Welcome to the WALHDAB webpage! 

The Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards (WALHDAB) is the statewide organization of board of health members and health department administrators providing a unified forum for public health leadership development, advocacy, education, and forging of community partnerships for the improvement of public health at a local level.

       

Upcoming Events


Save the Date!

WPHA-WALHDAB 2015 Annual Conference

May 19-21, 2015

Kalahari Resort

Wisconsin Dells, WI

 

 

   

*QUICK LINKS*

Community Health Improvement in Action

WALHDAB 2014-2016 Strategic Plan

2013-2014 WPHA-WALHDAB Legislative Grid

Assembly and Senate Directories (2013-2014)

County Health Rankings

Employment Opportunities

Community Health Educator - Juneau County Health Department - Posted 1/23/2015

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Public Health Specialist - Clark County Health Department - Posted 1/23/2015

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Public Health Nurse - Dodge County Health and Human Services - Posted 1/22/2015

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Public Health Supervisor - Waukesha County Health Department - Posted 1/22/2015

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Environmental Health Manager - Sauk County Health Department - Posted 1/21/2015

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Public Health Nurse - Eau Claire City-County Health Department - Posted 1/14/2015

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Health Director - Brown County Health Department - Posted 12/26/2014

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Public Health Nurse - Barron County Health Department - Posted 12/19/2014

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Public Health Nurse - Manitowoc County Health Department - Posted 12/17/2014

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Public Health Nurse - Adams County Health Department - Posted 12/12/2014

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Laboratory Chemist/Microbiologist I - Eau Claire City-County Health Department - Posted 12/12/2014

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Southeastern Regional Office Director - Department of Health Services - Posted 12/05/2014

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Registered Sanitarian II - City of Racine Health Department - Posted 12/05/2014

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Environmental Health Manager - Sauk County - Posted 12/01/2014

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New Year, New Website! Announcing the launch of Resources for Improving Community Health

December 31, 2014

WALHDAB rings in the New Year with the launch of a new website, featuring community health improvement tools, resources, and educational events. Resources for Improving Community Health (www.wicommunityhealth.org) showcases the work of two WALHDAB projects:  Community Health Improvement in Action (CHIA, 2014-2017) and the Wisconsin CHIPP Infrastructure Improvement Project (2011-2014).  Funding for both projects was provided by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health from the Wisconsin Partnership Program.

Final improvements are being made on Wisconsin-specific tools created by the CHIPP Infrastructure Improvement Project.  A few of the updated tools are posted, and new tools are being added as they are finalized; an announcement will be sent once all the tools are available online. 

In addition to offering tools and resource links, Resources for Improving Community Health will also serve as the touch point for CHIA Community of Practice activities, which will include expert-facilitated training, statewide summits, webinars, and an online forum/discussion board.  Most CHIA educational activities are open to all Wisconsin communities.  Stay tuned for details, or visit the Education and Events page on the new site in mid-January to join the conversation.  

CHIA Community of Practice participants are invited to use the new website and CHIA educational events to deepen their expertise in implementing and evaluating community health improvement initiatives.  New CHIA resources related to the implementation and evaluation of systems, policy, and environmental change will be added to the website as these tools are developed. 

We invite you to explore the new site!  Please send us your feedback so we can improve your experience. 

Proposed Changes to DATCP and DHS Inspection Programs

December 31, 2014

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) have worked this year to identify “potential improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of Wisconsin’s food safety and recreational license regulatory program.”  WALHDAB representatives were invited to participate in a number of meetings.  As a result of the DATCP and DHS work, a recommendation is being made to consolidate DHS's Food Safety and Recreational Licensing functions within DATCP's Bureau of Food Safety.  The consolidation was recommended for the following reasons:  increased efficiencies and inspection coverage; single point of contact for industry; and increased efficiencies in the local health agent program.

WALHDAB would like to provide additional feedback regarding the specifics of the proposed changes.  For instance: Are there any unintended consequences of the change that should be addressed prior to implementation?  How will food borne outbreaks be handled?  What processes will be put in place to assure health department/DHS notification of an outbreak?

If you have any immediate comments, please contact Cindy Bodendein, Sauk County LHO (
cbodendein@co.sauk.wi.us) or Sarah Beversdorf, WALHDAB Executive Director (sarah@badgerbay.co).  Additionally, WALHDAB is proposing that a small workgroup of LHOs and EH Specialists review the proposed changes and proactively address any potential concerns.  Please let Cindy or Sarah know if you are interested in potentially participating on that workgroup should it move ahead.

State's Workplace Wellness Grant Program

December 31, 2014

Back in March 2014, Gov. Scott Walker signed the Healthy Jobs Act into law after it was approved unanimously by the State Legislature. The new law, which was the top legislative priority in the 2013-14 legislative session for WALHDAB and its advocacy partner, the Wisconsin Public Health Association (WPHA), created a $15 million workplace wellness grant program for Wisconsin small businesses.

The grant program is designed to encourage small employers to invest in employee wellness initiatives, which have been shown to help businesses manage health care costs, boost worker productivity and reduce absenteeism. Employers that focus on wellness are also likely to experience fewer workplace injuries and better employee morale.

Under the new law, businesses with 50 or fewer employees that implement a wellness program would be eligible for a grant equal to 30% of the cost of implementing the program. The grant program will be administered by the state Department of Health Services (DHS) and will provide $3 million per year for five years for eligible small businesses.

However, before businesses can take advantage of the grant funding, DHS must establish agency procedures, known as administrative rules, to manage the program. The administrative rulemaking process is subject to oversight by the Governor and the Legislature and typically takes 18 months to 2 years to complete.

The Department released the proposed rules for comment in December.  The proposed rules reflect months of research and analysis as well as input gathered from a stakeholder advisory committee. The advisory committee was comprised of public health organizations, including WALHDAB and WPHA, small business groups and health and wellness experts.

The committee worked extremely well with DHS staff and stressed the importance of: 1.) A simple and quick application and approval process – in an effort not to discourage businesses from applying; 2.) A clearly defined grading method to weed out potential fraud and ineligible businesses; and 3.) Broadly defining small business to ensure as many employers as possible are eligible for the grant.

In addition, the advisory committee urged DHS to collect as much data as allowed under the law from businesses applying for the grant – including number of employees, the cost of the wellness program and the types of wellness services offered to employees. The Department will also ask businesses to volunteer additional information about their wellness programs to help measure the success of the grant program over the long term.

WALHDAB and WPHA provided positive comments on the proposed rules.  DHS will likely send the rules to the Legislature for approval in January. Legislative approval entails a review by several key committees, but does not require a vote by the full Legislature. The goal is to have the rules approved by lawmakers and in place before June 30 – the end of the state's fiscal year – so small businesses can take full advantage of the five-year program.

As the administrative rules process continues to unfold, WPHA will keep members updated on the grant program's official start date. Once the grant funding is available, small employers across the state will have access to the necessary resources to invest in wellness programs and ultimately improve the health of their employees.

Obesity Prevention Initiative Launches

December 19, 2014

The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health has committed more than $8.6 million to address the state’s obesity epidemic. The Wisconsin Obesity Prevention Initiative includes a five-year $7.5 million grant from the Partnership Education and Research Committee (PERC) and a $1.1 million grant from the Oversight and Advisory Committee (OAC). 

Alexandra Adams, MD, PhD, professor of family medicine, is the principal investigator for the PERC grant, which will provide the infrastructure for alignment of activities and partnerships among communities, researchers and advocates across the state. Grant funding also will be used to develop a childhood obesity surveillance system and create statewide messaging that helps residents understand how daily decisions affect their health.

Brian Christens, PhD, associate professor of human ecology at UW-Madison, is the principal investigator for the OAC grant, which will be used to test and implement a community-based model for childhood obesity prevention, initially in Marathon and Menominee counties. Read more.

Top 10 Signs We're Building a Culture of Health

December 18, Robert Wood Johnson Advances

Here’s the problem with a Top 10 list: whittling it down to 10.

As we looked back on 2014 and considered all the ways in which we Americans made progress toward building a Culture of Health, the list kept growing. We needed to do a bit of trimming.

Part of building a Culture of Health, as we’ve said from the beginning, is “finding the places where the seeds of a Culture of Health are being planted.” So that’s what we looked for. The trouble, happily, is that there were a lot of "places."

Tobacco-free college campuses, for example. Towns and cities like RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner Brownsville, Texas, where bike sharing is taking off, or Berkeley, Calif., home of the first tax on soda in the nation. Big companies like CVS Health, which in September stopped selling tobacco products.

There was a lot to be happy about on a national level, too. There was a notable drop in obesity prevalence among toddlers, for example. And let’s not forget a significant reduction in the rate of the uninsured.

None of this means that we're where we want to be, of course, but let's call it a start.

We invite you to check out the entire Top 10—and do take a moment or two to tell us what you think we left out.

Take in The Top 10 >      

Wisconsin Making Progress on Health, but Disparities Persist

December 17, Wisconsin Health News

While Wisconsin is making overall progress on cutting smoking, excessive drinking, teen births and the rate of premature death, significant differences in health between geographic regions, racial and ethnic groups and educational level continue.

For instance, smoking rates are remaining steady for African-Americans, and Wisconsin adults with a high school diploma are more than twice as likely to smoke as those with a college degree, according to a report on Wisconsin health trends released Tuesday by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

"We think of Wisconsin as a healthy place to live, work and raise a family, but these opportunities are not shared by all in our state," Karen Timberlake, UW Population Health Institute director, said in a statement. "We have a lot of work to do to ensure that everyone in Wisconsin has a chance to make healthy choices and lead a long and healthy life."

The report presents a way to assess whether Wisconsin is improving health throughout life and achieving health equity, two goals of the Wisconsin State Health Plan: Healthiest Wisconsin 2020. It used data from a variety of sources, with most data coming from 2012.

Read more.

Wisconsin Council on Immunization Practices

December 12, 2014

 

The Wisconsin Council on Immunization Practices recently met on December 12, 2014. Find the notes from their meeting here, or watch for it in the next WALHDAB e-news.

WALHDAB Reissue of CHIA RFA

November 26, 2014

The opportunity for communities to apply to join the Community Health Improvement in Action (CHIA) Community of Practice as funded partners has been extended to December 22, 2014.  Please visit the CHIA webpage to download the reissued RFA and application. 

 

Not just an alcohol project

CHIA aims to build skills in implementing and evaluating community health improvement initiatives.  These skills will be applied to the focus area of unhealthy and risky alcohol use, but will be applicable to other health focus areas as well. 

No complicated budgets

Instead of submitting a budget, Funded-Partner Communities will be reimbursed for completion of deliverables (e.g. attend a webinar, complete a quick 3- 5 question survey, and receive $50). 

You don’t have to do it all

The lead applicant applies on behalf of the entire coalition or community.  Community partners are encouraged to help the lead applicant complete the deliverables.  The lead applicant agency need not complete all the required deliverables alone. 

Any non-profit or governmental partner can apply

Non-profits and governmental entities are all eligible to be the applicant agency on behalf of their coalition or community.  The lead applicant could be a local health department, a human services department, a hospital, an AODA coalition, a school district, United Way, UW-Extension, or another community partner working to improve health.


Expert-facilitated learning

National and statewide experts will help your community move forward in creating lasting systems, policy, and environmental change. 

Join the CHIA Community of Practice as a funded partner-- apply today!


WCN Releases Report on State Nursing Workforce

November 12, 2014

Wisconsin Center for Nursing, Inc (WCN) has released an important new report from the results of a recent inventory survey.

Implementation of the IOM Future of Nursing Report: A Wisconsin Profile was accomplished with the work of many dedicated individuals within the Wisconsin Action Coalition. Many thanks go to members of the Advisory Council for guidance in developing the survey, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative for their assistance in creating the survey link & compiling results, and members of the WCN Board of Directors who analyzed the findings & developed this significant report.

We can all be very proud of the work that is being done in Wisconsin. This report clearly identifies the movement to implement the IOM Report is alive and well in our state!  Please help us share this report by distributing widely in your schools and organizations. Thank you for your dedication to this effort!

Full report available here.

New Resources to Combat Ebola

October 16, 2014

Ebola disease - also called Ebola fever or Ebola hemorrhagic fever - is a rare and often fatal illness that humans and nonhuman primates can contract. There have been several outbreaks of the disease in Africa, but most recently the United States has seen cases of the disease and could spread fast if prevention and the correct protocol does not take place to control it.

National partners have come up with these resources to combat ebola:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

National Association of County and City Health Officials

American Public Health Association

WHA, UW Population Health Institute Release Reports on Community Benefits

Wisconsin Health News, October 8, 2014

Wisconsin hospitals provided $328 million in at-cost charity care in 2013 and lost nearly $1 billion caring for patients on Medicaid, according to a report released by the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Meanwhile the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute launched a website detailing community health needs assessments and implementation plans of hospitals and health departments across the state. Hospitals are required under the federal health reform law to complete a formal community health needs assessment in partnership with public health and other community partners.

"This new resource is designed to help those working on common challenges across the state to connect with each other, share ideas and make faster progress," Karen Timberlake, director of the UW Population Health Institute, said in a statement.

Hospitals in the state provided a total of $1.8 billion in community benefits last year, WHA said. In addition to the charity care and loss associated with caring for patients in Medicaid, hospitals spent $70 million on activities aimed at improving community health and $193 million on education for healthcare professionals, according to the report.

"Without that care in place, state and local government would have a much greater burden in trying to deliver these essential services to a vulnerable population," WHA Executive Vice President Eric Borgerding said in a statement.

In terms of dollars, hospitals provided a similar amount of charity care in 2013 as they did in 2012, but reported 200,000 more instances of care - 1.4 million, up from 1.2 million in 2012. WHA Senior Vice President Brian Potter said that may reflect the fact that more services are provided in less costly outpatient settings. Hospitals reported $267 million in bad debt in 2013, up $6 million from 2012. Part of that increase can be attributed to increases in deductibles and co-pays.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association published a separate report in September that found that the state's general medical-surgical hospitals provided $703.7 million in charity care and incurred $719.6 million in bad debt in fiscal year 2013.  Measured as a percentage of total gross patient revenue, total uncompensated healthcare at the general medical-surgical hospitals remained the same last year as in 2012 at 3.6 percent.

That report, required by the state, is based on hospital charges, while the WHA report released Wednesday uses hospital costs.

Read the WHA Community Benefits report.

See the UW Population Health Institute website.

Read the uncompensated care report.

State to get $1.7 million in Federal Grants to fight Chronic Disease

Wisconsin Health News, September 29, 2014

Wisconsin will receive $1.7 million in grant awards from Health and Human Services to support programs aimed at preventing chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes, according to an HHS statement Thursday.

A total of three awards will be available, which are funded by the federal health reform law and administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goals of the grant funding are to reduce death rates and disability because of tobacco use, diabetes, heart disease and stroke as well as reduce obesity prevalence.

Online Tool Helps Communities Assess, Attack Local Health Issues

October 8, 2014

WPHA and the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards (WALHDAB) are pleased to announce a new website from the UW Population Health Institute.  The website – www.improvingwihealth.org – is a central location to find out what communities across Wisconsin are doing to improve health locally.  The concept of the site was presented at the May WPHA-WALHDAB Annual Conference.  For more information, please see the UW Population Health Institute’s announcement of the site, along with WPHA-WALHDAB's response

RFA Now Available: Community Health Improvement in Action invites WI Communities to join its Community of Practice as funded-partners

September 22, 2014

The new project Community Health in Action (CHIA) will build a Community of Practice to discuss common problems, share best practices, and collaboratively create solutions related to the implementation and evaluation of community health improvement strategies with an emphasis on approaches that address unhealthy and risky alcohol use in Wisconsin communities. Learn more.

Wisconsin Council on Immunization Practices

September 18, 2014

The Wisconsin Council on Immunization Practices recently met on September 12, 2014. Find the notes from their meeting here, or watch for it in the next WALHDAB e-news.

Wisconsin Council on Immunization Practices

June 19, 2014

 

The Wisconsin Council on Immunization Practices recently met on June 13, 2014. Find the notes from their meeting here, or watch for it in the next WALHDAB e-news.

 


Want to know the latest and greatest?  Join the Population Health Service Fellows’ blog!

 April 29, 2014

The Wisconsin Population Health Service Fellowship Blog is a venue used by Fellows to interact with each other and the public about a variety of new and cutting edge public health, equity, and social justice topics.  The blog provides posts from Fellows on subjects such as national voluntary accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the physical environment as a social determinant of health, reflections on conferences and annual meetings, sexual assault prevention, health equity, health literacy, reflections on Native American Heritage month from the Menominee Reservation, and Transgender 101.  The blog also highlights current and former Fellows as it shares the work accomplished over the course of the program as well as alumni updates.  Additionally, former and current preceptors and program staff are highlighted. Read more

 


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                                 Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards 

                                       563 Carter Court, Suite B    *     Kimberly, WI  54136

                                        P: 920.560.5635      *      F:  920.882.3655     *     WALHDAB@badgerbay.co