Nov 2023: From the Editor

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Nov 2023

Editor-in-chief Lloyd F. Novick highlights new articles in the Nov/Dec 2023 issue of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

The Nov issue of the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice includes an array of important articles, beginning with a commentary by Monica Bharel and John Auerbach that looks at “Using Public Health Tools to Alleviate Homeless Encampments.” Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing opioid epidemic, the lack of affordable housing stock, and the widening inequities across the nation, this new crisis has left mayors and other city officials grappling for options to mitigate this issue, which the authors propose may be addressed using 6 distinct public health components. A related article by Michael Bien and colleagues highlights the work of the Centers of Excellence in Public Health and Homelessness program, which has identified common challenges facing health departments and uncovered effective strategies and best practices to strengthen public health capacity to address infectious diseases among people who experience homelessness.

Two articles in this issue focus on public health surveillance. In “Ohio Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network: Implementation of Statewide Monitoring for Protecting Public Health,” Zuzana Bohrerova and colleagues describe how the state of Ohio rapidly developed statewide wastewater monitoring for novel pathogens during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as efforts to interpret and apply the monitoring results. Building a statewide monitoring network in a short time frame is an enormous challenge that requires considerable collaboration, resources, and time. Maintaining the established networks will be beneficial for future disease outbreaks. In the second article, Milagros Neyra and coauthors assessed the accuracy, timeliness, and completeness of the NYS Wastewater Surveillance Network during the first year of operations during COVID. Using standard indicators to evaluate infectious disease surveillance systems, they observed 96.5% sensitivity of wastewater to identify substantial/high COVID-19 transmission and 99% specificity to identify low COVID-19 transmission. In total, 80% of results were reported within 1 day of sample collection and were published on the public dashboard within 2 days of sample collection. Among participating wastewater treatment plants, 32.5% provided weekly samples with zero missing data, 31% missed 1 or 2 weeks, and 36.5% missed 3 or more weeks.

Other important articles in this issue include “Understanding Factors Influencing Decision Making by State Health Officials in a Public Health Emergency,” by Raphael M. Barishansky and Michael Fraser; “Tying Overdose Data to Action: North Carolina’s Opioid and Substance Use Action Plan Data Dashboard,” by Michael Dolan Fliss and colleagues; “Scalable Strategies to Increase Efficiency and Augment Public Health Activities During Epidemic Peaks” by Dana K. Pasquale, et al; and “Understanding Over-immunization in North Dakota’s Adult Population” by Allison Dykstra and colleagues, among many others.

Columns in this issue include “Tools for Approaching Policy With Equity in Mind” by Keshia Pollack Porter, et al; “The Role of State and Territorial Health Agencies in Supporting and Hiring Community Health Workers” by Shelby Rowell and Anna Bartels; “Achieving Sustainable Health Equity Locally After the COVID-19 Emergency Response” by Hassanatu Blake, et al; and “Strengthening Advocacy Skills for Public Health Leaders” by Shelley A. Hearne and colleagues.

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