Health Department Leaders Come to Washington

On Wednesday, over 80 local, state, and territorial health officials from across the country met with members of congress on Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to prioritize public health funding. NACCHO board members and staff, the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC), representatives from the National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH), and members of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) all took to Capitol Hill to advocate and educate lawmakers about public health priorities and challenges in the communities across the country they represent. The aim of their visits was to share the critical need to sustain investments in public health agencies that protect and promote the health of all Americans and prevent sequester cuts in the FY20 budget.

Public health leaders advocated for a 22% increase in CDC funding by FY2022, arguing that the federal investment in public health has not matched the rate of inflation nor the considerable challenges facing the nation such as extreme weather events, infectious disease outbreaks, and other public health emergencies. Many advocates addressed the need to redouble our efforts to improve immunization rates in the face of ongoing measles outbreaks. Advocates also focused on their work around the opioid epidemic and the need for more resources and employees at the local level.

Later in the week, NACCHO’s Board also met with the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Dr. Robert Kadlec, and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, to discuss the importance of local health departments in our nation’s preparedness and public health efforts.

Take Action
Just because Hill Day is over, the work is just beginning—and you can join us. Check out our Hill Day factsheets and talking points, which can be used with your elected representatives in their District office. Our Advocacy Toolkit has many ideas for ways to engage, too. And always remember to let NACCHO’s Government Relations Team know if you meet with your federal representatives or if you are coming to Washington. If you—or your colleagues—haven’t already, please sign up for our Congressional Action Network to stay up to date on ways to engage Congress and the Administration.

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