Public Health Webinar Series


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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 | 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT / Noon MT / 11 a.m. PT

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.


Erik Skinner, Policy Associate, NCSL Health Program


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 | 3 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. CT / 1 p.m. MT / Noon PT

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.


State Planning for Distribution and Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine

Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 | 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT / Noon MT / 11 a.m. PT

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


Suicide Prevention: State Strategies

Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 | 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT / Noon MT / 11 a.m. PT

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. State and local public health agencies, the federal government and even private foundations are stepping up in major ways to prevent deaths by suicide. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, calls to lifelines have increased significantly across the U.S. This webinar will focus on the actions of states and potential partners and shine a spotlight on the ways in which states can partner to prevent suicide.


State Strategies to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 | 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT / Noon MT / 11 a.m. PT

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.


  • Melissa Merrick, president & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America



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

Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 | 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT / Noon MT / 11 a.m. PT

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.


Policies and Strategies to Address Infectious Diseases

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 | 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT / Noon MT / 11 a.m. PT

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.


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

Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 | 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT / Noon MT / 11 a.m. PT

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.


Connection of Public Health and Behavioral Health

Friday Jan. 15, 2021 | 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT / Noon MT / 11 a.m. PT

More information coming soon!


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.