Prevention Policy Matters Blog

The Prevention Policy Matters Blog helps translate public health policy into practice, offering innovative ways to make national guidelines work in communities across the nation. Discover insights and practical tips from experts across all of ODPHP’s divisions, as well as compelling stories from other professionals.

Underage alcohol use (also known as underage drinking) is a serious public health problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young people abuse alcohol more than any other drug — and more than 4,300 young people die from alcohol-related causes each year. The problem of underage drinking is even more significant for American Indians, and major health disparities related to alcohol exist for this population. In addition to having higher rates of alcohol-related deaths, American Indians are more likely to start drinking alcohol at a younger age than other groups — a significant risk factor for alcohol problems later in life.
Representatives from more than 20 federal departments, agencies, and offices worked under the coordination of the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy to update the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, 2017 – 2020. The Action Plan provides a strategic framework to work collaboratively across diverse sectors to achieve four key goals: 1) Prevent new hepatitis B and C infections, 2) reduce deaths and improve the health of people living with viral hepatitis, 3) reduce viral hepatitis health disparities, and 4) coordinate, monitor and report on implementation and viral hepatitis activities. The Action Plan identifies strategies and recommended actions to help focus and guide the efforts of federal, state, tribal, county, city and organizational partners and indicators to track the progress in achieving these goals. In addition, the Action Plan includes 19 indicators to promote transparency and accountability for results and movement toward the 2020 goals.
If you ask Mark LoMurray what he likes most about his job, he doesn’t have to think about it much. “Watching young people find their voice,” he says, “sometimes in as little as 3 or 4 hours. We often have kids who can barely say their name at the beginning of an activity, and by the end they’re standing up presenting ideas that they’re proud of. It’s just really amazing to watch that happen.”
There is confusion among many Americans, particularly women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and parents and caregivers of young children, regarding seafood consumption. You can help to clear up confusion and encourage patients and clients—particularly women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and parents and caregivers of young children—to include seafood as part of an overall healthy eating pattern.
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is filled with resources that professionals can use to help patients make healthier food choices and establish healthy eating patterns. Get started by reviewing For Professionals: Recommendations At-A-Glance (also available in Spanish). Then follow the tips below to help your patients get 2017 off to a healthy start!
Making New Year’s resolutions is easy, but like most things in life, consistent follow through is what may create results and sustain positive change. People of all ages and abilities benefit from physical activity. As a health care professional, you’re in a good position to encourage patients and clients, including those with physical disabilities, to get the New Year off to a healthy start.

Christopher St. Clair, PharmD, ORISE Fellow and Clydette Powell, MD, MPH, FAAP, Director, Division of Health Care Quality, ODPHP

Every year, tens of thousands of patients die from infections they contract in hospitals — and at any given time, about 1 in 25 hospitalized patients have a health care-associated infection (HAI).…

Wondering how Healthy People 2020 can support your public health work? Laura Edwards — North Carolina’s Healthy People State Coordinator and the Senior Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at Population Health Improvement Partners — has some ideas. Edwards has been on the front lines of health improvement in her home state of North Carolina for over 20 years and uses Healthy People to drive those efforts.
Shared decision making is a patient-centered care communication strategy that encourages providers to inform patients about their options and then involve them in medical decisions — and it’s a key strategy for preventing hypoglycemic ADEs. That’s because applying a shared decision-making process to diabetes care results in individualized glycemic target setting — treatment is based on evidence-based guidelines and patients’ values and preferences.