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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 11:55 pm | Fair 49º

 
 
 
 

Capps to be Honored as Distinguished Public Health Legislator

Association cites lawmaker's work on behalf of health-care reform bill, other legislation

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., have been selected by the American Public Health Association as its 2010 distinguished legislators of the year.

The award is presented annually to lawmakers serving at the federal, state or local level who have made significant contributions to advancing legislation to improve and protect public health. Both Capps’ and Dodd’s work exemplify such contributions, the association said.

“On behalf of the American Public Health Association, I would like to congratulate Sen. Dodd and Rep. Capps on their achievements and thank them for their dedication and extraordinary contributions to improving our nation’s health,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of APHA. “Through their steadfast commitment and leadership, they have had a profound impact on protecting the health of countless Americans. They set an example for other legislators to follow.”

Capps is a respected leader of Congress on public health issues, the association said. Most recently, she has led efforts to address the health impacts of climate change in the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and she’s been a strong advocate for securing strong prevention and wellness provisions in the newly enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Capps has been a strong proponent for equal access to health care, including support of a public option as well as fighting to ensure women’s access to reproductive services.

Dodd has demonstrated leadership on a number of important public health issues, the association said. Foremost is his shepherding of strong prevention-focused health reform legislation through the Senate that was enacted into law this year. His ongoing support for strong regulation of tobacco products has also been exemplary.

Throughout his legislative career, Dodd served and continues to be an unrelenting advocate for children’s issues. He formed the first children’s caucus in the Senate and spent eight years fighting to enact the Family and Medical Leave Act. He also authored and helped pass landmark legislation to ensure the country provides better access to safe and affordable child care.

Dodd authored critically important legislation to protect the mentally ill from abuse and deadly restraint and seclusion practices in mental hospitals. He has supported a patient’s bill of rights giving assurances in health-care services and the right to choose health-care providers, and has helped pass legislation to ensure the medicines and medical devices used with children are safe and effective.

Other notable public health accomplishments include passing legislation to address the national nursing shortage, detect and prevent domestic violence, curb underage drinking, improve mental health services, provide emergency defibrillators to local communities, bring CPR instruction to schools, and provide immediate Medicare coverage to patients suffering from Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The 2010 Distinguished Public Health Legislator of the Year awards will be presented in November in Denver during the 138th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association.

Click here for more information about APHA.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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