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January 2019 Monthly Newsletter

Message from the President - Molly Crawford

The vital records health statistics (VRHS) workforce is our most precious resource. NAPHSIS recognizes this and that’s why one of the five Strategic Focus Areas for 2020-2024 is Professional Development. NAPHSIS is committed to promoting and enhancing our workforce. NAPHSIS supports our profession and recognizes that the VRHS workforce mirrors our aging population—that many jurisdictions are or will experience an exodus with long-time career retirements, changes in leadership, and competition to attract new talent.


NAPHSIS is directing resources to provide a wide array of professional development & networking opportunities for us and our partners; investing in continuing education & and exploring certifications; creating opportunities to develop member leaders and support succession planning; give us tools and resources so that we are equipped and ready to proactively address emerging issues & trends; and promote the VRHS field with partners to elevate the status of vital records functions locally & nationally.


Back home in our jurisdictions and agencies it’s our job to do the same. We all agree that VRHS belongs in the health department, but we’re different from other public programs. Because most everyone has requested and has a birth certificate, they think they know what we do. People who make laws and approve funding for our work often believe they know our business—it’s just footprints and ink after all, right? Like NAPHSIS, we need to take action and put effort into promoting VRHS. To assure resources and hire the best talent, we must educate others about the complex systems involved in our work, our front-line role in protecting identities, explain why security and fraud prevention matters, and illustrate our critical role in assuring that the vital data continues to flow and inform public health. Start now. Send staff to the upcoming Vital Records and Their Administration Course. Encourage your field services team to participate in the new special interest group—the first meeting is January 28. Expand NAPHSIS membership beyond professionals in your office—encourage communities of practice and watch for more opportunities and events from NAPHSIS to help you on this journey.


Executive Director Report - Shawna Webster

We’re also hard at work on the Model Law Revision. All four of our workgroups will be meeting in-person in March to incorporate and discuss proposed changes to the draft. Many thanks to our leadership for shepherding us through this important process: Lou Saadi, Molly Crawford, Gretchen Van Wye, Darin Meschke, Guy Beaudoin, and Sue Bordeaux.


Last week ASTHO held a roundtable to discuss policy priorities for Public Health Data Sharing and Modernization. I along with our Data: Elemental to Public Health Campaign Partners from APHL, CSTE, and HIMSS, met with more than 30 representatives of the ASTHO Board, staff and a host of other Federal partners and organizations. Now that the $50 Million has been appropriated to CDC for Public Health Data Modernization, CDC must move quickly to allocate the funds. We, at NAPHSIS, are working diligently to ensure that Vitals is a top priority.


What we know right now is that most of the funds will go directly to jurisdictions. Which funding mechanisms will be utilized (eg ELC or PHEP) or newly created in this process remains to be seen. In any case, when the funding opportunities are announced, it is likely that they will have a VERY tight turnaround. I urge you to start thinking about project proposals NOW! They should focus on systems modernization, interoperability, real-time data delivery for surveillance needs and the workforce to support these efforts. NAPHSIS will keep you updated as things progress at the national level.


It will be enormously important for our community to show significant results in this first year of funding. NAPHSIS has, once again, pledged its support for the 2nd year of the Data: Elemental to Public Health Campaign to ensure that this $50 Million isn’t a ‘one-time’ deal. We’ll all need to work together to ensure that the results of this funding have positive and long-term impacts on the nation’s Public Health Surveillance Systems. Stay tuned!


Upcoming Webinars and Events


March 2-4

Salt Lake City, UT

Vital Records and Their Administration: Operations and Legal Aspects of Vital Records


Application deadline: February 7


For more information and to apply – click here

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February 12 @ 2 pm Eastern

VSCP Project Directors Webinar

Multi-jurisdiction delayed birth registration project


Register HERE.

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February 26 @ 3pm Eastern

VRHS Accreditation Webinar Series - Topic 2: Security


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March 18 @ 3pm Eastern

Fetal Death Webinar Series: Differentiating fetal deaths from infant deaths and ITOP

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June 1-3

NAPHSIS Annual Meeting

Omaha, NE

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Nov 30 – Dec 2

NAPHSIS Identity & Security Conference

Washington, DC

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2020 Innovations Call for Abstracts! We invite you to submit your abstract for the 2020 NAPHSIS Annual Meeting focusing on innovation in one of the following vital records and health statistics areas: Operations, Legal or Statistics. Please click here for the Call for Abstracts submission form. Innovations presentations represent an opportunity to share your successes and lessons learned with your vital records and health statistics colleagues. Please submit an abstract for either an oral presentation or a poster session. Note that the abstracts submission deadline is February 20, 2020.

Please email your questions to Shae Sutton. We look forward to receiving your submissions!


New Resources Available The Utah Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (UEPHTN), along with their partners, created the Reproductive Health Outcomes and Environmental Health in Utah educational booklet to increase education and awareness for better reproductive health outcomes. This was prompted, in part, by Utah’s high birth rate (16.6 births per 1,000 population compared with the national average of 12.2 births per 1,000 population) along with a birth defect rate of 1 in 50 births. The goal of the UEPHTN was to create a comprehensive, easy to understand resource for women in Utah who are of childbearing age. The Reproductive Health Booklet contains information and data on managing chronic conditions, reducing risks associated with birth defects, environmental exposures, and more.


The booklet is available online. _____________________________________________________________________________________

In December, a press release that indicated that TechCrunch, in conjunction with a company known as Fidus Internet Security, had discovered a little over 750,000 applications for birth certificates in a completely unprotected bucket on the Amazon Web Services cloud. The initial press releases did not name the company who owned the bucket. The name of the company has now been released. Please read the article more information.


Ongoing Projects


The Address Data for Geocoding project is a follow-up to USALEEP (United States Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project). In this project NAPHSIS is assisting NCHS with the newest VSCP Special Project - Address Data for Geocoding, which consists of jurisdictions transmitting to NCHS data files that contain residence address data from 2018 and 2019 deaths. Almost half of jurisdictions have already sent or begun the process to send 2018 data to NCHS. We encourage all jurisdictions to participate in this VSCP Special Project.


The geocoded data will form the first two years of the five years (2018-2022) needed to calculate the next iteration of small area (specifically census tract) life expectancy estimates across the entire United States. Besides updating the census tract life expectancy estimates, the address data provided will be used by NCHS to evaluate the potential for improving the existing geographic data (city, county, state) that are currently collected as part of the VSCP. And finally, the potential for creating other small area mortality indicators will be studied.


For more information, contact George Tolson at NCHS.


Special Interest Groups

NAPHSIS is hosting special interest groups for jurisdictional members to share and learn from one another on the topics below. Please contact Caprice Edwards, to join any of these groups or learn more about them.

- STEVE User Group for Best Practices

- Next Generation Systems

- Data Quality Assurance


NAPHSIS Membership Dues

Many thanks to those jurisdictions that have already submitted their 2020 dues! These payments are being put to work through the many NAPHSIS products and services supporting your offices. For those jurisdictions that have NOT yet paid their dues, please contact NAPHSIS headquarters to let us know your payment status. As a reminder, jurisdictions that have NOT paid their dues will be precluded from fully-participating in upcoming training and meetings.


Each jurisdiction receives five agency memberships with payment of their dues. Jurisdictions that have paid their dues can review their list of current members on the Members Contact list. Updates to account for any changes or additions to your office can be sent by email. As a reminder, additional staff can be added to your membership for a per person fee of $50, and you can request an invoice that reflects these additional memberships by contacting Stephanie N'garsanet.

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