Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Annual Conference Begins June 6 in Portland, OR

Jun 05, 2010, 00:28 ET from Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists

PORTLAND, Ore., June 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) 2010 Annual Conference will be held June 6-10 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon.  An array of experts representing federal, state, and local health departments will discuss issues ranging from last year's flu pandemic, obesity, food safety, health care reform, information technology, and the global response to disasters such as the Haiti earthquake.  In addition, there will be a special session where White House experts will discuss the impact of climate change on public health.

The 2010 conference theme is: Hindsight is 2020: Looking Back at the Last Decade, Looking Ahead to the Next.

"This decade has brought new public health challenges. Climate change will have many effects on our health. We will likely see new diseases and the rise of more chronic diseases. Epidemiologists will work with the rest of public health to address these challenges and find solutions to them," said Mel Kohn, MD., MPH, President of CSTE and Director of the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Several conference sessions will be devoted to pandemic H1N1, including a workshop aimed at improving flu surveillance, a discussion about strategies to immunize healthcare workers against the flu, and predictions for the coming flu seasons from scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and states who are leading the H1N1 outbreak response.

The 2010 conference will also include numerous other presentations of recent research into important issues around infectious disease, chronic disease, environmental and occupational health. Among these are studies that examine risks such as healthcare associated infections, pollution, and disaster epidemiology.

"Over the past year our attention was focused on pandemic flu.  But we have so many other important public health issues that deserve similar attention and energy.  With health care reform in place, it's time to set ambitious goals for state and local epidemiologists for the next decade." CSTE President-elect Stephen Ostroff, M.D. said.  "With around 70% of deaths from all causes each year being due to preventable causes, there are many opportunities to reduce the burden of illness and injury."

The CSTE conference offers members an opportunity to share their research, broaden their knowledge, and — together — improve the science and practice of applied epidemiology to enhance people's health.

"CSTE as an organization and our individual members are committed to rigorous research, data exchange and evidence-based public health practices that reduce the burden of familiar health threats and emerging diseases alike," Dr. Kohn said.

Highlights of the 2010 CSTE conference include:

Climate Change Adaptation: The Public Health Response, scheduled for Sunday June 6, will feature speakers who will discuss the public health response to climate change. Speakers will focus on working towards a national climate change strategy and the role of public health in that strategy and include Nancy Sutley, the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality,

The Past as Prelude: Federal and State Perspectives on Public Health, moderated by Katrina Hedberg, Oregon Public Health, and Perry Smith, of the New York State Department of Health. This session is scheduled for Monday June 7, the first full day of the conference, and will feature speakers including Judith Monroe, Director of the Office of State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bruce Goldberg, the Director of the Oregon Department of Human Services, and Joshua Sharfstein, the Principal Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Other conference sessions will highlight research into improving influenza surveillance, health disparities, unintentional injury, and foodborne disease, among others.

CSTE is an organization of Member States and Territories and represents the perspective of epidemiologists working in state and local governments in matters related to the practice of public health.  It is also a professional association of over 1,150 public health epidemiologists working in federal, state, local, and tribal health agencies, and U.S. territories. CSTE works to establish more effective working relationships among state and federal agencies and with other public health agencies. It also provides technical advice and assistance to partner organizations, such as the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and to federal public health agencies such as CDC.

SOURCE Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists