Nevada health officials push for funding prevention programs

Dr. Joseph Iser is chief health officer of the Southern Nevada Health District. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @vegasphotograph

The Southern Nevada Health District will prioritize expanding services offered in rural Nevada through its mobile health unit, providing health sciences students with educational opportunities and reducing violent injuries, chief health officer Dr. Joseph Iser said in a presentation to the Assembly health and human services committee Monday.

Joined by public health representatives from Carson City, Washoe County and the state, Iser said lack of funding remains a primary challenge for implementing prevention-focused programs.

“We can save more lives, we can increase life expectancy and health care costs can be sustained and improved if you put money in on the front end,” Iser told legislators at Monday’s meeting.

Each official provided legislators with an overview of the programs under his or her purview. Kevin Dick, chief health officer for the Washoe County Health District, said the four public health officials would prioritize strengthening policies surrounding behavioral health disparities, e-cigarettes and vaping, homelessness and rising housing costs.

Dick advocated for policies that would regulate the selling and taxation of e-cigarettes.

In a report released Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it found significant increases in the use of tobacco products and e-cigarettes among teens, blaming those increases for “erasing the decline in tobacco product use among youths.”

Nevada is consistently ranked poorly nationwide in a range of health services. It falls dead last in public health funding.

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

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