Category Archives: Public-private partnerships

Sep 17 2012

Jose Montero Announces ASTHO President Challenge: Integration of Public Health and Health Care

Jose Montero Jose Montero, MD, Division of Public Health Services at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Jose T. Montero, MD, director of the Division of Public Health Services at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, was elected president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) during the association’s recent annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Montero began his medical career in Putumayo, Colombia, where he served as a local, county and state health official. He then went to teach family and preventive medicine and later became Colombia’s public health director. Dr. Montero began his service in New Hampshire in 1999 as chief of the New Hampshire Communicable Disease Section in the Division of Public Health. Before becoming director of the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, Dr. Montero was the state epidemiologist.  He is an adjunct professor of family medicine and a member of the preventive medicine residency advisory committee at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine.

NewPublicHealth spoke with Dr. Montero about the new ASTHO President's Challenge, which will focus this year on the integration of public health and health care.

NewPublicHealth: Why is so critical now to work toward the improved integration of public health and health care?

Dr. Montero: We keep talking about the health system but there is not much that is health-focused—it’s currently mostly about providing care after people becomes ill. From a public health perspective we’re trying to improve outcomes and quality, without spending the amount of money on health that we’re currently spending because we can’t sustain that. The system needs to continue changing and evolving, but we don’t yet know what exactly how it will look or how it should look. We need to create a new system. Based on the experiences of some states, such as Massachusetts and Oregon, we know gaining access to health insurance has expanded use, but we don’t know if they’ve achieved improved health outcomes yet. We’re working toward that. But we need to work on the right indicators that allow us to consistently measure total population health.

When you look across the country, you see that public health entities provide the continuum of care throughout the life cycle. We are already integrating health care and the public health system at several different places and levels, but it’s not consistent. To prepare ourselves for the future, we need to be able to look at public health and health delivery systems and integrate them philosophically. We need to capture examples, decode them, and see what works and what doesn’t and how to use which in different parts of the country. We have different cultures, different investment levels, and different expectations. We can’t just copy and paste.

NPH: What are the critical issues you’re looking at?

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Sep 13 2012

ASTHO Opening Session Targets the Intersection of Public Health and Health Care

Paul Wallace speaking at the ASTHO opening session Paul Wallace speaking at the ASTHO opening session

GUEST POST by Lisa Junker, CAE, director of communications for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)

At the opening session of the ASTHO Annual Meeting in Austin, Paul Wallace, vice president of The Lewin Group, pointed toward the need for collaboration and partnership between the health care and public health sectors to overcome key challenges and trends facing the United States at the federal, state and local level.

>>Read our earlier interview with Paul Wallace on public health and primary care integration.

“What are the opportunities to create a shared conversation around prevention?” asked Wallace, who chaired the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on the Integration of Primary Care and Public Health.

He gave attendees an overview of the process his IOM committee underwent to develop the recently-released report “Primary Care and Public Health: Exploring Integration to Improve Population Health.”  The committee was charged with identifying the best examples of effective integration and the factors that promote and sustain those efforts, examining the ways federal agencies can use the provisions of the Affordable Care Act to promote integration, and discussing how Health Resources and Services Agency (HRSA) supported primary care systems and state and local public health can promote those efforts moving forward.

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Sep 12 2012

Making the Case for Prevention: A Q&A with James Marks of RWJF

James Marks James Marks, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Group Director

James S. Marks, MD, Senior Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently spoke on a keynote panel at the annual ASTHO meeting in Austin, Texas, on making the case for prevention. NewPublicHealth spoke with Dr. Marks about the great potential for investing in prevention.

NewPublicHealth: What do you think are the big issues facing state health officers across the country?

James Marks: The thing that I am most struck by is that we all know that public health, like so many of our sectors, is struggling in these tough economic times. But I’m seeing state health officers look increasingly at how they and medical care can connect and integrate and support each other as something we need increasingly in this country. They have to ask where they are going to get the best value in health. Sometimes it will be in medical care, many times it will be in prevention and public health, and they should be working to create common purpose. 

NPH: What is the training of health officers for that?

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Sep 7 2012

United Way of North Central Florida on the Secret Ingredient for Successful Community Partnerships

Debbie Mason, United Way of North Central Florida Debbie Mason, United Way of North Central Florida

United Way of North Central Florida is focused on the building blocks that lead to a good quality of life – education, income and health – recognizing that communities are stronger when children are successful in school, families are financially stable and people are healthy. One of their primary roles is as a convener, to bring hundreds of organizations together across diverse sectors to set priorities and create change.

As part of our series looking at the work of United Ways across the nation in creating healthier communities, we spoke with Debbie Mason, President and CEO of the United Way of North Central Florida, and Mona Gil de Gibaja, Vice President of Community Impact, about their community planning process, strategies for effective partnerships, and the role of critical partners such as businesses and the local health department.

NewPublicHealth: What is the planning process you’re engaging in to set priorities around education, income and health?

Debbie Mason: Our major focus is education, but this is so inextricably linked to income and health. No matter where you start, you still wrap into the other two.

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Aug 22 2012

Public Health Partnerships: NewPublicHealth Q&A with Marc Manley

Marc Manley, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Marc Manley, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota

Strategic partnerships to help extend the reach and resources needed to improve population health, was a focus of recent annual conferences, including the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting and the 2012 annual conference of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has played many different partnership roles on critical public health issues, including as a convener.NewPublicHealth spoke with Marc Manley, MD, MPH, Vice president and chief prevention officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, about collaborations the health plan has been a part of that are benefitting Minnesotans and can serve as models in other parts of the United States.

NewPublicHealth: Can you give us a strong example of collaboration inMinnesota among varied partners that improved population health?

Dr. Manley: In 2006, partners in Minnesota including local and county governments and Blue Cross began working together to pass local smoke-free ordinances. Once there were enough local laws, neighboring cities began advocating for statewide uniformity, so in 2007, a group of the state’s health organizations and other stakeholders determined that the legislative environment was conducive toward adopting a statewide clean indoor-air law and formed the Freedom to Breathe Coalition. Partners included Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, hospitals, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, the local public health association, the Minnesota Medical Association and the Service Employees International Union. We all shared the goal of passing a strong law that covered all workplaces in Minnesota including bars and restaurants. However, we also knew that there would be many amendments offered to change the bill as it made its way along the legislative path. Some changes would weaken the bill so much that it was easy to assume that we’d all oppose them. Other amendments could seem more reasonable to some organizations but not others. From the beginning, we were able to get on the same page and agree to operating principles that outlined what we would do if we had disagreements about amendments as the process unfolded. Agreeing to operate as a team and to trust each other was also part of those operating principles. We established an expectation of transparency and cooperation right from the start – and then dealt promptly with any departure from those expectations.

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Aug 21 2012

Charles Stokes: Faces of Public Health

Charles Stokes, CDC Foundation Charles Stokes, CDC Foundation

Faces of Public Health is a recurring editorial series on NewPublicHealth featuring individuals working on the front lines of public health and helping keep people healthy and safe.

The CDC Foundation, established by Congress in 1995, connects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with private-sector foundations, corporations, organizations and individuals to help build public health programs. Since its inception, the CDC Foundation has provided $350 million to support CDC’s work and launched more than 600 programs around the world. The support is typically financial, but also can include expertise, information or leadership.

One key initiative from the Foundation, in partnership with CDC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was the Meta-Leadership Summit for Preparedness—a model approach for bringing communities together to improve emergency preparedness and build community resilience. From 2006 through 2011, initiative partners organized and hosted 36 Summits across the country, training 5,000 business, government and nonprofit leaders in meta-leadership concepts. While the initiative has concluded, the Meta-Leadership Summit Resource Centerprovides resources to help communities initiate or continue meta-leadership activities.

NewPublicHealth spoke with Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, about the Foundation’s partnerships and successes, including those around meta-leadership and more.

NewPublicHealth: What kind of work did you do before becoming president and CEO of the CDC Foundation?

Charles Stokes: For the prior 22 years, I worked with the Missouri state department of health. The last 10 of those I was deputy director or acting director of the state health agency. In that role I had the opportunity to chair an American Public Health Association workgroup that developed Healthy Communities 2000: Model Standards where we set model goals and objectives for state and local health departments to use in reaching the national goals ofHealthy People 2000. That connected me with CDC.

NPH: What was the impetus behind the creation of the CDC Foundation?

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Jul 25 2012

Transforming Public Health: A NewPublicHealth Q&A

The Transforming Public Health project supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and convened by RESOLVE brought together a group of local, state and national public health leaders to develop guidance for public health officials and policymakers in prioritizing critical public health functions in a changing political and funding landscape. The report, which emerged from the discussions, stresses the need for public health leaders to take critical steps such as to develop policy goals, mobilize the community and forge partnerships with health care, business and other sectors.

On Friday, August 10, the Foundation will host a webinar to discuss the Transforming Public Health project. Speakers will include Terry Cline, Oklahoma State Health Department; David Fleming, Seattle-King County Health Department, who were both participants in the convenings, along with Abby Dilley, RESOLVE; Abbey Cofsky, RWJF program officer, and Paul Kuehnert, senior program officer and director of the RWJF Public Health team. (Read a NewPublicHealth interview with Paul Kuehnert on the future of public health and the growing importance of partnerships in creating stronger health departments and healthier communities.)

NewPublicHealth spoke with Paul Jarris, MD, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers and Robert Pestronk, MPH, executive director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, who were also participants, to discuss how the findings can be implemented to help improve public health services and population health.

NewPublicHealth: What were some of the key issues raised by the project?

Paul Jarris: The world is truly changing. It’s already changed at the state and local level, where we’ve lost the 62,000 [public health] jobs, where we are cutting programs that were unthinkable to cut in the past being reduced and in some cases eliminated. And then there are the impacts of the Affordable Care Act and changes coming in funding from the federal government, which, of course, is most of the money that comes into the states for public health. A lot of our discussion during the convenings focused on how we could be proactive in anticipating these changes – determining [how] we can preserve the core or foundational aspects of public health, and make sure it’s as efficient and effective as possible. And, keeping in mind that, at the same time, public health leaders need to look for and anticipate new opportunities to best protect and serve the needs of the public.

NPH: What were some of the critical lessons learned from the discussions?

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Jul 23 2012

Voices of NACCHO: Local Partnerships for Healthier Communities

>>EDITOR'S NOTE: On 9/13/2012 CeaseFire changed its name to Cure Violence.

NewPublicHealth was on the ground at the National Association of County and City Health Officials Annual 2012 conference, providing the latest conference news and in­-depth interviews with conference speakers, as well as local success stories and a glimpse into the Los Angeles public health scene. Coverage highlights included:

At the conference, we also spoke with attendees about how local health departments are forging innovative new partnerships across sectors and across communities to meet shared goals and leverage resources. We asked: What’s the most creative, outside-the-box partner you’ve engaged with from a sector beyond public health? What did they add to the conversation and your joint efforts? What successes have you achieved as a result of partnerships? Who do you see as the most critical partners for public health?

A sampling of responses we heard from attendees are recapped below. Themes that emerged included the critical nature of partnerships between health departments and hospitals, Community Health Assessments and Improvement Plans as a catalyst for partnerships and sustained community health changes, and diverse partnerships across the community that each bring something valuable to the table.

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Jul 16 2012

Healthier Options at L.A. Corner Stores

Corner Stores in Long Beach, Califor., Encourage Healthier Eating with Samples, Signage and Store Changes

Long Beach Corner Store

Innovation to improve population health was a key part of Los Angeles County Health Director Jonathan Fielding’s talk to the attendees of the National Association of County and City Health Officials Annual Meeting in L.A. last week. And just a few miles from the conference hall, innovation was on delicious display, during a smoothie tasting outside a small corner in the L.A. suburb of Long Beach.

Giselle, age 2, who stopped into the demo with her mom, enjoyed her first healthy smoothie—vanilla yogurt, orange juice and strawberries—so much that her mother listened attentively as the Spanish-speaking staff working outside the tiny corner store showed her the ingredients she’d need, all available at the shop behind them, to easily make the drinks at home.

Long Beach Corner Store-2

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Jul 12 2012

L.A. Emergency Operations Center: Model for Preparedness and Collaboration

L.A. EOC Main Coordination Room L.A. Emergency Operations Center Main Coordination Room

This year’s National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Annual Meeting offered attendees a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the City of Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center (EOC), a central point for coordinating emergency planning, training, and response and recovery efforts for disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes, and acts of terrorism. The EOC draws on best practices for preparedness by facilitating collaboration between multiple city departments. What is unique is that this cross-department teamwork is enabled by a state-of-the-art, 84,000 square feet, two-story, seismically-base-isolated facility that also houses the Fire Department Operations Center and the Police Department Real-Time Analysis and Critical Response (RACR) Division and Operations Center.

Because of this shared space, strong relationships are established across critical public health, preparedness, police and fire department contacts that enable working together in an emergency that much easier. In the event of an actual emergency, the Center serves as a base where, literally, the right people can all be brought to the table. While NACCHO visitors were at the facility, the staff were triaging the response to the National Weather Service Excessive Heat Warning in the Valley by opening additional cooling centers and arranging to have local libraries extend their hours to serve as additional cool spaces for the community, said James Featherstone, general manager of the Emergency Management Department.


Because of this shared space, strong relationships are established across critical public health, preparedness, police and fire department contacts that enable working together in an emergency that much easier. In the event of an actual emergency, the Center serves as a base where, literally, the right people can all be brought to the table. While NACCHO visitors were at the facility, the staff were triaging the response to the National Weather Service Excessive Heat Warning in the Valley by opening additional cooling centers and arranging to have local libraries extend their hours to serve as additional cool spaces for the community, said James Featherstone, general manager of the Emergency Management Department.

Rob Freeman, emergency preparedness coordinator for the City, showcased the Main Coordination Room—a 7,500 square-foot home base for the kinds of emergencies that necessitate nimble, timely coordination of both information and resources across departments. The room, said Freeman, is laid out and functions according to the National Incident Management System.


“This floor is designed with collaboration in mind,” said Freeman. The room is clustered into teams or pods of different roles, each with its own monitors and information screens, such as emergency management, operations, planning, logistics, and finance and administration. Each is color-coded and has a designated set of delineated roles that need to be at the table—but the teams are inter-disciplinary, and those roles might be drawn from any number of city departments such as transportation, public works, fire, police, housing and more. For example, Freeman said there is a “mass care” team that includes representatives from the Departments of Parks and Recreation, Disability and Animal Services, and also draws on partnerships with the Red Cross and school districts.

Freeman said it’s also critical that those specific roles, functions, objectives, workflow processes are all in place ahead of time. Constant training keeps the city ready. “That’s a challenge, though, because the city’s workforce is so fluid,” said Freeman. “We have more than 500 people who might be called to come to this location at any given point.”

Part of the idea of bringing all of these functions together regularly ahead of time is that the relationships are there when they’re needed. “We’re part of a public safety team,” said Freeman. “We work closely with the police and fire departments and the Mayor’s office all the time.”

Command Center LA Police Department Command Center for the Los Angeles Police Department

The Command Center for the Los Angeles Police Department is also located in the same facility, again creating greater opportunities for tight integration, and is staffed 24 hours a day. Officer Modesta Smith described a situation when a major tanker erupted in a tunnel, blocking a major entrance into the city, which would threaten vital city operations like doctors getting to hospitals and police officers getting to work. “One of the first calls we made was to James Featherstone of the EOC,” said Smith. “Sharing information works better.”

>>Follow the rest of the NewPublicHealth coverage of the NACCHO Annual Meeting.