budget cuts

Tag archives for budget cuts

“In my darker hours when I’m sleeping at night, that’s where I go.” Those are words from Eric Blank, senior director for public health systems at the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), talking about the enormous difficulties that public health labs faced in confronting the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. Now he fears that without emergency federal funds and in the face of new funding cuts, Zika virus will force the nation’s critical public health lab network into that same scenario — or into something even worse.

With near constant news on the threat of Zika virus and a quickly growing evidence base detailing the virus’ devastating impact on fetal brain development, you’d think Congress could get its act together to make sure our public health system is fully prepared and equipped to confront the mosquito-borne disease. Sadly, you’d be wrong.

President Obama released his 2017 federal budget proposal yesterday, recommending funding boosts for a number of public health priorities. And even though his presidency is coming to an end and so this budget is probably dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Congress, it’s worth a peek inside.

For public health workers, it’s no surprise that social, economic and political conditions shape the distribution and burden of disease. They’ve always known that it takes much more than medicine to keep people healthy. Still, when public health scientist Kristina Talbert-Slagle decided to study the impact of social and public health spending on HIV/AIDS, she wasn’t sure what she’d uncover.

It’s not surprising that food insecurity has a negative health and academic impact on young children — numerous studies have come to that conclusion. However, a new study has begun to dig a little deeper into the topic, zeroing in on the lingering aftermath of the Great Recession, when food insecurity and child poverty reached record levels, and examining the particular effects of transitioning from not worrying about having enough food to living in a household with limited or uncertain access to food.

Sociologist Jennifer Laird was researching unemployment among Mexican immigrants when she came upon some interesting numbers on black workers in the public sector and employment effects of the Great Recession. It piqued her interest and so she decided to keep digging.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is no stranger to budget cuts — the agency is already so underfunded that it would take its inspectors nearly a century, on average, to visit every U.S. workplace at least once. In some states, it would take two centuries. Unfortunately, appropriations bills now making their way through Congress don’t bode much better for OSHA.

Even though farmworkers face serious hazards on the job and work in one of the most dangerous industries in the country, most young farmworkers in a recent study rated their work safety climate as “poor.” In fact, more than a third of those surveyed said their managers were only interested in getting the job done as quickly as possible.

“All response is local” is a commonly heard phrase among public health practitioners who serve on the front lines of disease outbreaks, emergencies and disasters. Whether it’s a measles outbreak, a terrorist attack or a hurricane, public health agencies are at the ready to deploy an emergency response infrastructure designed for one overriding purpose: to protect their communities against preventable disease and injury.

Do food assistance programs deliver more than food and nutrition? Can relieving the stress of food insecurity provide positive psychological benefits as well? A new study says yes it can.