266480 Communicating the importance of state health infrastructure

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Virginia Lathrop, MS , Infectious Disease, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA
Catherine Cairns, MPH , Infectious Disease, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA
The ability to quickly detect and respond to infectious diseases depends on having a strong infrastructure in place. The presentation will focus on ASTHO's efforts to increase awareness of and support for state health agencies' critical infectious disease infrastructure programs. ASTHO developed materials including overviews on infectious disease and immunization infrastructure and a series of fact sheets on programs and activities. The materials are featured on a dedicated Infectious Disease Infrastructure page on the ASTHO website.

ASTHO staff have also held discussions with representatives from five states to glean specific examples and stories, and conversations with four states regarding infrastructure gains resulting from activities and funding during H1N1. Topics discussed included disease outbreaks, surveillance, electronic reporting, staff and lab capacity, partnerships, and health IT.

ASTHO is developing a communications plan with input from these interviews to be used to articulate the importance and concrete benefits of infectious disease activities, with the ability to supplement the conversation with local stories and examples. The materials developed will be used in educating policymakers and stakeholders about the value of infrastructure and the impact of funding cuts, and the need for adequate capacity in state health agencies.

ASTHO will present on the development of the communications plan and the importance of improving policymaker understanding of public health. These communications strategy and materials will be shared with participants, and can be used as a model for other topic areas to inform communications work on infrastructure and the importance of the role of public health.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss successes, challenges, and examples of infectious disease infrastructure and activities in state health agencies Design a communications plan and materials to articulate the importance and concrete benefits of state infectious disease infrastructure

Keywords: Communication, Infrastructure

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in all stages of the infrastructure project, including 9 interviews with state representatives, and development of the communications plan with the contractor.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.