Public Policy Institute Focuses on Children

OPHA’s Public Policy Institute will this year focus on Children and Health Equity. It will be held on April 3rd as a half-day webinar to recognize geographic diversity and limited budgets. It will as always feature dynamic speakers representing the wide spectrum of diverse and pressing issues of the day for public health in Ohio. Registration details can be found HERE.

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President’s Message: New Epi Section

Happy New Year!  

OPHA is excited about the many opportunities ahead in the new year.  One such opportunity is the expansion of our association to include an Epidemiology Section, which was approved at the December Governing Council meeting.  I am grateful to the OPHA members who provided their support to create the new Section, with special thanks to Ross Kauffman for spearheading the effort and serving as the inaugural chair.  This new section is open to students and professionals alike.  Any OPHA member who is interested to join the Epidemiology Section can do so by updating the member profile on the OPHA website (as a reminder, there is no limit to the number of Sections that a member can join!).  In addition, we welcome new members to OPHA and the Section.  Please help us to spread the word across Ohio about this new and valuable resource for those who work, study, or are interested in epidemiology!
In 2019, OPHA will continue to focus on our priorities including health and equity in all policies (HEiAP) and climate resiliency, among others.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you would like to volunteer for these or any of our other efforts or to share any ideas or suggestions you have for OPHA in the new year.

Warmest wishes for your professional and personal well-being in 2019 and beyond,

Natalie 
n-dipietro@onu.edu

Superheroes are Real! A Public Health Story

Following is the first in what we hope will be a series of stories from members:
My name is Dusty Huff and I have been at Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County since 1997, first as a registered nurse and now as a family nurse practitioner.  Over the past 21 years, public health nursing has etched its place firmly in my heart and I love providing care to the community that I call home.  There have also been many patients that have made a lasting impression on my heart and mind, so I decided to share this story. 

Several years ago I was working in the immunization clinic and was called to help a coworker with a child that was less than thrilled to be there.  When I walked into the room there was a small boy hiding behind the door with tears silently streaming down his face and splashing onto the floor.  As I tried to coax him out of the corner, I noticed that he had something written in ink on his red t-shirt.  When I asked him what it said, he repeatedly said “I don’t know” and just shook his head while looking at the floor.  The adult that was with him that day told us he had written Spiderman on his t-shirt because there was going to be a Halloween parade at his school later that week and he did not have a costume.  Long after this child had left, I couldn’t shake the picture of sadness in his eyes and I decided to ask the registration staff if they happened to catch the name of the school he attended.  As luck would have it, one of them knew!  After calling the school to ask if they would deliver a costume to the child if it was brought to the school the hunt was on for a Spiderman costume.  Armed with money that our staff had collected, I went to several stores unable to find a costume.  I did however find a Batman costume, which I purchased and delivered to the office the next morning.  I never told them where I was from, just who the costume was to be given to.

 A couple of weeks later, a thank you note arrived from the boy’s teacher explaining how much it meant to him and that he marched proudly in the parade as Batman.  She went on to say that she had been his teacher for 3 years and this was the first time he had a costume.  Tucked inside the note was a polaroid picture of a boy dressed as a superhero, arms raised triumphantly in the air looking like he could conquer the world.  My hope for this child is that he feels valuable, he knows that people care about him, and maybe one day he will have the opportunity to pay it forward.  I still have his picture and I look at it from time to time when I need a reminder that good trumps evil and that superheroes really do exist!

President’s Message: Support HEiAP Legislation

I’m writing to raise awareness of the Ohio Public Health Association’s Health and Equity in All Policies Legislative Initiative.

Senate Bill 302 (Tavares), the Health and Equity in All Policies (HEiAP) Initiative, seeks to create a standardized, systematic review process for determining potential impact of proposed legislation on the health of Ohioans. The bill calls for a health and equity impact analysis at the early stages of policy development and is meant to inform Ohio lawmakers of any potential negative health and equity consequences.

The analysis would additionally help lawmakers identify those populations most susceptible to unfavorable health outcomes from any proposed legislation. Further, the review would allow legislators to consider how proposed bills would impact the population’s health through other health influences such as water and air quality, access to public transportation, social services, food security, education and good jobs.

We sincerely believe this legislation could be one of the most important public health policies to have been considered in Ohio in many years. And, if enacted, this legislation could be a significant factor in turning around both our poor health rankings and the inequities that exist among our fellow citizens. We will be reaching out to you for advocacy efforts on this initiative. In the meantime, for more information, please see the following link: https://ohiopha.org/about-opha/sections-and-subjects/heiap/ and please reach out to me if you would like to become more actively involved in this initiative.

Thanks for your continued efforts in public health!

Natalie DiPietro Mager
OPHA President
n-dipietro@onu.edu

Climate Resilience Resource for Local Health Departments Released

The Ohio Public Health Resiliency Coalition formed by OPHA has released a resource for addressing the public health impacts of climate change. The document looks the potential adverse outcomes that Ohio communities may face and suggests adaptations public health professionals can make.  It was released during the 2018 Public Health Combined Conference. The full release follows.

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President’s Message June 2018

As I finish my last month as President of your association, I feel a deep gratitude for the privilege of being able to represent Ohio’s talented and dedicated public health professionals. As an association we have stepped forward to lead, and advocate for, initiatives that improve the health of our state and strengthen the public health system.

Some highlights from the past 12 months:

  • Public Health Nurse’s Role in Emergency/Disaster Shelters white paper was published by the OPHA Public Health Nursing Section. This document provides guidance for public health nurses in general disaster shelters operations.
  • OPHA’s Climate Resiliency Coalition developed and released their white paper, a resource for use by local public health professionals in their efforts to address the public health impacts of climate change and climate-related weather events in their jurisdictions.
  • The Ohio Journal of Public Health (OJPH) has been established to publish high-quality, peer reviewed manuscripts that present research, as well as public health and educational practices that are relevant to Ohio. Submissions for the first edition have been received for publishing this fall.
  • Promoting the adoption of Health and Equity in All Policies (HEiAP) through the release of the OPHA funded Enacting Health and Equity in All Policies: Literature Review and Case Studies report and the introduction of Senate Bill 302, by Senator Tavares, to create the Ohio Health and Equity in All Policies Initiative and the Health and Equity Interagency Team.
  • Advancing the practice of public health in Ohio through the OPHA Vital Statistics conference, Public Health Nursing Conference, the Combined Public Health Conference, and the Public Policy Institute.

I’d like to thank the Board, Governing Council, our many volunteers, the OPHA staff, and all our members, for their support and contributions to the success of OPHA in this past year!

Natalie DiPietro Mager, our incoming president, will continue to need all of us to continue working to support our association, especially as we continue to work through the transition of executive director staffing. I have full confidence that Natalie will do a great job leading the association forward!

Sincerely,
Joe Ebel

Senator Tavares Introduces HEiAP Bill to Improve Health of Ohioans

State Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus) recently introduced a bill, Senate Bill 302, to improve Ohio’s poor health indicators by requiring the State to determine how all new rules and regulations would impact the health of Ohioans.

“We know that the health of our citizens influences every aspect of our state – our economy, our productivity and our residents’ success,” said Senator Tavares. “Given that our state consistently ranks among the least healthy in the nation, we must take thoughtful and deliberative action to turn things around. This includes considering the impact every policy proposal has on the overall well-being of Ohioans and, especially, our most vulnerable communities.”

Like Ohio’s Common Sense Initiative, which looks at the impact of all laws and agency rules on business and the economy, SB 302 would require an analysis of all pending bills and agency rules to determine if they will have a positive, adverse or neutral impact on the health of Ohioans and on the attainment of health equity in the state.

The legislation, which is supported by the Ohio Public Health Association (OPHA), aims to demonstrate how even factors such as education, housing, neighborhood safety, transportation and employment can have wide-ranging health implications.

“This could be one of the most important public health policies to be considered in Ohio in many years,” said Joe Ebel, president of OPHA. “If passed, this bill would provide a tool which would allow our state lawmakers to consider the potential health implications of proposed legislation prior to the enactment of any new laws.”

SB 302 also creates an advisory board that would provide an annual report on the impact of the initiative and its effectiveness in improving the overall health of Ohioans and reducing costs. Bill text