Executive Director Share Week of June 12

By Ariel Brandt Lautman posted 06-20-2017 01:30 PM


Executive Director Share

Week of June 12, 2017


ASTHO’s board met in Atlanta last week and we had an excellent series of discussions with CDC leadership. We also celebrated the many “Public Health Giants of Georgia” at a reception hosted by ASTHO, Healthcare Georgia Foundation, and the CDC Foundation. In addition to these meetings in Atlanta, a lot of other great work happened at ASTHO over the past week. Below are a few highlights.


The Week in Review

  • Welcome Mylynn Tufte, Our Newest Board Member
  • ASTHO Wins a Power of A Gold Award!
  • ASTHO President in Wall Street Journal
  • ASTHO Board Meeting
  • ASTHO Board Meeting with CDC Leadership
  • Public Health Giants of Georgia Reception
  • CDC Foundation Meeting
  • State Environmental Health Directors Meeting
  • ASTHO Supports Binational Forum on Zika
  • ASTHO Meeting with White House Office of Management and Budget
  • ASTHO Meetings with Senate Majority and Minority Clerks
  • ASTHO “Sign On” Letters
  • PHAB Awards Accreditation Status to Four More State Health Agencies
  • SHLI Finalists Announced
  • Meeting with USEED
  • Netforum Meeting
  • EMT Agenda
  • ASTHO Operations Update
  • Kudos
  • The Week Ahead


ASTHO Welcomes Newest Board Member
On Friday, the ASTHO board welcomed Mylynn Tufte (SHO-ND) to the board as our new Region VIII director. Mylynn will complete the term vacated by Wendy Braund (SHO-WY), effective July 1.


ASTHO Wins a Power of A Gold Award!

On Friday, we were informed that ASTHO won an American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) 2017 Power of A Gold Award for our Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS) program! The Power of A Awards recognize a select number of organizations annually that distinguish themselves with innovative, effective and broad-reaching programs and activities that positively impact America and the world. The Power of A Awards recognize and celebrate the extraordinary contributions associations make to society by enriching lives, creating a competitive workforce, preparing society for the future, driving innovation, and making a better world. ASAE will be promoting Gold winners through a number of different avenues including Association Spotlight message to the members, letters to your elected officials, as well as promotional materials for The Power of A Summit Awards Dinner on October 4, 2017 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. There were only 23 Gold winners this year out of more than 150 entries, so ASTHO’s program was extremely well regarded. Congrats to our PIRE team that works on PH WINS! We have submitted ASAE awards in several other categories and hope to hear about their status soon.

ASTHO President in Wall Street Journal
ASTHO President Jay Butler (SHO-AK) was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article, “States Rally to Save Public-Health Program Slated for Cuts in Overhaul Bill.” The story covered the work states are doing to address potential cuts in the FY18 budget proposed by the president. The part of the article that includes Jay reads:

State health officials said the proposed cuts to the prevention program would hit home. Alaska has received more than $30 million through the program since 2010, with funding going to wellness programs in Alaska native villages, suicide-prevention efforts and vaccine purchases. The state is in the throes of a budget crisis and would likely need to cut programs if the federal funding ends, officials said.

“I wish I could say they’re all low-priority programs, and we’re really not worried. But that’s not true,” said Jay Butler, chief medical officer at the Alaska Division of Public Health. “We’re talking about some of the most important health threats in the country.”

ASTHO Board Meeting

The ASTHO board met on Friday, June 16, at the Emory Conference Center. At the meeting, the board discussed strategic approaches to the president’s budget proposal and public health funding for chronic disease programs. The board also reviewed a draft ASTHO advocacy agenda and moved that the Government Affairs Committee review and finalize the agenda for board approval within the next four weeks. The board discussed ASTHO policy on climate and health and moved that the ASTHO Environmental Health and Preparedness Policy Committees bring a joint recommendation to the board and assembly of members in September. The board approved a bylaws change to increase the board’s quorum size from six to eight. The Healthy Foods Policy was removed from the Consent Agenda but not discussed at the meeting and will be carried forward to the September meeting. The board also approved the creation of an ASTHO Working Group on Marijuana Policy to augment existing national committees that are working on various aspects of medical and recreational use of marijuana. The board also approved our draft strategic planning process – more on that to come soon. A complete summary of the board meeting will be shared in the next four to six weeks. It was a great meeting and I thank our board leadership and staff for their participation.


ASTHO Board Meeting with CDC Leadership
On Thursday, the ASTHO board met with CDC leadership from various centers, offices, and institutes. The meetings were a chance to discuss several strategic issues including CDC funding to state and territories in the president’s budget, workforce development, preparedness for Zika and emerging pathogens, and CDC’s approach to surveillance systems. If you have any questions about the board’s visit to CDC, please let me know (


Public Health Giants of Georgia Reception
On Thursday evening, ASTHO’s board hosted a “Public Health Giants of Georgia” reception. Each of the 15 outstanding “Georgia Giants in Public Health” honorees were recognized for their leadership and dedication to improving the lives and well-being of not just communities in Georgia, but across the nation and around the world. The Georgia Giants in Public Health honorees include:

  • Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.
  • James W. Curran, MD, MPH, for his many contributions to disease prevention and epidemiology, as well as his leadership in the field of HIV/AIDS research and outreach.
  • Michael P. Eriksen, ScD, for his contributions to tobacco control, social and behavioral science, and urban and global health.
  • Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, for her leadership as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, directing the state’s 18 public health districts and 159 county health departments.
  • William H. Foege, MD, MPH, for his many achievements as a champion of child survival and development, as well as contributions to domestic and international health policies, disease eradication and control, and reducing the impact of smallpox.
  • Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, for his numerous achievements in a career dedicated to public health, including leadership as CDC director.
  • Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, for his many achievements in epidemic intelligence and infectious disease.
  • Judith Monroe, MD, for her many contributions and continued focus on strengthening public-private partnerships, as well as her leadership as chief executive officer of the CDC Foundation, director of CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, and her service as a state health official in Indiana and president of ASTHO.
  • Gary Nelson, PhD, for his many contributions to health improvement and healthy aging, as well as his leadership in cancer prevention and control.
  • David A. Ross, ScD, for his pioneering career in public health informatics, as well as his leadership as chief executive officer for the Task Force for Global Health and director of the Public Health Informatics Institute.
  • David Satcher, MD, PhD, for a career dedicated to public health, including numerous contributions in disease prevention and multicultural health disparities, and leadership as the 16th Surgeon General of the United States, assistant secretary for health at HHS, and CDC director.
  • C. Wade Sellers, MD, MPH, for his distinguished public health career, as well as the career of his grandfather, Thomas Fort Sellers, who served as director of the Georgia Department of Public Health from 1948 to 1960, where he developed the tool for rapid diagnosis of rabies.
  • Louis W. Sullivan, MD, for his efforts to enhance health literacy and advance healthy behaviors, as well as his leadership as the 17th HHS secretary and founding dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine.
  • Phillip L. Williams, PhD, for his many achievements in research and toxicology, as well as his leadership as founding dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia.


CDC Foundation Meeting

Following the board meeting on Friday, Mary Ann Cooney and I visited with Judy Monroe and staff of the CDC Foundation. We discussed the foundation’s work on CDC’s 6/18 project and potential opportunities for ASTHO to have an Atlanta “office” co-located at the foundation in the future.


State Environmental Health Directors Meeting

While many of us were in Atlanta at the end of the week, several of us were also in Texas for the first part of it! On Monday, I attended the 2017 State Environmental Health Directors Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas. Attendees included state and territorial environmental health directors from about 30 jurisdictions, CDC and EPA staff, and various ASTHO partner leadership and staff. The meeting was organized by ASTHO’s environmental health team and featured a variety of sessions on a wide range of environmental and public health topics, including food safety, safe water, health in all policies, and risk communication. The meeting also featured an environmental and public health leadership panel that brought together a diverse group of public and environmental health leaders from the American Public Health Association, the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, the Environmental Council of the States, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, and the National Environmental Health Association. Thanks to our staff team who made this an excellent event and one about which they should feel very proud!


ASTHO Supports Binational Forum on Zika
On Tuesday and Wednesday last week, ASTHO helped lead a Binational Forum on Emerging Mosquito-borne Infectious Diseases along the US-Mexico border. Working with the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission through the Texas Department of State Health Services, ASTHO helped to plan, coordinate, and conduct this international meeting to examine important cross border communications and response coordination issues and develop a draft binational action plan in the areas of Epidemiology and Human Surveillance, Laboratory Services, Vector Surveillance and Control, and Public Education and Communications. The meeting took place in El Paso, TX with approximately 170 representatives from the 10 U.S. and Mexico Border States, including active participation by Thomas Alexander, the newly appointed HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs. The media was invited to attend and pasted below is the resultant press coverage from both U.S. and Mexican news outlets:

Thanks to the many ASTHO staff who were engaged in the meeting and its logistics. These were high-level events that required a great deal of diplomacy and professionalism. Thank you!


ASTHO Meeting with White House Office of Management and Budget

On Tuesday, Carolyn McCoy, Carolyn Mullen, Mark Mioduski, and I met with Office of Management and Budget staff to discuss the emergency response fund, Zika, the new America’s Health Block Grant, and budget cuts and policy changes to PHEP/HPP. We discussed the need for more information on the impact of cuts proposed.


ASTHO Meetings with Senate Majority and Minority Clerks
Last week, ASTHO participated in a meeting with Senate majority and minority clerks working on appropriations for health programs. The meeting was organized by the Coalition for Health Funding.


ASTHO “Sign-On” Letters
ASTHO signed on to several letters authored by partners and coalition members, including a TFAH letter supporting guiding principles on an emergency fund, a HUD smoke-free building letter, and the informal coalition on biodefense FY18 letter. If you are interested in more information about our sign-on letters, please let me know (


PHAB Awards Accreditation Status to Four More State Health Agencies

Last week, PHAB announced the following state health agencies received national accreditation: Alabama Department of Public Health; Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Division of Public Health; Maryland Department of Health; and the New Jersey Department of Health. Congratulations to our newly accredited ASTHO members!


SHLI Finalists Announced

On Friday, ASTHO notified the three finalists who are part of our final round of review for the State Health Leadership Institute program. There were eight extremely competitive applications for the project. ASTHO thanks all the organizations that applied for the program and appreciates the hard work that went into their very good proposals. The three finalists are: Center for Creative Leadership, Public Health Institute, and Harvard University/Kennedy School of Government.


Meeting with USEED
On Tuesday, I met with John Moore from a company called USEED. The company has technology that is used by many academic institutions and nonprofits for fundraising and communications. It was good to learn about the technology and think about how we might be able to use it at ASTHO. More to come!


Netforum Meeting
Last week several staff and I met to discuss categories for member types and groups in our database.  What seems like a straightforward question (“who is the SHO?”) is a lot more complicated. We want our database to not only show who the main ASTHO contact is, but also who other state health leaders are within an agency. This makes categorization complicated. Thanks to everyone working hard to get Netforum going for us – we will be there soon!


EMT Agenda
The ASTHO Executive Management Team will meet on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. Agenda items include: staff training and development work; job/position competency reviews; board meeting debrief; CDC meeting debrief; GR Committee and other policy committee planning; telework and space discussion (how we are we doing?); and staffing updates.


ASTHO Operations Updates

As of June 15, the number of contracts and amendments being processed remained the same. We are in a period (the processing of the new bundle funding) when approval of new contractors dramatically slows - 91 contracts and amendments are being processed. The team is working with our audit firm to finalize the FY16 audit by providing transactions and other information since the completion of the field work. Grants team staff have started preparing the carryover requests for the CDC bundle unspent balances as of June 30, 2017.



Kudos to Elizabeth Harper and the PIRE team for their Power of A Award, and thanks to our environmental health team for their work to execute an excellent state environmental health directors meeting last week. Thanks also to our health security team that helped execute the Binational meeting in El Paso last week as well. Well done! 


Melissa Ferguson, Melissa Lewis, and Corrine Melissari did a great job executing the board meeting and CDC visits last week, including our Giants of Georgia event. Thanks also the EMT members who presented at the board meeting and helped make it such a success. Well done all!


The Week Ahead

Monday, June 19 – SHO calls with Kim Malsam-Rysdon (SHO-SD), Catherine Heigel (SHO-SC), and Motusa Tuileama To’atolu Nua (SHO-American Samoa); Profile of State and Territorial Health Agencies meeting; and internal meetings.


Tuesday, June 20 – Meeting with HHS Intergovernmental Affairs (Washington, D.C.); meeting with Rob Morrison, executive director, NASADAD; PHAB Board Meeting (Alexandria, VA); and internal meetings.


Wednesday, June 21 – PHAB Board of Directors Open Meeting.


Thursday, June 22 – ASTHO EMT meeting; SHO Call with Secretary Walters (SHO-FSM); and internal meetings.


Friday, June 23 – NACCHO-ASTHO government relations meeting; Affiliate GR Call; and S/THO call on National Safety Council report cards (4:30 p.m. EDT).

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
Follow me on Twitter @mfraserdc1