APHA expresses strong support for Obama’s gun violence prevention efforts; new study shows that most states are underprepared for public health emergencies; and a look at the intersections of climate change and health care costs. Read these and more public health news stories for Dec. 20, 2012.

APHA – APHA applauds action to prevent gun violence in letter to Obama
The American Public Health Association expressed its strong support for action to “protect our nation’s children and their families from the growing epidemic of gun violence” in a letter sent today to President Barack Obama.

Huffington Post – Newtown massacre as a public health failure — and opportunity
While the nation grapples with how 27 lives were lost in small-town America last Friday, the bigger question is, how are so many lives lost all year around in cities big and small? The public health profession — whose primary aim is prevention — is at least partly to blame for the nation’s failure to address gun violence.

ABC News – Most states underprepared for public health emergencies
There are persistent gaps in the nation’s ability to respond to public health emergencies, according to a new study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health, despite a series of recent tragic events like 9-11, anthrax threats and Hurricane Katrina.

Wall Street Journal – NY receives $5M for school-based health program
Seventeen school-based health programs in New York state are in line for more than $5 million in federal funding.
The National Assembly on School-Based Health Care says Wednesday the New York centers are among 197 programs being awarded more than $80 million through the Affordable Care Act.

Gallup – To stop shootings, Americans focus on police, mental health
Americans are most likely to say that an increased police presence at schools, increased government spending on mental health screening and treatment, and decreased depiction of gun violence in entertainment venues would be effective in preventing mass shootings at schools. Americans rate the potential effectiveness of a ban on assault and semi-automatic guns as fourth on a list of six actions Gallup asked about.

New York Times blog – The budding health care costs of climate change
Images of physical damage have been prominent in the news coverage of Hurricane Sandy – the charred frames of houses in Breezy Point, Queens, for example, or a roller coaster submerged in the Atlantic City breakers. Far less conspicuous are long-term health effects, from increased rates of tetanus and respiratory disease to post-traumatic stress disorder.

NIH – Regular marijuana use by teens continues to be a concern
Continued high use of marijuana by the nation’s eighth, 10th and 12th graders combined with a drop in perceptions of its potential harms was revealed in this year’s Monitoring the Future survey, an annual survey of eighth, 10th, and 12th–graders conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan. The survey was carried out in classrooms around the country earlier this year, under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.