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American Public Health Association adopts 16 new policy statements at Annual Meeting
New policy statements address Ebola and emerging infectious diseases, bullying of LGBT youth, regulation of e-cigarettes and more
New Orleans, Nov. 18, 2014 – The American Public Health Association adopted 16 new policy statements today at its 142nd Annual Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans covering topics ranging from Ebola and emerging infectious diseases, to bullying for LGBT youth to the regulation of e-cigarettes.
Following are brief descriptions of the 16 policy statements adopted by the Governing Council. One policy was a late-breaker, meaning it was not open to the same review as the other 2014 policies and will serve as interim policy until reviewed by the Governing Council at its regular 2015 meeting. For more information on any of these policy statements, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Disclaimer: These brief descriptions are not comprehensive and do not include every point, statement or conclusion presented in the policy statements. Upon finalization and copyediting, full policy statements will be available in early 2015.)
20141 Reducing elective labor inductions — Noting the significant rise in labor inductions and the risks associated with pre-term birth, calls on all hospitals to develop strict protocols on the use of non-medically necessary labor inductions before 39 weeks of gestation and to train physicians in the new guidelines. Urges childbirth education organizations to raise awareness of the risks and benefits to elective induction of labor as well as support existing campaigns that educate new parents about the importance of waiting until 40 weeks of gestation. Also calls for better data collection on the number of elective deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation.
20142 Bullying and disparities among gay youth — With sexual minority youth experiencing disproportionate rates of bullying, calls on relevant federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to create a research agenda to evaluate new and existing interventions. Encourages federal policymakers to enact legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and urges local school boards and education departments to implement programs that specifically address the safety and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Also urges members of Congress to pass legislation that provides comprehensive sex education for all students, including information addressing sexual assault, bullying and harassment.
20143 Comprehensive sex education for young people — Encourages entire communities, including parents, physicians and public health workers, to support comprehensive sexual health education in schools and calls on policymakers to implement evidence-based sex education that fosters equality, respect and the elimination of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Calls on members of Congress to continue to fund programs that promote comprehensive sex education that includes information on both contraception and abstinence, and to defund programs that withhold critical health information. Also urges schools to pay particular attention to student populations at greater risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy.
20144 Young children and dietary guidelines — Noting that the needs of children younger than 2 years old are currently omitted from the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, calls for federal funding to support research addressing the nutritional needs of children in their first 1,000 days of life. Urges leading federal officials, such as the secretary of health and human services, to create and enact a robust research plan aimed at creating dietary recommendations for understudied groups, such as children younger than 2 years old.
20145 Global breastfeeding and maternity support — Citing the connections between supportive maternal health policies and the ability of new mothers to choose exclusive breastfeeding, calls on U.S. policymakers and international organizations to help develop as well as support policies and programs that promote paid maternity leave and workplace accommodations for breastfeeding. Encourages public health practitioners and global organizations to monitor work-related barriers to breastfeeding and advocate for paid maternity leave. Also calls for additional research on breastfeeding and supportive maternal health policies within different cultural and workplace settings, including research on local solutions to better maternal and child health.
20146 Breast cancer and occupational exposure — In conjunction with increasing research into the connections between breast cancer and work-related exposures, urges the U.S. surgeon general to declare an association between certain chemicals and breast cancer as well as to emphasize the importance of identifying workplace exposures that contribute to breast cancer. Calls on relevant federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, to direct breast cancer research funds toward the study of occupational exposure and risk. Also urges federal agencies to investigate the prevalence of breast cancer among certain groups of workers and raise awareness about safer chemical alternatives and risk reduction.
20147 Diesel exhaust and human health — Updating similar APHA policy adopted in 1999, encourages relevant federal, state and local agencies to raise public awareness on the human health dangers of diesel exhaust exposure and engage local stakeholders in lowering diesel emissions as well as work-related exposures. Calls on officials to go beyond the typical means of communication and organize awareness-raising events in partnership with state and local APHA chapters, occupational safety and health groups, environmental organizations, labor unions and industry councils. Also urges advocacy in support of stronger diesel emissions regulations and the development of cleaner, renewable transportation technologies.
20148 The health of temporary workers — Citing the rapid growth of the temporary work sector, calls on Congress to reform current laws to provide labor rights to temporary workers, including the right to union representation and the ability to negotiate for equal workplace rights. Calls for expanding research on the health impacts of temporary work arrangements and urges the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to research injury rates among workers hired by temporary staffing agencies. Also urges states to adopt a number of rules regarding the temporary workforce, including requiring agreements between staffing agencies and host employers that spell out worker health and safety responsibilities.
20149 Regulation of electronic cigarettes — Calls on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop regulations that hold e-cigarettes to the same marketing and advertising standards as conventional tobacco cigarettes and calls for the federal funding of research on the short- and long-term health consequences of e-cigarette use. Urges the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require special packaging, including warning labels, on e-cigarette cartridges to help prevent childhood poisoning. Also calls on state and local official to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to minors as well as the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public areas and workplaces.
201410 Public health and legalized marijuana — Citing the legalization of recreational marijuana sales in four states and the District of Columbia, calls for a public health-based approach to controlling legal marijuana as well as viewing legalized marijuana as a public health priority. Urges federal, state and local policymakers to fund health research on marijuana use, coordinate efforts to prevent marijuana use and abuse, and direct marijuana tax revenue to programs that educate on the health effects of marijuana use and abuse. Also calls on relevant federal and state agencies to develop an evidence base regarding the public health benefits of regulating commercial marijuana.
201411 Veterans and mental health services — Calls on the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to stop using discharge status as criteria for determining mental health care coverage. Urges federal policymakers to fully fund the needs of veterans and calls on the VA to improve the retention and recruitment of health care personnel. Calls on the VA to improve the scheduling process within its health system and integrate its information systems with the Department of Defense to ensure continuity of care for service members. Also urges all branches of the armed forces as well as the VA to reduce mental health stigma.
201412 Tobacco-free military — Noting ongoing efforts to promote tobacco-free policies within the U.S. military, urges the Department of Defense to strengthen and evaluate its tobacco cessation efforts and adopt policies that ultimately achieve a tobacco-free military. Calls on members of Congress to support related tobacco control measures, including the establishment of smoke-free workplaces and ending the sales of tobacco in commissaries.
201413 Achieving a HIV-free generation — Citing stalled progress in reducing the U.S. HIV infection rate, calls on Congress to fully fund the Office of National AIDS Policy to revise, implement, monitor and evaluate the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Urges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to set priority issues for further research and funding, and calls on state and local health agencies as well as private insurers to improve relevant data collection. Calls on federal agencies to increase investment in evidence-based prevention efforts, particularly among those living with HIV, and urges full funding of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
201414 Standards for community health workers — Calls on professional community health worker associations to gather a consensus on the desirability of training and credentialing standards and to consider developing policies on such standards in collaboration with community health worker advocates and other stakeholders. Encourages state policymakers who are considering such training and credentialing standards to collaborate with local community health workers and their professional groups. Also urges state governments and other entities that are drafting such standards to include in the policy the creation of a governing board of which half of the members are community health workers.
201415 Social determinants of behavioral health — Citing high rates of mental health and substance abuse disorders in the U.S., calls on federal agencies to develop an integrated public health plan to address the negative effects of the social determinants of health. Urges Congress to increase funding for research into the promotion, prevention and treatment of behavioral health disorders and calls on the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to partner with public health practitioners and others to strengthen the behavioral health workforce. Also encourages SAMHSA to enhance education efforts that help people manage stress, identify early behavioral health symptoms and find treatment.
LB-14-01 Strengthening Ebola response and protection — Noting gaps in readiness to protect the U.S. population during recent cases of Ebola Virus Disease and the need to prepare for future disease outbreaks, calls on federal, state and local officials to restore adequate funding for preparedness for all natural and man-made infectious disease threats. Urges policymakers to invest in worker preparedness, training and protective equipment. Calls on the White House and Congress to direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to fast-track standards and guidelines addressing the health care sector and other industries. Also calls on OSHA to enforce whistleblower protections and civil liberties for workers who raise concerns about work-related infectious disease risks.
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