skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, December 1, 2023

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

NC Public Health Departments Called Overworked, Underfunded

play audio
Play

Thursday, March 11, 2021   

OXFORD, N.C. -- North Carolina has spent fewer and fewer dollars on public health over the past decade, and local health officials say inconsistent funding has led to reduced staff and resources, which likely worsened the fallout from the pandemic.

Data from Kaiser Health News show spending for the state's 85 local health departments dipped by more than 27% between 2010 and 2018.

Lisa Macon Harrison, vice president for the National Association of County and City Health Officials and health director for Granville-Vance Public Health, said most departments rely on a patchwork of disease-specific grant funding and federal dollars from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"There's also not a full appreciation of the mandated services and restrictions our system asks of us, and the lack of flexibility," Harrison pointed out. "We have to sometimes be able to pivot and be as nimble as we'd like to be in situations like we're in now, where we are managing change every single week."

According to research by Trust for America's Health, public health represented just 2.5% of all U.S. health spending in 2017.

The report also found, nationwide, public-health surveillance infrastructure for detecting infectious diseases and environmental threats hasn't kept up with current technologies and are in dire need of upgrades.

Meanwhile, the state's population grew to an estimated 10.5 million people as of July 1, 2019, the fourth year in a row North Carolina has grown by more than 100,000 people, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census.

Jason Baisden, senior program officer for the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, said policymakers should view public health as a critical part of the state's healthcare safety-net infrastructure.

"Investments today in our public health infrastructure and things like housing have dividends for improved health," Baisden asserted. "And we believe, lower cost, in the long-term, and it's a discussion that North Carolina and North Carolinians need to have."

Harrison noted she's grateful more residents are becoming aware of the services their local health departments provide as COVID-19 vaccinations ramp up, but she argued communities need long-term, sustainable solutions.

"But it also calls our policymakers to action to make sure that we are able to not only survive as an infrastructure through this pandemic response and vaccination program, but that we thrive enough to prevent it from happening again," Harrison contended.

She pointed out in addition to meeting residents' basic health needs and providing immunizations, public-health departments work to prevent the start and spread of outbreaks, monitor food safety in restaurants and other public places, keep drinking water clean, and respond to natural disasters and emergencies.

Disclosure: Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
According to the National Family Farm Coalition, the average U.S. farmland value is now $3,800 per
acre, the highest since the 1970s. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

North Dakota's farming landscape is seeing policy shifts dealing with corporate ownership of agricultural interests. Now, there's fresh debate at the …


Social Issues

play sound

Advocates for unpaid family caregivers in Maine say they'll need continued support beyond the recently passed paid family and medical leave program…

Social Issues

play sound

The Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida are filing lawsuits against the deacti…


An estimated 40% of recent college graduates in the U.S. are underemployed, according to Statista. (Adobe Stock)

play sound

A new report from WGU Labs, a nonprofit affiliate of Western Governors University based in Millcreek, Utah, is shedding light on the importance of …

Social Issues

play sound

Many older residents of Washington state are facing strains on their budgets -- and the government programs that could assist them are underused…

The Thrive Indianapolis Annual Report 2022 says Indianapolis has been recognized as a Tree City USA for 35 consecutive years. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Bloomington and Indianapolis are getting some international recognition for the work they're doing to help the environment. The two have been named …

Health and Wellness

play sound

New Mexico activists are tapping today's World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to announce they'll ask the State Legislature to provide more money for treatment …

play sound

Bipartisan legislation that proposes the installation of solar panels in schools across Pennsylvania awaits a vote in the state Senate. The Solar …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021