Public Policy Committee Update - June 2016

By Jeanie Holt, NHPHA Public Policy Committee Co-Chair

The Public Policy Committee has begun its work to update our policy position statements. We also have a couple of topics on which we plan to write new statements. Here is an opportunity for you to be involved in a time limited project. Below I list the statements to be revised and the topics for which we will draft new statements. You can participate in this process in one or more of several ways: participate on the sub-committee working on the statement; you can volunteer to review draft statements to see that they make sense, read smoothly, etc.; and/or you can be a subject matter expert reviewing the scientific basis cited in the statement. Please let me or JJ Smith know how you’d like to help.

Child Health and Safety: this statement needs a complete overhaul. Karen Welford, Children’s Trust Fund, is leading this sub-committee.

Alcohol and Other Drugs: We last reviewed this position in 2013. Given that opioid misuse has become a crisis, and we anticipate efforts to legalize marijuana, we need a current and robust position statement.

Sexual and Reproductive Health: As with other statements, new developments and new debates in this field require an up-dated statement that provides the evidence of public health benefits to such policies as requiring coverage for contraceptives. Our current statement also does not include a position on access to abortion services. We will hold a Public Policy meeting dedicated to this topic on August 26.

Tobacco: We wrote and approved our current statement before the introduction of e-cigarettes and vaping. We have some catching up to do!!

Disabilities and Public Health: Working with folks at the Disabilities and Public Health project (Institute on Disabilities, UNH), we will draft a new policy statement.

Food Security, Food Systems, Nutrition: We have a statement on food safety which we may update to cover these important issues; or we may end up drafting a new statement or more than one to establish a science-based position from which NHPHA can act on these important issues.

As you can see, Public Policy Committee has plenty to do—and this does not cover all the work we have outlined for ourselves. Our work is interesting, even fun! We hope more NHPHA members will get involved.

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