CSG Midwest
When it comes to improving health outcomes, many policymakers look first to strategies that can provide better care for people who are ill. But some experts argue that medical care itself accounts only for a small part of positive health outcomes. The vast majority of interventions that can make people healthier, and reduce spending on health care, need to happen long before someone enters a doctor’s office.
That’s why states across the Midwest are exploring ways to address so-called “social determinants” to health — from low levels of income and education, to high levels of community violence, to a lack of access to housing and transportation.

According to just-released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 2 million high school students and almost half a million middle school students used e-cigarettes in 2014. E-cigarettes have taken over as the most commonly used tobacco product among high school and middle school students. Youth use of traditional cigarettes continues to decline – only 9.2 percent of high school students reported smoking cigarettes in 2014 compared to 16 percent in 2011.  

Family vacation time in Disneyland has started a nationwide conversation about vaccinations against measles and other preventable diseases.

According to new CDC data on immunization rates of kindergartners in the 2013-2014 school year, 94.7 percent of children had received the MMR vaccine. This national level is below the recommended rate of 95 percent, which provides "herd immunity" extending protection to those who might not be able to receive the immunization due to medical conditions. 

Over 90,000 children were...

Who would have believed that a holiday trip to California’s Disneyland could lead to the sudden spread of measles, a disease formerly believed to have been nearly eradicated? The new outbreak of measles—reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have infected 121 people in 17 states and the District of Columbia between Jan. 1 and Feb. 6, 2015 —has brought the topic of vaccinations into the public eye and become one of the top political discussions of the day.

Family vacation time in Disneyland has started a nationwide conversation about vaccinations against measles and other preventable diseases. Since Jan. 1, 2015, 121 people from 17 states and the District of Columbia are reported to have the measles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eighty-five percent of these cases are linked to holiday visits to the California amusement park.

States face a conundrum as they struggle to regulate and tax e-cigarettes and other vapor systems that deliver nicotine to their users. Definitions in current tobacco and smoking laws can be amended to apply; however the evidence-base to establish equivalency to tobacco has not yet been established. Only three states have totally prohibited the use of e-cigarettes in public places, but 41 states prohibit the purchase of e-cigarettes to minors. Just two states have established taxes on these new products.

E-cigarettes are a nicotine delivery system. They heat liquid containing nicotine and flavorings into a vapor by passing it over a small electronic battery. According to The Wall Street Journal, sales grew from $2 million in 2009 to $722 million in 2013.

In the fall of 2014, the attention of state leaders and their constituents was focused on the Ebola epidemic in Africa and how to prevent its spread to the United States. In the days since the first U.S. case was diagnosed in Texas, federal and state leaders have strived to implement evidence-based responses to the disease. This CSG eCademy features Christine Kosmos, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of State and Local Readiness, who explores lessons learned about Ebola and states’ responses, as well as state/federal role differentiation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of Ebola in the United States Sept. 30. That patient, a man who had traveled to Texas from Liberia, where he was exposed to the virus, died Oct. 8. Since then, the federal and state governments have worked to develop evidenced-based policies and procedures for the prevention, detection and treatment of the disease. CSG will host an eCademy Tuesday, Dec. 9, featuring Christine Kosmos, director of the CDC’s Division of State and Local Readiness. She will discuss lessons learned about Ebola and states’ responses in the past 60 days.

On December 2, 2014, the White House released an update fact sheet on the nation's preparedness to detect, treat and prevention Ebola in the United States and abroad. 

The federal government has designated 35 Ebola treatment centers in 12 states and the District of Columbia. These hospitals are recognized for their biocontainment capability to treat Ebola and other infectious diseases. The goal is to reach 50 Ebola treatment...

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