Connecting the Voices of Public Health in Ohio
A Message from Our President
Angela DeJulius. MD, MPH
Recently, OPHA’s board met to outline our strategic priorities for the next few years. I’m reminded that your volunteer board is a group of dedicated professionals whose passion for public health drives them to excellence, and I’m so grateful for their commitment. With the multidisciplinary expertise of our members, OPHA is uniquely positioned to advocate for public health in Ohio. We will continue to bring together partners from nonprofit, academic, government, and other agencies under the big umbrella of public health, to improve Ohio’s future. Through our discussions, all agreed it’s essential that Ohioans understand the value of protecting public health. We need to communicate loudly, clearly, and consistently about the work that we all do and the science behind it. Another priority is to support and strengthen the existing workforce while nurturing the next generation of public health professionals. In partnership with ODH, we will continue to develop and deliver programs to help enhance your knowledge, skills, and networks.
OPHA’s board identified three policy priorities while acknowledging that there are numerous issues where we can lend support. Above all is our concern for health equity. Persistent disparities between racially, geographically, economically, and otherwise marginalized population groups cost all of us, as opportunities are lost for health, education, work, and productivity. This cannot be ignored! OPHA will call attention to health disparities, the underlying conditions that perpetuate them, and efforts to resolve them, encouraging the use of our health equity policy assessment tool in policy development.
We will continue to focus on the health impacts of our environment and climate, as this summer has made clear: extreme weather emergencies create acute health emergencies, and longer-term climate trends create adverse health trends. Inevitably the least resilient, the young and old, and those already living in poverty lack the resources to rebuild their lives and suffer the worst health outcomes. Locally, we will advocate improving the quality of Ohio’s environment where health and quality of life are impacted.
Finally, OPHA will focus on the spectrum of reproductive health, inseparable from maternal health and infant/child health. Surely the health of a nation’s women and babies is a measure of our values! Healthy infants don’t just happen - they are the product of preconception, prenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum care. The recent closures of rural hospitals, in particular labor & delivery units, risk worsening our already dismal infant and maternal mortality rates. Knowing that unplanned pregnancies are more likely to have adverse outcomes, access to sexual health education, contraception, and safe early abortion, must be assured.
Complex problems like these don’t have a single, simple solution. At OPHA we believe in speaking up, asking questions, and advocating for progress. Our strength lies in YOU, our members. If you’re interested in getting more involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ohio Journal of Public Health: Spotlight on Current Issues
Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis and the Naegleria fowleri Freshwater Amoeba: A New Concern for Northern Climates
- Karen Towne, Department of Nursing, University of Mount Union; Jonas Scholar 2021-2023; School of Nursing, University of Kansas
- Barbara Polivka, School of Nursing, University of Kansas
Naegleria fowleri (N fowleri), the freshwater amoeba known to cause primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), is historically found in the southern United States and Central America. Increased incidence of this rare, deadly, and often misdiagnosed illness in northern states causes concern that N fowleri is expanding northward due to climate change, posing a greater threat to human health in new regions where PAM has not yet been documented. This case study provides an example of public health nurses incorporating environmental health data into communicable disease investigations, demonstrating how public health professionals, health care providers, and individuals living in northern climates can work together to prevent, detect, and treat N fowleri infection. Read the article HERE.