts and learn more about the president’s budget and its impact on public health programs. We also discussed ways that the Alumni Society can help with ASTHO’s overall advocacy work. Thanks to Paul Halverson (Alumni-AR) who facilitated the call, ASTHO staff Melissa Lewis who helped set up the event, and Carolyn Mullen who presented on ASTHO’s current government affairs efforts.


President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis
The first public meeting of the White House Commission on drug addiction will be held Friday. ASTHO is preparing comments for the commission’s review, including the importance of primary prevention and the work of state and territorial public health agencies in effective statewide response.


Meeting with Georgetown University Global Health Lead
Also last week, I met with John Monahan, former senior official at HHS and now in a cross-cutting role at Georgetown University working on global health issues. We discussed potential connections between ASTHO and Georgetown, both on domestic policy work and also global issues. It was good to meet a new colleague and learn more about one of our excellent local resources in public health and public policy.


Johns Hopkins School of Public Health “Massive Open On-line Course” on Public Health
On Monday last week, Josh Sharfstein (Alumni-MD) and I took part in an “on-line interview” about ASTHO and its 75th anniversary celebrations. The interview is part of a “MOOC” course on public health that Johns Hopkins School of Public Health is creating and will share with, literally, the world. The goal of the course is to provide an entertaining and different approach to an overview of public health – for example, it includes a “carpool karaoke” inspired segment with Harris County, TX, health official Umair Shah. I look forward to sharing the final product with you soon!


Meeting with STC, Inc.
Last week, I met with Karl Moehler, vice president for federal affairs at STC, Inc., a firm that develops immunization registries for state and territorial health agencies. We discussed several items including shared advocacy goals and potential ways ASTHO and STC could collaborate in the future.


Newsletter Review
We are in the process of revamping both the look and feel of our ASTHO newsletters as well as how we send them to you. Staff are currently reviewing new templates for our newsletters that will give them a common look and feel across the organization and a clearer editorial direction based on our overall program and policy goals. Thanks to our public relations team and program staff who have been working together on the new look and feel of the newsletters and learning how to use new on-line tools to create our final newsletter versions.


Prevent Block Grant and CDC Meetings
Last week, I traveled to Atlanta for the Prevent Block Grantee meeting and visits with key CDC leadership. While in Atlanta, I met with Amber Williams, executive director of SafeStates Alliance, Sherri Berger, chief operating officer of CDC, Craig Thomas, director of OSTLTS’s Division of Public Health Performance Improvement, and several others.


ASTHO at CSTE Meeting
Last week, several members of the infectious disease team attended the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Annual Meeting in Boise, ID. Elke Shaw-Tulloch (SHO-ID) gave welcoming remarks. ASTHO staff Kate Heyer and Elizabeth Ruebush provided support to representatives from the Council for Outbreak Response: Healthcare-Associated Infections and Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogens (CORHA) and presented on CORHA’s work and opportunities for future public health engagement.


ASTHO at National Vaccine Advisory Committee Meeting
ASTHO leaders Jay Butler (SHO-AK) and Nate Smith (SHO-AR) attended the NVAC meeting on June 6 in Washington, D.C. Topics at the meeting included Immunization Information Systems, Vaccine Confidence, Vaccine Administration Financial and Systems Barriers, and Adult Immunizations. ASTHO staff Kim Martin represented ASTHO at the meeting and presented during the IIS session on ASTHO’s work surrounding interjurisdictional data exchange and the ongoing ASTHO/AIRA Community of Practice forum. Kim also participated on a panel discussion surrounding IIS opportunities and challenges surrounding IIS. 


Medical Countermeasures Meetings
ASTHO staff Gerrit Bakker participated in the Public Health Medical Countermeasures (MCM) Enterprise Medical Countermeasure Response Plans and Guidance Stakeholders Workshop at CDC in Atlanta. The meeting brought together stakeholder representatives to assist CDC in revising and updating its MCM response strategy. A central component of the meeting were requests for the type and frequency of information and guidance for CDC to provide to jurisdictions in a response. On June 6-7, Jennifer Lumpkins and Shumethia Seal attended a National Academies of Science workshop on Building a National Capability to Monitor and Assess Medical Countermeasure Use in Response to Public Health Emergencies. The directors of public health preparedness from TN and NC were panelists in sessions at the workshop.


ASTHO EMT meeting
The ASTHO Executive Management Team met on Thursday. We discussed several items including work on our “CIO” proposals, the upcoming board meeting, an update on a proposed strategic planning process, All-S/THO call planning changes, staffing and personnel updates, staff development activities, and calendar share. Chiefs will be sharing updates with their teams, but feel free to ask me if you have any questions about EMT’s agenda or decision-making process (


ASTHO Operations Updates
As of June 1, the number of contracts and amendments increased 20 from the previous week, for a total of 30 during the past 2 weeks. We are in a period (the processing of the new bundle funding) when approval of new contractors dramatically slows. The same staff processing the new funding is the same staff approving the new contractors. Example: Approval requested April 25 for two contractors was granted on June 2. The only sure resolution for this issue is to minimize the requests for approval of new contractors (funded through the CDC bundle) during the time the bundle applications are processed by CDC. Finance staff are working though the operational issues resulting from the new telework policy and ASTHO’s contribution for parking/commuting costs. Currently, some of the issues to be resolved are:

  • Assigned and hoteling work areas could change daily.
  • Telework policy is being misapplied by staff and supervisors.
  • ASTHO’s contribution for any staff could change daily.
  • There is no description of the methodology to determine the first month’s contribution for new staff and the last month’s contribution for departing staff.


Good news! ASTHO received its “Authorization to Incur Costs” letter from CDC’s grant management office for Bundle Year 5 non-competing continuation funding. This allows us to begin recruiting staff, seeking contractors/vendors, and sub recipients needed for this funding. The actual NOA for the funding is projected to be issued mid-July. The application process for Year 5 CIO opportunities of the CDC bundle is underway. Staff submitted the application bundle and submitted it last week – two days early!


Staff Kudos
This week we share our congratulations with Jim Blumenstock, ASTHO’s chief of health security, who completed the yearlong executive leaders program provided by the Naval Post Graduate School’s Center of Homeland Defense and Security. The goal of the executive leaders program is to enhance senior leaders’ capacity to develop policies and strategies while strengthening working relationships across the jurisdictional boundaries of regions, agencies, local-state-tribal-federal governments, and the private sector.


In addition, we recognize with a special “shout out,” the extraordinary efforts of Meredith Allen and Shayla Woodson, with help from many other health security and meeting services staff, in finalizing the program and handling many last minute logistical challenges in preparation for this week’s Binational Forum on Zika. Their professionalism was key in fostering such a collaborative and collegial environment with our planning partners from the Texas Department of State Health Services and in skillfully handling the protocol and cultural nuances to meet the needs of our Mexican colleagues who will be in attendance.


I also thank everyone involved in the CDC Bundle Year 5 New CIO Programs Application! ASTHO submitted final application two days before the deadline. As Dawn stated, “This success is just another illustration of what we can do when we are all striving for the same goal TOGETHER! The total requested amount for this round of new CIO projects is $10,100,500.” Well done all!


The Week Ahead

Monday, June 12 – Travel to Austin, TX for the State Environmental Health Directors meeting; and participate in “Executive Directors Panel” with leaders of other national environmental health organizations.


Tuesday, June 13 – Return to Washington, D.C.; and meet with Office of Management and Budget Public Health Program Director.


Wednesday, June 14 – Database/Netforum planning meeting; meet with Chris Adams, National Press Foundation; meet with Jay Butler; travel to Atlanta for ASTHO board meeting; and board dinner (6 p.m., Atlanta).


Thursday, June 15 – ASTHO board visit to CDC; and “Georgia’s Giants in Public Health” reception at Emory Rollins School of Public Health (5-7 p.m.).


Friday, June 16 – ASTHO board meeting (Emory Conference Center, Atlanta).


Michael Fraser, PhD MSMSL CAE FCPP
Executive Director
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
2231 Crystal Drive, Suite 450, Arlington, VA 22202
Tel: (202) 371-9090 | Asst: (571) 527-3142
Office: (571) 527-3131 | Mobile: (202) 222-5166
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