• Integrating food and language nutrition to reach Georgia’s children in early care and education environments

      O'Connor, Jean; Ejikeme, Chinwe; Fernandez, Maria; Powell-Threets, Kia; Idaikkadar, Audrey; Kay, Christi; Vall, Emily; Ross, Kimberly; Fitzgerald, Brenda (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Educational attainment and health are mutually reinforcing outcomes. Good health supports children in the achievement of academic milestones, such as grade-level reading, and is associated with higher socio-economic status, longer life expectancy, and lower lifelong chronic disease. Improving health outcomes and increasing the potential for high educational attainment is necessary for reducing disparities, improving population health, and reducing morbidity. Early childhood and associated settings present opportunities to address lifelong health. Methods: To guide the development of programs to reach large numbers of children, we reviewed the literature associated with interventions during early childhood to promote healthy food consumption patterns and language development—“food and language nutrition.” Results: Identified in the systematic review were 12 articles. A recurrent theme was the social-ecological model, widely used in the studies identified through the literature review. Conclusions: The findings suggest a theoretical framework and key considerations that could guide the development of integrated interventions to improve food and language nutrition. With these findings, the authors propose a conceptual model and outline a public health program to address food and language nutrition together in early care settings in the state of Georgia, with the potential for application in other geographic areas.
    • A unified integrated public health approach: Zika response

      Kagey, Betsy; Burkholder, Jennifer; Georgia Department of Health (Georgia Public Health Association, 2017)
      Background: Zika virus planning in Georgia has involved many units within the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH). Their roles and responsibilities include identifying potential vectors, alerting and educating the public on how to ‘tip n toss’, preparing and testing for Zika virus infection at the Georgia Public Health Laboratory (GPHL), monitoring travelers, including pregnant women, infected with Zika virus, direct messaging for pregnant women, mothers of newborns and women who are considering pregnancy, and education on sexual transmission for men and women. Methods: With no locally transmitted case of Zika virus infection within Georgia, the focus has been on public messaging and answering the myriad calls about Zika virus from health care providers and the public. This unified response involves numerous GDPH units: Epidemiology, Maternal and Child Health, GPHL, Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR), Environmental Health, Risk Communication, WIC, and others. Conclusions: The Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response is one member of this multi-unit team. This session will identify the roles and responsibilities of each of these units in the unified response to Zika virus within Georgia both at the state and district level. Lessons learned from this approach build upon GDPH’s overall capacity to provide an integrated respond to public health threats and emergencies within the state.