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MEDIA ADVISORY: Top Public Health Officials to Keynote NACCHO Annual Conference


Contact Becky Wexler
(301) 652-1558

MEDIA ADVISORY: Top Public Health Officials to Keynote NACCHO Annual Conference
Washington, DC (July 22, 2009)—

WHAT:  Join hundreds of local health officials and invited guests at the 2009 National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Annual Conference as they gather to discuss the latest public health developments in Orlando, Florida. Local health departments across the country have been forced to deal with budgetary, program, and staffing cutbacks this year and will discuss strategies for dealing with these challenges, especially while responding to a widespread outbreak of H1N1 influenza. In addition to sessions on health equity, food safety, disaster preparedness, and federal-state-local public health partnerships, conference attendees will hear keynote addresses from two current federal health officials and Wal-Mart''s top health and wellness executive.

WHEN: July 29–31, 2009 (see below for specific speaker times)  

WHO:   John O. Agwunobi, MD, MBA, MPH, is senior vice president and president of health and wellness for Wal-Mart. He oversees the company''s health and wellness business unit, including pharmacies, vision centers, and healthcare clinics. Prior to joining Wal-Mart in September 2007, he was the Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and an Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Dr. Agwunobi, a pediatrician, also served from October 2001 to September 2005 as Florida''s Secretary of Health. Dr. Agwunobi will discuss ways in which private sector players are stepping outside of their traditional roles to help meet the healthcare needs of their communities on Thursday, July 30 from 8:00-9:30 A.M.

Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, was named administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) on February 20, 2009. Prior to her position at HRSA, Dr. Wakefield served as the associate dean for rural health and a tenured professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, a tenured professor. She also directed the University''s Center for Rural Health. Dr. Wakefield will discuss HRSA''s priority issues and initiatives and the Obama administration''s efforts to reform healthcare on Friday, July 31 from 8:00-9:00 A.M.

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, was named director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administrator for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry on June 8, 2009. Prior to his position at the CDC, Dr. Frieden served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since January 2002. During his tenure in New York City, the number of smokers declined by 350,000, teen smoking decreased by half, and New York City became the first place in the United States to eliminate trans-fats from restaurants, among other accomplishments. Dr. Frieden will advise local health officials on how to maximize their departments'' impact on the health of their communities through innovative leadership and discuss how CDC''s current and future initiatives can effectively engage all levels of governmental public health on Friday, July 31 from 9:00-10:00 A.M.

HOW:  Members of the media may register to attend the conference or select sessions. For a full agenda and more information, or to set up an on-site interview with any of the above speakers, please contact Becky Wexler, Burness Communications, at (301) 652-1558 or bwexler@burnesscommunications.com.

Media are also encouraged to follow sessions as they happen via Twitter @NACCHOmeets and #NA09.

About the National Association of County and City Health Officials
NACCHO is the national organization representing the nation''s nearly 3,000 local health departments. These agencies work every day on the front lines to protect and promote the health of their communities. NACCHO develops resources and programs and promotes national policies that support effective local public health practice.