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Advocating for CSTE Member Needs in Washington, D.C.

Posted By Joe McLaughlin, MD, MPH, Friday, March 4, 2016
Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2016

Advocating for the needs of the applied epidemiology workforce nationally is a fundamental component of CSTE’s mission. For this reason, Executive Board representatives visit our nation’s capital each year to meet with federal decision makers and partner organizations. This year, participants included: Vice President Al DeMaria of Massachusetts, President-Elect Megan Davies of North Carolina, Secretary-Treasurer Sarah Park of Hawaii, Surveillance/Informatics Member-at-Large Kathryn Turner of Idaho, and President Joe McLaughlin of Alaska. Accompanied by Executive Director Jeff Engel and guided by Washington Representative Emily Holubowich, CSTE convened and attended nine meetings.

During our visit, CSTE representatives met with CDC’s Washington, D.C. office, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the Veterans Health Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, the office of Congressman Mike Simpson of Idaho, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the de Beaumont Foundation.

Our meetings this year coincided with both the release of President Obama’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017 and a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the Zika virus outbreak. The president’s proposed FY 2017 budget, which will inform the official budget to be passed by Congress, sees a $194 million-dollar decrease in CDC funding from FY 2016. At a CDC Coalition meeting at APHA, CDC Director Tom Frieden underscored how the many thousands of lives saved through public health programs often go unacknowledged without the continued advocacy of national partners. Dr. Frieden addressed the implications of the administration’s proposal, including increased funding for antibiotic resistance, prescription drug overdose, and gun violence prevention research. Dr. Frieden also emphasized the following FY 2017 funding priorities: antimicrobial resistance, Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country, and prescription drug overdose prevention.

At the Zika virus House hearing, Dr. Frieden emphasized the urgent need for $828 million to strengthen national systems for Zika virus prevention and response. If awarded, a portion of this funding would support vectorborne infrastructure at state, territorial, and local health departments. CSTE has endorsed the president’s request for $1.9 billion in emergency funding for the Zika virus response. Click here to read the requests for the House of Representatives and the Senate.

State Epidemiologist of Alaska Joe McLaughlin, MD, MPH is the president of CSTE. To learn more about CSTE’s advocacy activities, visit the CSTE website and

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