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Monthly Briefing

Monthly Briefing

March 2017 Monthly Briefing

The Bottom Line

  • ASPPH objects to Federal hiring freeze
  • ASPPH calls for withdrawal of Executive Order on refugees and immigrants
  • 30th Anniversary of the Prevention Research Centers Program Celebrated

What's New

Advocacy and Policy

ASPPH Primary Representatives and Section Members receive the weekly ASPPH Policy and Advocacy Newsletter with the latest news about legislative, regulatory, and policy developments affecting academic public health. The following are some selected excerpts from recent newsletters highlighting ASPPH initiatives.

ASPPH Objects to Federal Hiring Freeze; Promised Public Health Exemption Missing in Final Trump Order

On January 23, the Trump Administration issued a presidential memorandum imposing a federal hiring freeze. Trump’s “Contract with the American Voter,” issued during the campaign last summer, promised, “a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health)” (emphasis added). The public health exemption was missing in the presidential memorandum issued on the third day of the Trump Administration.

In a letter to President Trump on January 31, ASPPH asked the President to uphold his “campaign promise and to exempt vital public health workers from the Federal hiring ban. Key federal agencies cannot wait until the next domestic or global health security challenge to begin the hiring process. Having a cadre of highly trained federal workers ready to address public health threats is vital.”

The letter asked President Trump to clarify that the order does not apply to agency fellows, interns, and residents in the various health professions, including public health. While ASPPH fellows appear safe, there is some uncertainty about the status of other fellows and interns paid directly from agency funds.

Ms. Colleen Barros, Acting Deputy Secretary of HHS, issued a memo on February 6 to the heads of HHS offices and agencies concerning exemptions to the federal hiring freeze. The memo from Ms. Barros listed 78 occupations that have been judged to fall within the parameters of public safety and national security and are thus exempt from the hiring freeze. Included in the positions are social work, social services aid and assistant, microbiologist, toxicologist, environmental health and safety, epidemiologist, dietician and nutritionist, and industrial hygiene. Seven other positions were listed as needing preapproval, “Due to the broad nature of work performed within these positions…” Among those occupations are: social science (behavioral and mental health), health scientist administrator, and public health advisor.

ASPPH Calls on President Trump to Withdraw Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees

In a letter to President Trump on January 31, ASPPH called for the repeal of his controversial Executive Order on refugees and immigration. ASPPH wrote to the President, “The Association urges you to withdraw the Executive Order on refugees and immigration. The Cato Institute reports that not a single person in America was killed in a terrorist incident by citizens from any of the seven countries specifically targeted by your Order. Public health schools and programs provide training for many students from these countries, most of whom return to provide essential services to their fellow citizens. Our schools and programs also employ faculty that come from the listed nations and encourage the exchange of scholars with these countries. The global health security challenges facing these countries as well as the United States respect no borders and the generation of new knowledge needed to fight these scourges is a shared responsibility of the global community. The health of the United States is best ensured through collaboration with the global community of scholars, not through the isolation of individuals due to their religion or country of origin.”

ASPPH also joined a group letter, organized by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which expressed deep concern “that the January 27 executive order restricting the admission of certain foreign nationals and refugees to the United States will disrupt patient care, health education, and medical research.”

30th Anniversary of the CDC Prevention Research Centers Program Celebrated

A special supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine celebrating the 30th anniversary of the CDC’s Prevention Research Center program was posted last week. It includes an article co-authored by Dr. Gary Raskob, chair of the ASPPH board, and Dr. Daniel Blumenthal, president of the American College of Preventive Medicine, titled, “The Value of Prevention Research Centers: Breaking New Ground in Prevention Research.”

Other Advocacy and Policy Activities

Previous Month's Briefings

January 2017 Monthly Briefing

Many of the ASPPH’s 2016 legislative and policy initiatives will inform the Association’s 2017 advocacy efforts. Among the highlights of 2016 include the development of a white paper distributed to presidential candidates that focuses on the Association’s policy priorities, efforts to enhance the role of prevention research in the Cancer Moonshot initiative, and efforts to promote population health. The Association’s advocacy activities related to Federal appropriations continues to be a top priority as well.

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November 2016 Monthly Briefing

Since October 1, the Federal Government has been operating under a continuing resolution that expires on December 9. Congress is expected to convene in a lame duck session after the election to finalize the fiscal year 2017 appropriations bills. ASPPH has provided the presidential candidates with a new white paper outlining the Association’s policy priorities. The Cancer Moonshot initiative has delivered their final reports.

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October 2016 Monthly Briefing

ASPPH has released a new white paper, Academic Public Health’s Priorities For America, to the Presidential transition teams. The document focuses on advancing public health education, science, and practice as the basis of improving population health. ASPPH calls on the new Administration to make public health a national priority and advance the research, training, and action necessary to protect and promote health for all our citizens. Congress on September 28 cleared a short term Continuing Resolution to keep the government operating through December 9, 2016. The measure also provided $1.1 billion in funding to address the Zika crisis.

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