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LATEST NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

What Types of Emergencies Should You Plan For?

In 2004, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared September to be National Preparedness Month. During September each year, FEMA encourages families to take a moment to consider and create an action plan for the various emergencies that could occur within their homes, businesses, or communities. What types of emergencies should you plan for? View this list from NPHIC to learn what you need to know about preparedness during the month of September, including the items that you need in safety preparedness kits and specific weather-related safety tips. 

Biden’s Comments About Pandemic Widen Public Health Split Over How U.S. Should Respond to COVID-19

Even as the U.S. prepares for a potential winter surge of COVID-19, President Biden’s recent interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” remarked that “the pandemic is over.” Biden’s declaration has created another split-screen moment in efforts to bring COVID-19 to heel. Some public health experts worry that political motives are driving the President’s desire to declare the pandemic over, rather than protection of the public’s health. Others say the president is right and the acute phase of the pandemic is over, even as the country continues to deal with a high burden of disease. One problem that contributes to the confusion is that the definition of a ‘pandemic’ is squishy. Read more from CNN here.

PHCC Offers Messaging Guidance for “Is the Pandemic Over?”

Many people are asking when the pandemic will end or if the pandemic is over. Although we have come a long way in combating COVID-19 and we remain on the right track, COVID-19 continues to be a serious threat in some communities–and especially for people who are at highest risk of severe disease. The Public Health Communications Collaborative (PHCC) has updated their messaging guidance to help you answer questions about the state of COVID-19, following President Biden's recent statement on 60 Minutes regarding the end of the pandemic. For additional resources, you can also use their “Building Bridges” resource to learn how to stay grounded in core messages and build trust with fact-based messaging.

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September is National Preparedness Month

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In September, you may be preparing to harvest the last crops from your garden or to endure the cascade of holidays looming just ahead. However, September is also the time of year that you should be preparing for another type of possibility: An emergency. In 2004, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared September to be National Preparedness Month. 

During September each year, FEMA encourages families to take a moment to consider and create an action plan for the various emergencies that could occur within their homes, businesses, or communities. 

Here’s what you need to know about preparedness during the month of September, including the items that you need in safety preparedness kits and specific weather-related safety tips. 

What Types of Emergencies Should You Plan for? 

The first step in preparing for an emergency is predicting the type of emergency you’re most likely to face. Every family should be prepared for emergencies like fires that can occur within the home environment. Families that own a car should make sure to prepare for car-related emergencies or other events that may occur while on the road. 

Cancer Awareness Days in September

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September may be known for crisper temperatures and the smells of autumn tailgating, but it is also a month full of cancer awareness. September is host to Blood Cancer Awareness Month, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, World Cancer Research Day, and National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week. 

Public health communicators and members of the general public should understand the aim behind these awareness months and preventive measures that can lessen the risk of ever developing cancer. 

Here’s what you need to know about the various cancers recognized in September, including prevalence and preventative measures that you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe. 

Blood Cancer Awareness Month 

In September, organizations dedicated to supporting people with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma work to raise awareness and increase research funding. 

Polio Cases in the United States

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If you have been following news headlines in recent weeks, you may have noticed more frequent references to a virus that you might have thought was all but eliminated in the U.S.: Poliovirus. Polio is a vaccine-preventable disease that has been eradicated in the United States for more than 40 years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, the disease has recently resurfaced in an individual in Rockland County, New York, and wastewater monitoring has shown the continued presence of the virus in that community. 

Here’s what you need to know about poliovirus, wastewater monitoring, polio vaccinations, the current resurgence of polio, and where to go from here. 

What Is Poliovirus? 

Poliovirus is an enterovirus that causes the disease known as polio. It is spread through the oral-fecal route. Most people who get polio have no symptoms, which has historically allowed it to spread undetected. About 25% of people who contract poliovirus develop flu-like symptoms such as fever, GI problems, and body aches. 

Symptomatic polio infection is hard to differentiate from the litany of other common viruses that cause these symptoms. However, the reason there has historically been such an emphasis on eliminating poliovirus through vaccines is that a small percentage (around 0.5%) of people who contract poliovirus go on to develop poliomyelitis, or acute flaccid paralysis, which can cause lifelong neurologic disability or even death due to respiratory failure. 

Updated CDC COVID-19 Guidance

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As the third summer of the COVID-19 pandemic comes to a close, many people may feel fatigued from trying to keep up with current guidance as it relates to avoiding the virus, testing for the virus, and managing a COVID-19 illness. However, it’s essential for public health communicators and anyone approaching the start of the new school year with questions to stay informed. On August 11, 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new, streamlined guidance to help simplify the current pandemic-related calculus. 

Here’s an overview of these streamlined CDC COVID-19 guidelines and what you should know about responding to the guidelines from public health professionals. 

Why Did the CDC Publish Streamlined Guidelines? 

The CDC notes that it updated its COVID-19 guidelines in mid-August to help members of the general public better protect themselves and understand their personal risk relating to COVID-19. 

Even though the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is still prominent nationally. Globally, the CDC acknowledges that updated information is needed because now many more tools are available to help lessen symptoms of COVID-19 when people fall sick. There is also less of a risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death—thanks to successful vaccine campaigns and the evolving nature of the virus. 

As published on the CDC’s website, Greta Massetti, PhD, MPH, notes that the new guidance “acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives.” 


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