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CDC Looks Ahead: 13 Public Health Issues in 2013

Categories: Disease Detectives, Emergency Preparedness & Response, Global Health Threats, Innovative Labs, Public Health Partners, State & Local Success, U.S. Disease Outbreaks

As America’s health protection agency, CDC works around-the-clock to save lives and protect people from health threats, whether they start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, are curable or preventable, or are the result of human error or deliberate attack.

Here’s a look at 13 public health issues CDC is working on for you in 2013:

1. Healthcare-Associated Infections: Protecting Patients, Saving Lives

More than 1 million Americans get a healthcare-associated infection during the course of their medical care, which accounts for billions of dollars in excess healthcare costs. CDC is working toward the elimination of healthcare-associated infections across all settings. CDC continues to target untreatable drug resistant infections that threaten patient safety and, in early 2013, will be releasing updated national and state numbers on healthcare-associated infections prevention in U.S. hospitals. (Above photo: CDC scientist Alicia Shams demonstrating K. pneumoniae growth on a MacConkey agar plate.)

2. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): Let’s Stop HIV Together

In the fight against HIV, stigma and complacency are among our most insidious opponents. To combat two major obstacles to HIV prevention—stigma associated with the infection and complacency about the epidemic— CDC launched Let’s Stop HIV Together, a national communication campaign that gives voice to the estimated 1.1 million Americans living with HIV and their loved ones. The campaign, which features people living with HIV standing with their friends and family and calling on all Americans to join the fight against the disease, will reach millions of Americans through print, online and outdoor advertisements and through social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

3. CDC Vital Signs: Public Health Calls to Action

Released on the first Tuesday of every month, CDC Vital Signs presents recent data and calls to action for important public health issues. CDC believes that by focusing on a single topic using multiple media devices, the nations might better identify these health problems in their area and work towards their improvement. In 2013, Vital Signs will cover important health issues that are public health priorities with large-scale impact on health and with known, effective strategies to address them.  

4. Public Health Grand Rounds: Exploring Public Health Issues

Created to foster discussion on major public health issues, CDC’s Public Health Grand Rounds continues to close the gap between science and communication. Each monthly webcast session focuses on key challenges related to a specific health topic, and explores cutting-edge scientific evidence and potential impact of different interventions. CDC’s 2013 Public Health Grand Rounds will ignite stimulating discussions on topics that include human papillomavirus (HPV), teen pregnancy, and immunization by highlighting how CDC and its partners are already addressing these challenges and discuss the recommendations for future research and practice.

5. Million Hearts™: Preventing Heart Attacks and Strokes

Nearly 800,000 people die in the U. S. each year from cardiovascular disease, accounting for 1 in 3 deaths and more than $300 billion in direct medical costs and lost productivity. CDC is working with other Million Hearts™ public and private partners to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. CDC continues to focus on helping Americans improve their heart health by encouraging greater collaboration between clinical practice and public health. In early 2013, CDC will support the release of new Spanish-language materials for the public and guidance for public health practitioners on implementing self-measured blood pressure monitoring to improve high blood pressure control.

6. TIPS from FORMER Smokers: Helping Smokers Quit

This year, CDC plans to release national results from the groundbreaking Tips From Former Smokers national ad campaign launched in 2012. Building on the known successes of the TIPS campaign, new advertisements will be launched in 2013. Stay tuned for details.

7. Newborn Screening: Saving Babies’ Lives

Nearly 6,000 babies born in the U.S. with severe disorders, most of which are treatable, are identified using newborn screening programs each year. CDC’s Division of Laboratory Sciences in the National Center for Environmental Health plays an important role in newborn screening by offering the Newborn Screening Quality Assurance Program (NSQAP) to local, state, and international laboratories and assuring newborn screening test results are as accurate as possible. Throughout 2013, CDC will be working with the Association of Public Health Laboratories to promote the benefits of newborn screening and recognize the 50th year of newborn screening in the U.S.

(Left photo: CDC Research Chemist Joanne Mei analyzing blood spots in the Newborn Screening Quality Assurance Program.)

 

8. Food Safety: Safer Food From Finding and Stopping Outbreaks

CDC works 24/7 to track the germs, foods, places, and behaviors that make people sick. In 2013, new CDC data gleaned from outbreaks will better identify where, and why, food becomes contaminated.  Fifteen states partner with CDC food safety programs to get ahead of stubborn foodborne outbreaks: FoodCORE conducts more rapid DNA fingerprinting to uncover outbreaks, and together with  FoodNet, will pilot advanced technology for laboratorians, epidemiologists, and federal public health regulatory agencies to share outbreak information. Food Safety Integrated Centers of Excellence will provide regional response and resources.

9. Heads-Up Program: Heads-Up to Parents

From sports fields to schools across the country, CDC’s Heads Up program works to get information on how to spot and respond to concussions to every coach, teacher and athlete. Already CDC has disseminated over 6 million copies of Heads Up materials and has trained more than 800,000 coaches through its Heads Up online concussion trainings. In 2013, CDC will launch the Heads Up to Parents initiative, with tools designed to help parents keep kids safe from concussion on and off the sports field.

10. Children’s Mental Health: CDC Brings a Focus to Children’s Mental Health

Approximately 1 in 5 children in the U.S. this year will experience a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder (MEB) with an overall economic impact of $247 billion annually.  MEB disorders are associated with poor school and health outcomes, and greater demands on the health, education, juvenile justice, and welfare systems.  An MMWR titled Children’s mental health: Surveillance of mental disorders among children in the United States is planned for 2013 that will describe current federal efforts to track children’s mental disorders, the prevalence of these disorders, identify gaps, and inform a public health approach to prevent MEB disorders and promote mental health in children.  

11. Clinical Preventive Services for Children and Adolescents: Services That Improve the Health of Children and Save Lives

Screening infants for developmental delays, vision screening beginning in preschool years, blood pressure screening in school age children, tobacco use counseling in adolescents – all can improve the health of children and adolescents and save their lives. Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 as amended by the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, offers new opportunities to promote and use these kinds of clinical preventive services. This year, CDC will report on the potential benefits of selected services and how we can work together to improve use.

12. Preventing Parasitic Diseases: Integrating Technology and Health

One billion people are disabled, killed, or disfigured by parasitic diseases worldwide and millions in the U.S. are infected. To prevent spread of these infectious diseases and assist those afflicted, CDC is launching a novel diagnostic service that uses high-quality imaging technology, enabling CDC scientists to analyze images remotely of a possible parasite discovered during testing or a medical procedure in real-time, 24/7, such as organ transplants. This simultaneous examination will improve diagnosis and treatment for 15,000+ cases CDC assists with a year, as well as enhance training for laboratory scientists worldwide, including state, territory, and local health departments.

(Right photo: Henry Bishop, CDC microbiologist, with roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides) from a little boy. Photo credit: James Gathany.)

13. Global Efforts to Prevent Violence Against Children: Protecting Childhood Around the World

More than 1 billion children – half of all children in the world — are victims of violence each and every year.  These children are at greater risk for common and destructive, yet entirely preventable, consequences, including HIV, chronic diseases, crime and drug abuse, as well as serious mental health problems. In 2013, CDC will contribute to the U.S. Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity, recently launched at the White House, by expanding our work with global partners to measure the magnitude and impact of violence against children, and to use those measurements to propel effective and sustainable action.

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