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Vermont public health association

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  • 27 Oct 2021 7:55 AM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    Board Member and ARGC Representative Burt Wilcke is attending the 2021 APHA Annual Meeting in Denver Colorado, and is also a presenter. At 2:30 on Wednesday, Oct. 27, he'll talk about VT strategic partnerships to advance public health training during COVID. Here's what Burt has to say about the conference so far:

    This year’s meeting is being held in Denver, Colorado but is a hybrid meeting with about one third of the attendees being in-person and two thirds participating virtually. I suspect that all APHA Meetings in the future will be hybrid in their design. The positive result of this is that many who could not otherwise attend are now able to do so.

    This year’s meeting theme is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Strengthening Social Connectedness.” Some of the major topics being covered are Health Inequities, Racism as a Public Health Crisis, Advocacy in the Current Political Climate, and the Effects of Climate Change on Health.

    The Keynote Speaker at the Opening General Session was Heather McGee, noted political scientist, activist, and commentator. She is the author of “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.” Her remarks were very much on point and I encourage others to view her talk if you registered for the meeting. (Note: The sessions will be available for viewing for the next several months.)

    The first General Session on Monday included an excellent keynote address by the noted Public Health leader, Dr. Bill Foege. Dr. Foege made the strong case that public health challenges must be addressed on a global level. We should all be in support of helping all countries improve the health of their respective populations.

    There is also great concern about the current undermining of Public Health authority. One session included a presentation by attorney Donna Levin of the Network for Public Health Law in Minnesota. She covered the matter of preemption of public health authority and its potential negative effects.

    Everyone is talking about next year’s meeting which will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of APHA. It will be held in Boston and the new President-Elect is one of our own, Chris Chanyashulkit from the Massachusetts affiliate.

    That’s it from Denver.

    Burt Wilcke

  • 9 Sep 2021 1:43 PM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    The Vermont Public Health Association (VtPHA) is extremely concerned over the newly enacted Texas statute banning abortion at six weeks of pregnancy and the Supreme Court’s failure to block this harmful legislation. Women have a right to full reproductive health care, including abortion services. The Texas legislation intentionally negates a woman’s right to choose and enables enforcement by intimidation and vigilantism by actions of citizens who oppose a woman’s right to reproductive choice. The Texas law is now emboldening other states to do the same. The VtPHA applauds our Vermont Congressional Delegation and our Vermont State legislators who are working to codify abortion rights at both the state and national level. 

    Please refer to the VtPHA policy on Women’s Reproductive Rights and the APHA statement on the Texas abortion ban.

  • 6 Jul 2021 8:53 AM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release

    July 6, 2021

    Contact: Kenneth Allen

    Company: Vermont Public Health Association

    Email: vtpublichealth@outlook.com

    Website: www.vtpha.org

    Vermont Public Health Association Elects New Board Officers and Board Members

    BURLINGTON, VT, July 2021.  The Vermont Public Health Association (VtPHA) has elected a new slate of officers to lead its membership for the 2021-2022 operations year.

    The incoming President, Kenneth Allen, MBA, Ed.D., will succeed outgoing President Joyce Gallimore. Allen, a senior lecturer at the University of Vermont Department of Biomedical and Health Sciences, will assume his responsibilities July 1, 2021. Also elected are: Theo Studdert-Kennedy, J.D., M.P.H., President Elect; Ashley Foutz, Senior Accountant, University of Vermont Medical Center, Treasurer; and Sally Kerschner, RN, MSN, Secretary. Additionally, Katina Cummings, the Healthcare Workforce Program Manager at Northern Vermont Area Health Education Center based in St. Johnsbury, VT, joins as a new Board member.

    “The past two years have exemplified the extent to which inequities in health and access to the social determinates still exist in Vermont, nationally and also globally,” said Allen. “Vermont has just emerged from a devastating pandemic and we need to remain vigilant in fighting COVID-19. While the impacts of COVID-19 have resulted in devastating consequences across demographic groups, we recognize the disproportionate impacts suffered by historically marginalized groups.  The VtPHA can be a significant partner in the statewide effort to address health inequity in all its forms. The VtPHA acts to achieve Health Equity in an effort to ensure that all people have fair and just opportunities to be healthy. This includes having equal access to health care and access to the social determinants of health such as housing, safe work places, livable wages, education, as well as the justice and political systems. We are especially concerned about disparities related to race/ethnicity, the urban/rural divide, income, sexual orientation, and disability.”

    The members of the VtPHA are using our partnerships and energy to advocate for better health for all Vermonters by continuing to be an independent voice for a healthier Vermont. This is what guides us at the VtPHA.

    For more information please visit our website at www.vtpha.org 

    Kenneth Allen MBA, Ed.D

    President, Vermont Public Health Association

    Theo Kennedy, J.D., M.P.H.

    Vice President/President-Elect, Vermont Public Health Association

    ###

    The VtPHA is a statewide membership organization that seeks to positively influence the health of all Vermonters. The VtPHA does this by providing a strong, independent voice for public health in Vermont through advocacy, education, and community engagement, and by bringing together professionals, policymakers, and partners. 


  • 27 May 2021 3:43 PM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    Rev. Dr. Arnold Isidore Thomas, Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Jericho, VT, hosts a Racism in America series featured on Mt. Mansfield Community Television. Rev. Dr. Arnold was Vermont Public Health Association's keynote speaker for our Dec. 3, 2020, Annual Conference, Racism in Vermont as a a Public Health Issue. 

    Click here for an overview of the Racism in America series that was launched in 2018 at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Jericho, VT, and for links to watch previous talks in the series. 


  • 5 Apr 2021 6:00 AM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release

    April 5, 2021

    Contact: Joyce Gallimore

    Company: Vermont Public Health Association

    Email: vtpublichealth@outlook.com

    Website: www.vtpha.org

    National Public Health Week is April 5 - 11


    BURLINGTON, VT, April 2021.  We invite you to join us in learning and taking action to support the health and well-being of Vermonters during National Public Health Week (NPHW), April 5-11. This year’s theme is “Building Bridges to Better Health.” 

    The Vermont Public Health Association with support from the national association (APHA) will specifically highlight the role of public health in keeping us all healthy. As part of our planning, we will post daily fact sheets each day on our Facebook and Twitter pages about key public health issues and resources related to this year’s theme. You can contribute to the well-being of Vermonters by learning more and sharing that knowledge with your family, friends, colleagues and community.

    Public health was tested this year as never before, and Vermont has continued in its fight against the Covid-19 virus. It is heartening to see the progress of Vermont’s Covid-19 vaccination programs. Vermont is using the approach of methodically vaccinating the entire population by starting with the priority group of health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, followed by adding groups by age category, starting with those over 75 years. By mid-April, all Vermonters over the age of 16 will be able to be vaccinated.

    We can and must work together to overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and to address persistent inequities and gaps in health care access. Public health needs the public if it’s going to be successful. This week, we continue the work. Even as we are physically distant, we know that we’re all working together, and we look forward to celebrating with you this year.

    We know public health is built from the grassroots up. This year, we’re focusing on how we improve the health and well-being of all Vermonters by making our public health system stronger and more integrated into every community and consistent across the State.  By working together, we can achieve health equity and over time,  become a healthier nation. We need your help to get there.


    Joyce Gallimore

    President, Vermont Public Health Association

    ###

    The VtPHA is a statewide membership organization that seeks to positively influence the health of all Vermonters. The VtPHA does this by providing a strong, independent voice for public health in Vermont through advocacy, education, and community engagement, and by bringing together professionals, policymakers, and partners. 


  • 7 Jan 2021 2:40 PM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    The Vermont Public Health Institute was one of 235 national, state, and local organizations that signed a letter sent to U. S. Vice President Mike Pence and the White House Coronavirus Task Force urging a reversal of recent revisions to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines on COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic individuals. The response letter is below. 


  • 7 Dec 2020 9:57 AM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    December 7, 2020

    Contact: Sally Kerschner, VtPHA Secretary

    Email: vtpublichealth@outlook.com


    Racism as a Public Health Issue focus of Vermont Public Health Association’s Annual Conference

    Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila, Dr. John Brooklyn, Dr. Harry Chen, Barbara Cimaglio, and Beth Tanzman recognized as Public Health Champions

    The Vermont Public Health Association (VtPHA) held its Annual Conference: Racism as a Public Health Issue, on Thursday, December 3, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. One hundred people attended the virtual conference.

    Joyce Gallimore, VtPHA President said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the disparities that already exist. We seek equity in health care and health status through the initiatives of the VtPHA.”

    Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Arnold Isidore Thomas, Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Jericho, discussed the importance of improving quality of care among all communities regardless of race or income.  He also discussed the challenges public health officials face in achieving health equity, and how these must be overcome to recognize the barriers people of color face in Vermont.

    “The science of public health is required to assume and take the psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of communities more seriously, to understand their environments and see how this impacts the overall health and wellbeing of the individuals in the community,” Rev. Dr. Thomas said. “It remains crucial that every public health professional approach African American residents of Vermont as individuals well aware of the history of inhospitable treatment by American’s public health institutions toward us as part of an overall structure of systemic racism against us.”

    Rev. Dr. Thomas urged “public health education and employment generate proactive and assertive efforts to develop greater numbers of black and brown professionals so racial and ethnic communities may develop trust through practitioners who look like them and relate to their experiences.” He also urged the administration and practice of public health be pursued with the intent of providing affordable and quality health care as a right for all, rather than a privilege.

    Lisa Carlson, the immediate past president of American Public Health Association (APHA) gave remarks on the challenges faced in 2020 in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    “Racism is a public health crisis,” Carlson said. “People of color are disproportionally affected by COVID-19, we know that, but there’s a lot we don’t know because there’s a lack of reporting of race statistics, which contributes to our inability to really truly understand how this epidemic and pandemic is happening in communities of color. We know that systemic racism and bias in the healthcare system have long been factors, and they are certainly apparent in the pandemic.”

    Melissa Alperin, immediate past chair of the APHA Council of Affiliates (CoA), spoke on the CoA’s purpose, which is to promote efficient and effective communication and coordinate affiliate and APHA activities. She shared a new CoA workgroup which will assist affiliates in addressing issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and racism.

    At the end of the evening, VtPHA Board Members Dr. JoEllen Tarallo and Erin Flynn presented the Public Health Champion Individual Award and the Public Health Champion Team Award, respectively. The VtPHA’s Public Health Champion award is given each year to an individual and/or a team who has made extraordinary contributions to public health within the state of Vermont.

    Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila was presented with the Public Health Champion Individual Award for her research documenting racial disparities in the State of Vermont in pursuit of equity.

    “Thank you VtPHA for this recognition. I’m honored and humbled,” Dr. Avila said.  “COVID-19 has resurfaced many inequities and racial disparities nationally and in our own state. … We have to engage in ongoing education and training about systemic issues in our society. We need to work with communities and not in communities, creating meaningful partnerships with historically underserved communities.”

    For nearly two decades, Dr. Avila has demonstrated commitment to advancing health equity and addressing and eliminating health disparities by inspiring collaboration through strategic partnerships to create a culture of health in Vermont, working to expand community health workers and outreach to former refugee and immigrant communities in the state, and training more than 10,000 professionals across 27 states in understanding the connection between racial, gender, social, economic, educational, and health disparities and the role social determinants of health play in populations’ health outcomes.

    Dr. John Brooklyn, Dr. Harry Chen, Barbara Cimaglio, and Beth Tanzman were presented with the Public Health Champion Team Award for their work supporting people in recovery for opioid use disorder in the State of Vermont. 

    The team was recognized for their design and implementation of the Hub and Spoke system of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). The program has shown significant positive impacts for MAT participants such as decreased opioid use and in injection drug use, decreased emergency department visits, and increased satisfaction with their own lives. The Vermont model for Hub and Spoke has been recognized nationally as an evidenced based program and has been replicated in several other states.

    “The VtPHA recognizes and thanks all health care workers, volunteers and related professionals who care for and support others during the COVID -19 pandemic for their dedication, skill and selflessness. We know you are dedicated to helping others heal, survive and hopefully thrive,” Gallimore added. 

    The VtPHA is a statewide membership organization that seeks to positively influence the health of all Vermonters. The VtPHA does this by providing a strong, independent voice for public health in Vermont through advocacy, education, and community engagement, and by bringing together professionals, policymakers, and partners. Visit www.vtpha.org for more information.

     ###

  • 3 Aug 2020 8:58 AM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE       July 2020

    To Our Vermont Public Health Association Members and Colleagues:

    These are concerning times for the public’s health. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical need for a robust and comprehensive national and international multi sector response. In Vermont, we have been successful to date in containing the virus, due to our data driven response from our state’s leadership, our concerned Vermont citizens, and also our skilled and committed public health workforce.  

    In addition to the major public health crisis due to COVID-19, the Vermont Public Health Association (VtPHA) recognizes the recent events that are in response to the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minnesota. These Black lives lost due to police violence reflect the deep and ongoing “pandemic” of racism that permeates our society and blocks any effort to build equitable societal systems of health and wellness for Black Americans. Nationally, many peaceful protests are highlighting the anger over the traumatic legacy of centuries of systemic racism in our country. We encourage all our members and colleagues to become actively involved in this watershed moment by working as public health professionals to address structural racism and move us forward to a society that is equitable for all. I also refer you to the 2018 American Public Health Association’s statement on Addressing Law Enforcement Violence as a Public Health Issues

    These issues illustrate the effects of the imperfect political and social-economic systems that negatively affect the public’s health. Public health professionals need to continue to push for policies that reflect basic social justice tenets such as accessible and affordable quality health care, healthy communities, and they myriad of other issues that, if implemented, will support a healthy population. In addition, the ongoing crisis caused by climate change underlies and negatively affects all population health issues.  

    The COVID-19 pandemic response has severely tested our medical services and public health workforce capacity. But we are resilient and, under our state leadership, will continue our intense efforts to keep the coronavirus contained. However, the pandemic response is highlighting our nation’s limited public health capacity to fully respond to this pandemic and all ongoing public health threats. The American Public Health Association has expressed this concern as a signatory to a June 2020 letter to Congress urging significant and long term investment in public health infrastructure.

    A key way to tackle these major public health issues is to get involved in your Vermont Public Health Association. Our Board has begun the process of assisting members for more active engagement. We also encourage new members who are involved in the broad array of public health related professions to join us. In order to increase certain member services, our Board is presently firming up plans to create a more fully functioning website, organizing member benefits, and creating further programming that serves the professional needs of our members. 

    I strongly urge everyone to either join or become more active in our American Public Health Association (APHA). During this past spring, the APHA has rolled out several webinars on key pressing public health issues. The COVID-19 Conversations are available twice monthly, offered through a partnership between APHA and the National Academy of Medicine. This series features national experts discussing the latest data and research on the corona virus. Additionally, APHA is offering the Advancing Racial Equity series that explores racism as a major root cause of health inequities. The information on all these webinars is at www.apha.org. Nationally, APHA will have its annual meeting on October 24 – 28. This year’s virtual formal will offer an incredible opportunity to access all sessions online that will be accessible well beyond the dates of the meeting. The theme of this year’s meeting is, Creating the Healthiest Nation: Preventing Violence and presenting research and programming that is so timely with our recent national events of racism and violence.  

    Using the three key elements of our VtPHA Strategic Plan, I’d like to summarize how we at the VtPHA have carried out our work over the past year and our plans for this coming year: 

    Strengthen Public Health Practice:

    • ·         We recognize our partners at the UVM Vermont Student Assembly for Public Health (VSAPH). Many thanks to Madison Shaffer, a VtPHA Board member who is a recent graduate of UVM, for forming this group several years ago. The VSAPH is designed to cultivate a student community for those interested in public health and to create opportunities for students to work in public health projects and become engaged in related issues. The VSAPH is also formally recognized by the APHA.  We want to expand our collaboration with the VSAPH and to consider using this model to create similar groups on other Vermont college campuses.  
    • ·         We continue to strengthen our partnership with the New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA). This fall, we will hold our fourth Health Equity: Team Up Take Action conference in collaboration with the NHPHA and Dartmouth Hitchcock. This year the conference will be held virtually – the planning is just beginning so stay tuned. The goal of this conference is to support public health and community organizations to further instill health equity principles in their programs and services.
    • ·         The VtPHA is organizationally connected to the Vermont Public Health Institute and we have created various plans to increase collaboration over the past years. Presently, under a grant from the Vermont Department of Health and the New England Public Health Training Institute, we are working on public health workforce supports and resiliency.  
    • ·         We have continued our collaboration with the Vermont Climate Health Alliance and their Executive Director, Dan Quinlan. Our recent actions have been minimal due to the pandemic, however, we as an organization have supported the Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act that requires Vermont to meet specified gas pollution levels.
    • ·         We held a policy breakfast in Montpelier in December 2019. This served to promote communication with our public health colleagues on legislative and policy issues and provided a forum to support collaboration on key issues. We intend this to continue as an annual event and are working to provide more solid follow up to support our partners through the legislative session.
    • ·         During National Public Health Week (NPHW) (held annually during the first week of April) we prepared issue briefs for outreach on specific topics as designated by APHA. Since NPHW unexpectedly happened during the intense time of the COVID-19 pandemic response, we messaged each issue brief as defined by the Vermont pandemic response. VtPHA received a small grant from APHA to accomplish this work and we owe many thanks to Katie Bocchino, our VtPHA Operations Manager, for the writing and posting of the pieces. Katie also insured the statewide distribution of two letters to the editor describing the role of public health during NPHW.
    • ·         We acted as a community research partner with the UVM Larner College of Medicine (LCOM) for the research project designed to assess state legislators’ knowledge and approaches to teen marijuana use. This coming fall, we will again submit a research proposal to the LCOM. 

    Build a Public Health Movement:

    • ·         We continue to work to improve our infrastructure and organizational capacity, relying on the expertise on our Board and the skills of our Operations Manager, Katie Bocchino. For the coming year, under the leadership of our new Executive Board as lead by President Joyce Gallimore, we will concentrate on increasing programming and member services, recruiting individual and organizational membership, and improving our social media outreach. This summer we are creating a comprehensive communications plan including strategies for a series of webinars, newsletters, and other means of informing and involving our members. 

    Align Organizational Capacity and Infrastructure/Cross Cutting:

    • ·         We are pleased to welcome several new members to our Board this year. These individuals are adding new perspectives, ideas, and skill sets to an already talented crew. At the same time, we extend our deepest gratitude to our past Board members whose input, energy, and wisdom have set the stage for our future growth as an organization.
    • ·         Burt Wilcke, UVM Associate Professor Emeritus, continues as our representative to the APHA New England Region of the American Public Health Association’s Council of Affiliates. Burt is also our Affiliate Representative to the Governing Council of APHA and is always looking for ways in which we can reciprocally benefit from our connection with APHA, through advocacy, membership, and partnerships.
    • ·         Katie Bocchino continues in her role as our part time Operations Manager. Katie’s expert assistance in high level management for our organization has been invaluable in increasing our efficiency and efficacy as a small nonprofit.
    • ·         Over this past year, the membership voted to approve several Bylaws revisions, which created new membership categories and also established the position of President Elect (rather than Vice President).

    This is a time of challenge for us who are concerned about the health of the public and who realize the urgency of supporting social justice for populations. I have been very proud to have served as your President for the past three years and now pass the baton to our new President, Joyce Gallimore, and President Elect, Ken Allen. I look forward to continuing on the Executive Board as Secretary. There is much important work to be done and I know we will have solid leadership from both Joyce and Ken.

    Sincerely,

    Sally Kerschner, RN, MSN

    Immediate Past President, VtPHA

    Vermont Public Health Association

    vtpublichealth@outlook.com

    www.vtpha.org


  • 18 Jun 2020 9:02 AM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    The Vermont Public Health Association recognizes the recent events that are in response to the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police officers. These Black lives lost due to police violence reflect the deep and ongoing “pandemic” of racism that permeates our society and blocks any effort to build equitable societal systems of health and wellness for Black Americans. Nationally, the many peaceful protests are highlighting the anger over the traumatic legacy of centuries of racism in our country. We encourage all our members and colleagues to become actively involved in this watershed moment by working as public health professionals to address structural racism and move us forward to a society that is equitable for all.

    We strongly encourage all our colleagues to participate in the upcoming webinar on June 9 at 2:00 PM as sponsored by the American Public Health Association entitled Racism: The Ultimate Underlying Condition. This event will examine racism and its historic and present day impact on the health and well being of Black Americans. Registration and more information can be found here

    Please also refer to the American Public Health Association’s statement on Addressing Law Enforcement Violence as a Public Health Issue.

  • 18 May 2020 9:42 AM | Vermont Public Health Association (Administrator)

    May 18, 2020

    The Hon. Phil Scott

    The Hon. James Condos

    The Hon. Mitzi Johnson

    The Hon. Tim Ashe

    Dear Elected Leaders:

    It is the position of the Vermont Public Health Association (VtPHA) that Vermont should implement a universal vote-by-mail program for the 2020 elections. Please find the following statement posted on our homepage (www.vtpha.org) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/VermontPublicHealthAssociation/):

    The Vermont Public Health Association salutes Vermont’s elected leadership for their response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Their actions have helped “flatten the curve” of the virus’ spread and thus have protected Vermonters from this significant disease. However, it is widely recognized by public health experts that there is a real risk of a resurgence of COVID 19 in the next several months or this coming fall. Thus, we must continue proven public health practices, such as physical distancing, to keep the pandemic under control.

    The November 2020 election poses a challenge for policymakers and public health officials alike. Election forecasters predict record turnout, which is good for our democratic process but will create crowded public gatherings that could expose voters and election workers to the COVID 19 virus.

    Therefore, the Vermont Public Health Association recommends that for the upcoming general election, the state creates a robust system enabling key options for voting, including in-person voting, absentee ballots, and a universally available vote by mail system. This will create several options for all voters. The Vermont Public Health Association specifically supports the initiation of a vote by mail option for every registered voter that allows them to vote safely from home.

    This flexibility on voting options for our citizens will prevent Vermonters from having to choose between avoiding exposure to COVID 19 and exercising their right to vote. It adds an additional protection for our citizens who may be older or who live with a chronic health condition. It also supports voters who are less able to travel or unable to take time off of work. A comprehensive vote-by-mail system works to equalize voting opportunities for all Vermonters. 

    VtPHA is a membership organization which facilitates collaboration among people who care about public health and are interested in protecting and promoting the health of Vermont residents. Should you have any questions about our position, please be in touch.

    Sincerely,


    Sally Kerschner, RN, MSN

    President

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About the association

VtPHA is a membership organization which facilitates collaboration among people who care about public health and are interested in protecting and promoting the health of Vermont residents.

VtPHA is an Affiliate of the American Public Health Association (APHA). APHA is the national voice of public health and champions the health of all people and all communities. They are the only organization that combines a 140-plus year perspective, the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health and a member community from all public health disciplines and over 40 countries. Learn more at www.apha.org.

Contacts

vtpublichealth@outlook.com
Vermont Public Health Association
P.O. Box 732
Burlington, VT 05402-0732

Copyright © 2018 Vermont Public Health Association. All rights reserved.
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