Lab Matters Summer 2019 - Page 25

PUBLIC POLICY APHL Articulates Value of Public Health Labs During Annual Policy Symposium, Capitol Hill Visit by Honorata “Kuki” Hansen, MPH, DACVPM, manager, Regulatory and Public Policy APHL’s eighth annual policy symposium in Atlanta on May 14 was the largest yet. Around 70 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) participants joined APHL staff and members for this opportunity to network and share policy priorities and challenges. The one-day agenda opened with an introduction to the public health laboratory system by APHL’s president Joanne Bartkus and updates from laboratories in Texas Utah, Rhode Island, New York City, Washington DC, Minnesota and California. A CDC attendee described it as “state-visit speed dating.” Initiatives in vector-borne disease, data, workforce, global health, advanced molecular detection and newborn screening were brought forward for discussion, with Ewa King closing out the day showing the strides Rhode Island has taken in non-fatal opioid overdose surveillance. The next day, APHL staff and members headed to Capitol Hill to meet with House and Senate staff to discuss priorities for member laboratories. This year’s central message was the critical need for investments in the public health data infrastructure. Members shared illustrative stories of lagging data systems, such as continued use of faxes to send results and valuable time wasted on data entry for siloed reporting systems. With both House and Senate considering funding and supportive language in authorization bills for these investments, the opportunity for key Congressional staff to hear from those on the front lines was invaluable. n top: Senior Director of Public Policy Peter Kyriacopoulos, along with laboratory directors Jennifer Rakeman, APHL President Joanne Bartkus and APHL President-Elect Grace Kubin between visits to congressional offices left: A full house of attendees at the 2019 Policy Symposium DIGITAL EXTRA: Review APHL’s program fact sheets. PublicHealthLabs @APHL Summer 2019 LAB MATTERS 23