Press Room

Supporting Governmental Public Health Should be a Congressional Priority Says Dr. Nathaniel Smith at Today’s House Appropriations Hearing

ARLINGTON, VA (April 9, 2019)— Nathaniel Smith, MD, MPH, director and state health officer for the Arkansas Department of Health and president-elect of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), testified today before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to discuss the importance of Congress providing enhanced resources for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Health Resources and Services Administration, and other federal agencies to improve our nation’s health.

“Governmental public health agencies work everywhere, every day to protect and improve the health of the entire U.S. population. Our work is often invisible and sometimes it is only in a crisis when the value and importance of sustained investment in public health becomes apparent. These crises unfortunately happen all too often – the current measles and hepatitis A outbreaks, the obesity and opioid epidemics, and many others, highlight the important work of disease prevention and health protection at the core of public health’s mission,” says Smith. “ASTHO urges Congress to sustain and increase funding for federal public health agencies so that state, local, tribal and territorial health departments can continue and enhance their work to prevent drug overdoses, save lives through chronic disease prevention, prepare for and respond to disasters and public health emergencies, combat infectious disease, and prevent and remediate environmental health hazards.” For more information about the hearing visit the committee’s website. To read Dr. Smith’s full written testimony, visit ASTHO’s website.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.