UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health was actively engaged with the National Association of Local Boards of Health 2018 Annual Conference held Aug. 8–10, 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Several leaders from Gillings’ North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) presented sessions on topics ranging from models for training new boards of health members, lessons learned from a state-based health department accreditation program and a model for framing public health messages.
NCIPH Interim Director Rachel Wilfert, MD, MPH, CPH, co-presented with North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH) Local Technical Assistance and Training Branch Head Phyllis Rocco, MPH, BSN, RN, on orientation trainings for North Carolina public health governing boards. NCDPH and NCIPH have a multi-year partnership to develop and deliver trainings to local health governing board members each year. The primary focus of the training program is on orientation training for new board members covering the legal responsibilities and authority of a local public health governing board. The program includes partnerships with the UNC School of Government and community leaders including former local health department directors and boards of health members who serve as expert trainers.
Amy Belflower Thomas, MHA, MSPH, CPH, presented in her role as North Carolina Local Health Department Accreditation (NCLHDA) program administrator on a review of North Carolina’s state-based local health department accreditation system. Her presentation highlighted the history of the state’s accreditation system and lessons learned from the NCLHDA Program’s evaluation efforts over the past 16 years. In particular, the presentation emphasized the meaningfulness of North Carolina’s state-level, legislatively-mandated accreditation program in the context of the since-developed national system administered by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). North Carolina’s system is not only continuing and thriving — as of May 2018, all 84 of the state’s health departments have gone through both the initial accreditation and reaccreditation process at least once—but the program is uniquely able to support the success of North Carolina’s many small (and often rural) health departments.
NCIPH Senior Fellow, Gene W. Matthews, JD organized the opening plenary session for the NALBOH conference using the topic of “The Public Health Advantage: Crafting Richer Messages in a Turbulent Political Environment.” Co-presenters were Sue Lynn Ledford, DrPH, BSN, MPA, who is public health division director for the Wake County (N.C.) Human Services Department; Gary Gunderson, MDiv, DMin., DDiv ,vice president, FaithHealth, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center who is one of the national thought-leaders in faith-based health initiatives; and Tish Singletary, BA, Community Health Worker Program Coordinator, North Carolina Office of Rural Health. The plenary focused on the use of Moral Foundations Theory in improving public health messaging, improving framing of public health issues to policy-makers, messaging with millennials in the workplace, and lessons learned from faith-health experiences. This presentation was part of an ongoing public health messaging initiative of the National Network for Public Health Law.