Public Health Webinar Series

1/18/2021

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In this series of webinars, NCSL will host national and state experts to discuss relevant topics related to state public health. These one-hour sessions aim to provide state legislators and legislative staff with the most recent data and policy options around public health topics, including but not limited to, the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and allocation, maternal mortality, adverse childhood experiences, oral health, suicide prevention, and aspects of the health workforce.

Public Health Approaches to Children’s Oral Health During COVID-19

Friday, Dec. 4, 2020 

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Between March and May of this year, children in Medicaid received over 7 million fewer dental services compared to the same period last year. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced sporadic closures to dental offices and limited community-based options for delivering children’s oral health services. Still, state public health strategies that address children’s oral health in settings such as schools, community health centers and mobile clinics provide options for policymakers to close gaps in care during the pandemic, particularly for vulnerable populations. This webinar will cover research, state policies and national initiatives around public health approaches to maintaining access to children’s oral health services.

Moderator:

  • Erik Skinner, policy associate, NCSL Health Program

Speakers:

  • Dr. Paul Glassman, associate dean for research and engagement, College of Dental Medicine, California North State University
  • Dr. Samuel Zwetchkenbaum, state dental director, Rhode Island Department of Health 
  • Dr. Rhonda Stokley, state public health dental director, Texas Department of Health and Human Services

Pharmacists' Role in Public Health: Increasing Access to Care

Monday, Dec. 7, 2020

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State policymakers are increasingly bolstering the role of pharmacists to provide a broad spectrum of health care services, within their scope of practice, beyond assisting patients with their prescription medications. Maximizing the use of pharmacists is among several state strategies to meet the unique health care needs of populations, especially those living in rural and underserved areas. This webinar will examine several scope of practice policy options for state legislators to leverage pharmacists as part of the health care delivery system. Speakers will highlight national trends in pharmacist scope of practice, including prescribing certain medications, such as tobacco cessation and contraception, and administering vaccines, among others, and share specific examples of policy options.

Moderator:

  • Sydne Enlund, policy specialist, NCSL

Speakers:

  • Emily Hawes, PharmD, associate professor of clinical education, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
  • Stefanie Ferreri, PharmD, chair, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education
  • Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-OR)
  • Senator Evan Vickers (R-UT)

State Planning for Distribution and Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine

Friday, Dec. 11, 2020

This webinar provided updates on state and federal plans for the distribution and allocation of a COVID-19 vaccine(s). Speakers shared key planning and distribution considerations for state legislators related to the work of states and the federal government. This webinar also covered lessons learned from the early stages of the planning process.

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Moderator:

  • Tahra Johnson, program director, NCSL Health Program

Speakers:

  • Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Stacy Hall, immunization director, Louisiana Office of Public Health
  • Christine Gray, director, Division of Immunization, Virginia Department of Health
  • Erik Skinner, policy associate, NCSL Health Program

Suicide Prevention: A National Lifeline for States

Monday, Dec. 14, 2020

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Suicide is a serious and growing public health concern in the United States. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and rates of suicide deaths have increased in almost every state since 1999. The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional stress for at-risk individuals with calls to lifelines increasing significantly across the U.S. This webinar will focus on the rollout of the national three digit suicide prevention lifeline, states role in the implementation of this national lifeline and the policies states can implement to improve responses to these crisis calls. Speakers will also discuss ways of strengthening public health infrastructure to improve suicide prevention.

Moderator:

  • Charlie Severance-Medaris, policy specialist, NCSL Health Program

Speakers:

  • Senator Daniel Thatcher, Utah
  • Representative Steve Eliason, Utah
  • Julie Ebin, manager, Special Initiatives, Education Development Center, Suicide Prevention Resource Center

State Strategies to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020

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Adverse events that occur in childhood can lead to negative psychological, social and physical outcomes later in life–and can even affect future generations. New and exacerbated stressors during the pandemic underscore concern for the risks and long-term health effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), particularly for groups already disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Certain interventions can help mitigate negative outcomes from ACEs and, according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prevent them from occurring in the first place. This webinar will provide an overview of ACEs, including considerations during the pandemic, and examples of state action to reduce their harmful effects.

Moderator:

  • Tahra Johnson, program director, NCSL Health Program

Speakers:

  • Dr. Melissa Merrick, president & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America
  • Kate Bradford, research analyst, NCSL Health Program
  • Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-NY)
  • Representative Sherrie Conley (R-OK)

Saving Moms: Strategies to Reduce Maternal Mortality in the U.S.

Friday, Dec. 18, 2020

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At least 700 women die every year from pregnancy-related causes, giving the U.S. the highest maternal mortality rate among similarly wealthy nations. Research has shown that about 3 out of 5 pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. Additionally, there are significant racial disparities in maternal mortality rates, with Black and Indigenous mothers dying at two to four times the rate of white mothers. This webinar will explore the current state of maternal mortality in the United States, potential strategies to decrease the disparities in maternal deaths, and examples of state legislative actions to reduce rates.

Moderator:

  • Tammy Jo Hill, policy specialist, NCSL Health Program

Speakers:

  • Dr. Elizabeth Howell, chair, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
  • Khanh H. Nguyen, senior policy specialist, NCSL Health Program 
  • Representative Katie Dempsey (R-GA)
  • Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (D-NY)

Policies and Strategies to Address Infectious Diseases

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

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The costs to states resulting from the treatment of infectious diseases are impressive. The estimated cost of providing health care services to people living with hepatitis C, for example, is $15 billion annually and recent hepatitis A outbreaks have cost at least $270 million since 2016. In 2019, HIV care and treatment cost the U.S. more than $20 billion. However, many cost-effective strategies exist that can prevent transmission of these diseases altogether. This webinar highlights these strategies and provides insight from states that have effectively implemented them.

Moderator:

  • Charlie Severance-Medaris, policy specialist, NCSL Health Program

Speaker:

  • Sara C. Zeigler, associate director for policy, Office of Policy, Planning, and Partnerships, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral, Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, CDC, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Representative Alex Valdez, Colorado
  • Delegate Matthew Rohrbach, West Virginia

Welcome to the Legislature: What you Need to Know about Public Health

Friday, Jan. 8, 2021

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of all people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and preventing and identifying infectious diseases. Public health professionals try to prevent problems from occurring or recurring through implementing educational programs, implementing policies, administering services and conducting research. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this webinar will highlight key areas of public health, offer insights into 2021, provide an update on COVID 19 and provide policy options for state leaders.

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Moderator:

  • Kate Blackman, NCSL Health Group Director

Speaker:

  • José T. Montero, MD, MHCDS, Center for State, Tribal and Territorial Support, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Panel Discussion, NCSL Health Experts:

  • Emily Blanford, policy principal, Medicaid
  • Tammy Jo Hill, policy specialist, Behavioral Health and Tobacco Use
  • Tahra Johnson, program director, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Khanh Nguyen, senior policy specialist, Maternal and Child Health
  • Charlie Severance-Medaris, policy specialist, Infectious Disease
  • Erik Skinner, policy associate, Immunizations

How the Social Becomes Physical: State Policies to Improve Behavioral Health

Friday Jan. 15, 2021

Many factors impact behavioral health outcomes for populations, including economic circumstances and social environments. Policies to improve these economic and social factors may lead not only to better physical health but also to improved emotional resiliency and behaviors for individuals within populations. Hear how state policies and actions addressing environmental factors may improve behavioral health outcomes within your community.

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Moderator:

  • Karmen Hanson, program director, health program, National Conference of State Legislatures

Speakers:

  • Tammy Jo Hill, policy specialist, health program, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Sweta Haldar, policy analyst, health division, National Governors Association
  • Shannon Saul, research analyst I, children & families program, National Conference of State Legislatures

This series is primarily supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.