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The NACCHO Podcast Series

The NACCHO Podcast series provides public health professionals with in-depth interviews featuring some of the field's top officials. Listeners can also learn the latest news from Washington, DC with our monthly "Podcast From Washington."
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Now displaying: December, 2023
Dec 15, 2023

On this week’s podcast, the National Association of County and City Health Officials Victoria Van de Vate, Director of Government Affairs, and Lauren Mastroberardino, Government Affairs Senior Specialist, provided a Congressional update on upcoming government funding challenges. They also discussed recent letters that NACCHO sent to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on Healthy People 2030 objectives and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of STD Prevention about its proposed guidelines on the use of doxycycline as post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent STI transmission.   

Later in the program (4:50), Timothy McCall, NACCHO’s Director of Research, hosted a discussion with co-authors Rita Burke, Associate Professor of Clinical Population and Public Health Sciences and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine; Larissa Chiari-Keith, Chief Executive Officer of Alala Advisors; and Emma Hunter, Health Emergency Preparedness Analyst at San Mateo County Health, to talk about their recently published qualitative analysis of California public health officials’ experiences of harassment during COVID-19.

NACCHO's Forces of Change survey found that 60% of local health departments reported their agency, leadership, and/or staff were targeted with harassment during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, one study found that 20% of Americans felt that harassing public health leaders was justified early in the pandemic; this rose to 25% in 2021. Even though this harassment crisis surfaced three years ago, the impacts on individuals, communities, and the public health system persist.

NACCHO is drawing attention to this urgent issue. The study aimed to collect qualitative data highlighting the harrowing stories from local health officials and to better understand their experiences of harassment. The pandemic not only exposed vulnerabilities in the public health and healthcare system, but it also subjected local health officials to psychological impacts, systemic backlash, and burnout. 

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