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CPHA E-Newsletter - Summer 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Melissa Touma
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CPHA E-Newsletter

Summer 2017



One of CPHA’s themes for this year is membership involvement.  CPHA is only as strong as our membership and at the beginning of the year, we encouraged you to get involved in any way that you could.  It has been an active Spring, and we are happy you were a part of it.

In March, we sponsored a legislative breakfast, along with the Connecticut Association of Directors of Health and the Connecticut Association of Boards of Health, at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.  Victoria Veltri, from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, gave a great talk about how changes to the ACA will impact healthcare in CT, and with about 10 legislators in attendance, this was unequivocally a successful event for getting our message out. 

In April, several events were held during National Public Health Week.  The headliner was CPHA’s annual Awards Breakfast, which was hosted by Goodwin College.  We were able to honor an amazing slate of award winners.  These individuals have given, and continue to give, so much to CT’s public health community that a single day is hardly enough recognition.  I encourage everyone to read about the awards and the award winners on the CPHA website. 

Check out our Facebook page for pictures of the legislative breakfast and the Awards event.

Also during National Public Health Week, the Community Health Workers Association of Connecticut, CPHA’s newest section, celebrated Community Health Worker Day, and community health workers and partners from around the state celebrated, learned, networked, and even got some exercise in.  Additionally, CPHA’s Mentoring Committee organized several forums where public health practitioners talked to high school students about the role of public health and how public health careers start.  It was a pleasure to participate.

CPHA’s Advocacy Committee was also active throughout this year’s legislative session, submitting testimony on several bills and supporting efforts to protect the ACA at home and in DC.  We hope you joined their advocacy efforts by reaching out to your senators and representatives.  It is your voice that matters.  It is your voice that counts.

Finally, while people break for their much deserved summer vacations, CPHA will be hard at work planning our biggest event of the year: the 2017 CPHA Annual Meeting and Conference.  Entitled “From Patient to Population Health - Disparities Matter,” this year’s conference will be held on Monday, October 30th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.  Save the Date Now!  We hope to break last year’s record setting attendance!  Registration will open in August.

Happy Summer everyone! And remember, get involved, stay involved.



The drive for more CPHA members continues throughout the summer.  If you have not done so already, ask a friend or colleague to join CPHA.  For our “Refer a Friend” campaign, if the new member lists you as their referral source at the time of registration, both you and the new member will receive a CPHA member pin.  Membership matters.  Our strong membership numbers give us a voice in the debate on any public health issue.  CPHA is also the home for public health professionals in Connecticut, a place to network and a place to continue learning.


The Health Education Committee (HEC) has held two successful webinars this year. In April, attendees heard from local public health professionals about the opioid epidemic in Connecticut, the role of public health professionals in addressing the opioid crisis, and local initiatives from health departments in Farmington Valley and Stratford. Slides from this presentation are available on the HEC page of the CPHA website. In June, CT experts provided attendees with an overview of tick-borne and mosquito-borne diseases in preparation for the summer season. The June webcast is archived on (Course #1071180). Future webinars are scheduled for September 13 and December 6, from 9 am to 11 am (topics TBD).

In addition, the HEC is excited to announce its new partnership with the New England Public Health Training Center, who will provide us with support, exposure, and access to the CT TRAIN platform for hosting and archiving the HEC quarterly webinars!

CPHA’s HEC always welcomes new members. For more information, please email the CPHA Health Education Committee at


The legislative Session wrapped up on June 7th this year though the state budget is still under negotiation. The Advocacy Committee provided testimony for and against several bills this session. We appreciate everyone that assisted in developing testimony, provided information on bill progress, and contacted their state representatives in support of or against a bill. Below is a breakdown of the bills we were tracking most closely.  All submitted testimony has been posted on the CPHA website.


The following bills were signed into law or are awaiting the Governor’s signature:

HB 6695 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROTECTION OF YOUTH FROM CONVERSION THERAPY - This bill will protect youth from conversion therapy by defining conversion therapy as unprofessional conduct subject to disciplinary action, by making it unlawful for any person to engage in trade or commerce to provide conversion therapy, and to prevent the use of public funds from being used on any activity related to conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is a dangerous attack on the LGBTQ community, and youth are especially susceptible. CPHA viewed this bill as critical to protecting children’s health and will continue to monitor its progress. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on May 10th.

SB 126 - AN ACT CONCERNING COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS – The amended bill provides a definition of Community Health Workers and requires that the Director of Healthcare Innovation work with DPH to: determine the financial implications of a CHW Certification Program; develop recommendations on certification requirements, methods for administering a certification program, and requirements to recognize training programs; and provide final recommendations to the General Assembly by October 2018. CPHA sees CHWs as critical to the healthcare workforce in the state, and has adopted the CHW Association of CT as an official section. Both CPHA and CHWACT submitted testimony in support of this bill. CHWs provide critical prevention services to communities across the state. While they are often utilized in underserved populations, CHWs improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare delivery costs for many populations. Although the profession has existed for a very long time, there is no sustainable financing mechanism in the current healthcare system. CPHA believes that defining CHWs scope of practice and providing standardized credentialing and certification will lead to more sustainable funding opportunities for this critical workforce.  CPHA’s testimony reflected the need to establish such a Certification program. This bill was passed by both the House and the Senate.


The following bills gained traction during session but were not ultimately passed:

SB 586: AN ACT EXPANDING MANDATED HEALTH BENEFITS FOR WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND ADOLESCENTS- This bill would protect health benefits gained through the Affordable Care Act at the state level, in the event that the ACA or particular provisions are repealed at the federal level. This bill was passed by the Senate and passed temporarily by the House, giving the legislature the ability to take action in special session if provisions are repealed federally.

HB 5210- AN ACT CONCERNING VARIOUS PAY FAIRNESS AND EQUITY MATTERS- This bill would strengthen the pay fairness and equity statute by prohibiting employers to ask about salary history prior to an offer of employment and salary negotiation. It would further prohibit employers from using past salary history as a defense against unfair compensation based on sex. CPHA submitted testimony in favor of this bill as studies have continuously shown that equitable pay is key to improving health outcomes for women and families. This bill made it out of Committee and to the House Calendar.

HB 5384AN ACT RAISING THE LEGAL AGE FOR PURCHASE AND USE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS – This bill would raise the legal age for purchase and use of tobacco products to 21. This bill was in accordance with the American Lung Association’s Tobacco 21 initiative. The American Lung Association grades states on their tobacco cessation and control efforts across five categories, of which CT currently has a B, C, D and two Fs. This legislation would improve our overall standing, with studies showing that raising the age to 21 will significantly decrease the number of individuals who become regular smokers. CPHA has long supported efforts to reduce tobacco use, especially among youth, and will continue to do so during next year’s session. This bill made it to the House Calendar.

SB 35 - AN ACT CONCERNING BEVERAGES WITH ADDED SUGARS, SWEETENERS AND ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS, AND OBESITY. –This bill was originally intended to change consumer behavior regarding the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. In the updated form, the bill would require DPH to post information on its website directing the public to information on SSBs and obesity through the CDC. While CPHA was disappointed that the bill did not contain stronger language, we hope that this bill will lead to stronger recommendations regarding sugar-sweetened beverages in future years. CPHA submitted testimony in favor of a tax on sugar sweetened beverages, referencing the very successful tax passed in Berkeley, California which reduced SSB consumption by 21% and increased water consumption by 63%. Numerous other cities have now passed similar legislation. CPHA will advocate strongly in the next session for bills that move further, as the consumption of added sugar contributes to numerous chronic conditions currently plaguing our communities. The bill was passed by the Senate but did not make it off of the House calendar.


The following bills did not make it out of Committee:

HB 6200 - AN ACT CONCERNING THE PRESENTATION OF A PERMIT TO CARRY A PISTOL OR REVOLVER – This bill would require individuals who openly carry a pistol or revolver to produce their permit upon request of a law enforcement officer if the firearm is visible to such officer. CPHA has also long supported prevention efforts to reduce gun violence, which is currently considered a public health epidemic. We have also continued to share with our members news of federal attempts to weaken state gun laws and will continue to stay vigilant of potential threats. Connecticut is a leader in the country on common sense gun laws, and CPHA is committed to maintaining that status.

HB 7170 – AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH'S RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE INTEGRATION OF MUNICIPAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS INTO REGIONAL HEALTH DISTRICTS. – This bill would regionalize local health departments as of July 1, 2020. CPHA opposed the bill, as detailed in testimony which was submitted. Though CPHA is not against regionalization, we could not support the bill as it had not thoroughly considered the repercussions, nor had it outlined a plan for mitigating those repercussions. More of our specific concerns are detailed in the testimony that was submitted to the Public Health Committee.


Two additional bills of interest include:

HB 5314: AN ACT CONCERNING THE REGULATION AND TAXATION OF THE RETAIL SALE AND CULTIVATION OF MARIJUANA FOR USE BY PERSONS TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER.- While CPHA takes no strong position on this bill, should this bill be written into statute, CPHA urges revenue generated to be used for the purpose of public health prevention efforts, specifically to fund research into marijuana misuse and abuse. Further, CPHA urges that the statute include APHA’s recommendations on this issue which include standards for determining impaired operation of motor vehicles, standards for the quality and potency of commercially available marijuana, and overall to establish commercial legalization as a public health approach to reduce and prevent the drug’s misuse and abuse.

SB 795: AN ACT ESTABLISHING THE OFFICE OF HEALTH STRATEGY AND IMPROVING THE CERTIFICATE OF NEED PROGRAM- This bill would centralize several of the state’s health reform efforts and modernize the Certificate of Need program. The issues included in this bill will be addressed through the State Budget process.

To get involved with Advocacy Committee, please contact Jenna Lupi,


Courses for UCONN’S New CERTIFICATE IN ADDICTION SCIENCE – Available Fall 2017

The health and social burden attributable to the misuse of psychoactive substances is enormous.  The scientific study of addiction to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs is one of the most promising ways to address the public health challenge of addiction. Addiction studies is devoted to the understanding, management and prevention of alcoholism, opiate addiction, nicotine dependence, pathological gambling and multiple substance use.  The Certificate in Addiction Science (CAS) is designed to engage prospective addiction scientists, knowledge translators and research collaborators in the practical business of investigating substance use disorders and applying that knowledge to clinical practice and health policy.

CAS is a four-course (12 credit) certificate within the Graduate Program in Public Health at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. It is supported by a grant from the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (Grant #R25 AA024435). The courses are designed to promote an understanding of basic, clinical, epidemiological and policy research on alcohol and other substances. The CAS is intended for a wide array of health professionals, including individuals currently practicing in their professions and those in training for research, program management and clinical careers.

Program highlights include:

· A graduate certificate with global reach and local relevance.

· Courses conducted with the help of leading addiction researchers from around the world.

· Innovative, fully online course designs that engage and immerse each student in the material.

· A focus on the conduct, interpretation and translation of addiction science into policy and practice.

Visit for more information.




Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Department of Health – City of New Haven

Public Health Nurse, Department of Health, City of New Haven

Assistant Water Superintendent, City of Waterbury

Environmental Resources and Water Quality Manager, City of Waterbury

Public Health Nurse - Part Time, Greenwich, CT

School Based Health Center Program Director, Fair Haven Community Health Center

Program Manager - Office for Community Child Health, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

Healthcare Analyst, Connecticut Hospital Association - Wallingford, CT



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