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June 2020 Monthly Newsletter

Executive Director Report - Shawna Webster

As my social media feed filled up with “memories” from past Annual Meetings this month, I started to feel the full measure of the loss of our time together. We’re all feeling it in both the personal and professional spheres as we see vacation and social gathering memories roll by; as we do our best to celebrate birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and retirements at a safe distance. We as human beings feel the pull – the NEED - for actual, in-person social interaction and we can see the impatience created by that need play out around us as states begin to reopen (or don’t!) But we in the Public Health community know this is all far from over. 

At NAPHSIS, we know the value of the time we share together during our meetings as a community is immeasurable, and it makes up the very bedrock of the Association’s raison d’etre. It’s not just the education and training experiences we share and learn from in the same space, but the social interactions themselves that solidify our professional relationships and the connections we make. NAPHSIS (and all associations) provide the space and opportunities to help their members connect the dots; to share experiences and insights, to share successes and losses, to forge a community of practice. 

And like all other associations right now, NAPHSIS is working to create virtual spaces to provide its members with this essential benefit. Our summer webinar series will feature many of the presentations and trainings you would have seen at the Annual Meeting, and we’ll soon be adding a few more offerings to the schedule, including the Business Meeting and a presentation on the utility of the new STEVE API. It is our hope that our webinar series will reach MORE of our membership than ever before! Nothing can replace the fun and camaraderie of our in-person experiences, but we are eager to discover new ways to safely deliver content and opportunities for interaction.

If you’ve been part of an online experience over the past few months that might be duplicated here at NAPHSIS, please let us know! We’re also working with our Public Health and other association colleagues to provide you with new, more interactive virtual experiences. 

And if you haven’t been to our COVID-19 resource page lately, we've uploaded some new resources:

Message from the President - Molly Crawford

Greetings Fellow Members,

Most days I love my job in vital records. I truly believe that we improve lives by informing public health and we do it one record at a time. Every birth and every death is important. All lives matter. It’s our job to mark them down—to create a record.

Sustaining operations and tending to other responsibilities under the pandemic in the state health department can be exhaustive. On top of that, we’ve experienced a lot as a nation since the last newsletter.

On May 25, 2020, at 9:25 p.m., George Perry Floyd, Jr. died in police custody, handcuffed face down in the street with an officer kneeling on his neck. Videos recorded the event were posted on social media for the world to see. Dr. Andrew Baker, the Chief Medical Examiner for Hennepin County, certified the death as a homicide caused by “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” Dr. Baker listed “arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease: fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use” as other significant conditions. I know. Mr. Floyd’s certificate is in our EDRS. His record is public.

The data requests, hate mail, and questions about death investigations and the role of the medical examiner have poured in. Protests have locked down our office and perhaps yours. Legislators are calling for reform and talking about defunding police. Our sister agencies in public health are reacting and responding with words we can’t ignore. I was particularly moved by the “I can’t breathe” message from Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Past-President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and former Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, posted on ASTHO’s website. See also:

  • Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), Statement on Social Unrest and Unjust Treatment of Communities of Color in the U.S.

  • American Public Health Association (APHA) Calls Out Police Violence as a Public Health Crisis

  • Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), Racial Justice and Public Health

People are asking for action. Change. Justice. It’s time for a different conversation—a new narrative. Mr. Floyd’s death presents Minnesota and the world with yet another opportunity for change. I hope we can muster the humility, the empathy, and the energy to seize it. Each of us has a choice on what we do next. It doesn’t have to be business as usual. Individually and together, I hope we can make a difference.

Upcoming Webinars and Events

Wednesday, July 8 @ 2pm ET 

VSCP Project Directors Call

Click here to register.


Thursday, July 9th @ 2pm ET

Innovations Session

Click here to register.


Tuesday, July 14th @ 3:30pm ET

Data Visualization Innovation Session

Click here to register.


Wednesday, July 15 @ 3pm ET

Fetal Death Webinar Series:

Data Quality Issues for Fetal Death

Click here to register.


Tuesday, July 28 @ 3pm ET

Field Services Special Interest Group

Email us to join.


Thursday, July 30 @ 3pm ET

Systems Special Interest Group

Email us to join.


August 3-5

Vital Records and Their Administration: Statistics and Data Quality Training

Click here to apply to attend.


Tuesday, August 11 @ 2pm ET 

EVVE and EVVE Fact-Of-Death Webinar

Click here to register.


Nov 30 – Dec 2

NAPHSIS Identity & Security Conference

Washington, DC


For any questions about NAPHSIS Events, please email Katey Frederking.

National Advocacy

NAPHSIS Response to Request for Input: Preparing for the Next Pandemic NAPHSIS submitted a detailed response to the Senate HELP Committee White Paper, Preparing for the Next Pandemic. NAPHSIS response focused on several key areas all related to our goals in the Data Modernization initiatives: Real-time Data Transmission, Interoperability, Data Linkage, a Model Data Use Agreement, Workforce, National Standards and Business Processes. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ New NCHS Director, Brian Moyer speaks at recent NCVHS Meeting Brian Moyer met with all of us at the recent NCVHS Meeting and laid out some of his burgeoning goals for the center during his tenure as Director. The highlights include:

  • Data Modernization: harnessing new technology and new techniques to improve the policy relevance of statistical products and incorporating alternate data sources;

  • Expanded scope for data linkage and statistical analysis;

  • Creating a better connection between NCHS and the rest of CDC, as well as other state agencies; and

  • Improving the NCHS workforce: promoting collaboration, empowerment and innovation.

The NAPHSIS Board of Directors will meet with Brian this summer to provide the state perspective and to share the goals and objectives of the NAPHSIS Strategic Plan. __________________________________________________________________________________________ Do Not Pay Initiative in the News again, Renews Threat to Expand SSA 205(r) As you may have seen in the news last Friday, the Washington Post ran a front page story on the $1.4 Billion dollars sent out to deceased individuals as part of the stimulus package authorized early this year. This story renewed the Treasury’s “Do Not Pay” portal initiative to expand section 205(r) of the Social Security Administration act to allow the Federal Agency to share death data they receive under contract with each of our member jurisdictions to other state, local and Federal agencies. (See Senate’s S 1333 - Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act and Sen. Carper’s press release HERE. Also the House’s companion HR 2543 - Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act and accompanying press release from Rep. Bustos HERE.) Both chambers’ versions of the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act were introduced in May of last year, and NAPHSIS has been working with our partners on the Hill to monitor these actions ever since. Although it seemed the bills were stalled in both the House and the Senate, news stories like this – and in an election year – could make things move quickly. To that end, NAPHSIS submitted a white paper explaining that, while we are in favor of the overall goal of stopping improper payments, we strongly oppose expansion of SSA 205(r) as the way to achieve it. It is our hope that instead, this news could push Treasury towards EVVE FOD. Stay tuned! __________________________________________________________________________________________

Partner Spotlight - Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

Tracking Awareness Week is July 6-10, 2020! Every year the CDC Tracking network hosts a tracking awareness week in early July. This year's theme is #PoweredByTracking This theme will highlight unique data and tools on the Tracking Network that lead to public health action. Tracking is more than data! This theme will also highlight the network of people and partners that power the Tracking Network, and their contributions to creating healthier communities. On July 9th, the CDC Tracking Network will also be hosting a Twitter chat - for more information, click here.

Upcoming Summer Series Webinars

Innovation Presentations Topics:

  • Jeff Duncan - Building a Chatbot for Customer Service 

  • Deepika Shrethsa et al. - Developing a framework for evaluating and ranking Hospitals to ensure completeness of Live Birth Records

  • Mary Huynh - Development of a sibling birth match for data quality improvement and research

July 9th @ 2:00 - 3:30 pm Eastern Click here to register ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Data Visualization Innovation Presentations Topics:

  • Heather Strosnider - Maximizing Data Visualization for Diverse Audiences: CDC Tracking Program Innovations

  • Kirk Bol - Innovations in Accessing and Visualizing Colorado's Public Health Surveillance Data

  • Rebecca Dick - Utah EPHTN's Innovative Use of Vital Records Statistics and Data

July 14th @ 3:30 - 5:00 pm Eastern Click here to register ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Virtual Poster Session Topics:

  • Andrea Steege, Next Steps for the NOMS Modernization Project

  • Katie McDaniel, MPH and Alyssa Cohen, MPH, Creating Interactive Sub-county Maps for Public Use

  • Rebecca Winter, MPH, Rhonda Smith, MPH, Ashley Callaham, BA, Patricia Lloyd, PhD,Janelle Suggs, MBA, Terra Abrams, MBA, BMP, Fern Johnson-Clarke, PhD - Recent Enhancements to the District of Columbia’s Cause of Death Quality ImprovementStrategy

  • Jennifer Reeves, MD, MPH - Improving the timeliness and usefulness of CDC’s Abortion Surveillance Report

August 5th @ 2:00 - 4:00 pm Eastern Click here to register ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Digital Communication Training Katey Frederking September 8th @ 3:00 - 4:00 pm Eastern Click here to register

News Spotlight

Vital Records and Their Administration Course is Going VIRTUAL In light of the current public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vital Records and Their Administration training, scheduled for August 3-5, 2020 in Louisville, KY, will be an all-virtual training. This training will still be held August 3-5, 2020. For specific topics and times, please see the draft course agenda here. Applications are now being accepted and can be found hereThere is no registration fee to attend. Staff who are new to our area of public health should strongly consider attending. The deadline for applications is July 7th. Spaces are limited and preference will be shown to those applicants with the least amount of vital records/statistics work experience. Course information will be sent directly to approved applicants on July 15th. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ PHAB VRHS Accreditation Applicant Training The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) will host the annual Vital Records Health Statistics (VRHS) Accreditation Applicant Training session virtually on July 8, 2020 at 1pm Eastern. A syllabus with detailed information about the training is available here. Attendance is limited to those who plan to apply for VRHS Accreditation between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. For more information including required pre-training assignment and a registration link, please click here. Deadline to register is July 1, 2020. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Wisconsin Job Opportunity The Wisconsin Department of Health Services currently has a State Registrar job opening at its central office location in lovely downtown Madison, WI. This position is responsible for creating and overseeing policies related to vital records, for managing the state’s vital statistics system, and for managing systems to collect, file, and certify copies of official records for all vital events (birth, death, marriage, divorce, fetal death) in Wisconsin. Assuring that vital records are properly protected, working with stakeholders with shared responsibilities around vital records, and leading the Office of Health Informatics’ Vital Records staff are other key responsibilities. The job posting closes on Monday, July 27th. Please click here to learn more! ___________________________________________________________________________________________ EVVE & STEVE User Groups Sign up to participate in our new monthly EVVE User Group. This monthly hour meeting provides jurisdictional service and support with any EVVE or EVVE FOD issues, questions or concerns. We also have our STEVE user group meeting monthly for STEVE support, discussion and learning. Contact us at to sign up for one or both groups today.


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