History

NYSACHO Now and Then

About NYSACHO

NYSACHO is the membership association of local health officials in New York State. We represent all 58 local health commissioners and public health directors, and the local health departments they lead. NYSACHO is incorporated as a not-for-profit, non-partisan charitable organization with 501(C) (3) tax exempt status. (click here to view our current 990 tax form or contact the NYSACHO office at 518-456-7905).

NYSACHO Now

Leadership

NYSACHO’s current Executive Director, Sarah Ravenhall, leads a staff of four full-time and three part-time employees. The NYSACHO General Membership meets regularly, providing a unique opportunity for the exchange of ideas and experiences among local public health officials.

The NYSACHO Board is led by the President, President-Elect/Vice-President, and Immediate Past-President. NYSACHO Board members chair NYSACHO’s subject matter committees, leading members’ work on public health policy priorities. Current committees include:

  • Disease Control
  • Environmental Health
  • Finance/Administrative
  • Maternal Child Health
  • Emerging Issues

The Board creates other ad hoc committees and workgroups as needed.

Advocacy

As the operational arm of the public health system, local health departments understand the unique needs of their communities.  They are essential voices in developing policies that are realistic, effective, and appropriate in scale.

NYSACHO serves as the voice for New York’s local health departments. Advocacy efforts include legislative visits, media outreach, strategic partnerships, positon statements/policy papers, and tracking and analysis of legislative and regulatory proposals.  NYSACHO works closely with the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), and other public health stakeholders on a broad array of public health-related legislative issues.

NYSACHO also takes an active role at the national level through 100% membership for New York State counties in the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). NYSACHO works with other SACCHOs (state county health officials associations) in advocating for local health departments needs with federal policymakers.

Services

NYSACHO also offers its members numerous professional development opportunities. Services include technical assistance, toolkits, leadership development summits, conferences, workshops, calls and webinars on a broad range of public health topics, orientation for new health commissioners and public health directors, national accreditation support, and sponsorship of a variety of regional and statewide immunization and emergency preparedness activities.  Many member services are supported through contracts with the New York State Department of Health and other entities. NYSACHO also partners with the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health on a HRSA funded Region 2 Public Health Training Center to address the training and workforce development needs of New York’s local health departments. NYSACHO connects daily with our members through a weekly web digest, social media and our web site.

NYSACHO Then

Organized in 1979, NYSACHO initially functioned as an affiliate of the New York State Association of Counties. NYSACHO supported local health officials through their transition from mangers of direct, clinical care public health related services to their role as chief health strategists. In this role, local health officials lead their departments and communities in addressing population health needs through upstream public health interventions that focus on prevention and the social determinants of health.

NYSACHO advocated for, responded to, and influenced key public health policy changes over the past several decades, including:

  • The transition to Medicaid managed care
  • The development and maintenance strong credentialing requirements for public health professionals, and other efforts to assure a well-trained public health workforce
  • Key tobacco-control laws that reduced smoking rates to historic lows, such as the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act and the Clean Indoor Air Act
  • Mandatory testing of pregnant women for HIV
  • Mandatory rabies vaccination for domesticated dogs, cats and ferrets
  • Taking action to address emerging substance abuse threats such as “bath salts’ synthetic cannabinoids and the opioid epidemic
  • Development of a robust public health emergency preparedness and response system
  • Promotion of changes to the built environment and access to healthy foods to promote good nutrition and physical activity
  • Responses to emerging public health threats over the years, including SARS, West Nile Virus, Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, Ebola, the H1N1 Influenza pandemic, and Zika virus.