Take the Title V Needs Assessment Survey

November 25th, 2014 by Will Humble No comments »

MOur Women’s and Children’s Health Team is working on the 5-year Needs Assessment for the Maternal and Child Health Title V Block Grant.  The needs assessment helps us tailor how we spend the federal funding to improve the health and well-being of Arizona’s women, children, and adolescents.

You can help narrow down the 10 health priorities by taking the online survey.  We’ll use the data from the survey to focus our public health programs for women’s and children’s health based on the needs of the people who are the most affected.  It’s also a chance for the community to give us feedback on what we are doing well and where we can use some improvement.

The survey is for everyone:  partners, moms, dads, grandmothers, neighbors…anyone living in Arizona who is interested in maternal and child health.  So far more than 600 people from around the state have completed the survey.  If you want to fill out the short, 10 minute survey, or if you know someone who should take it, please do it by the end of the month.  The survey closes at 5 p.m. on November 30…so you still have time to have your voice heard.  After we compile the data from the survey, we’ll present the priorities to the community.

This is a great opportunity to have your voice heard and to help us set priorities that will be of the greatest help to the women and children of Arizona.  To learn more about the survey, you can watch this short video blog or visit the Bureau of Women’s and Children’s Health online.

Developmental Disabilities Planning Council Refresh

November 24th, 2014 by Will Humble No comments »

FArizona’s Developmental Disabilities Planning Council got some good news this week after learning that Governor Brewer extended the Executive Order that created the Council in 2009.  Signed on November 4th, the Executive Order authorizes the Council to continue its work through 2019 in supporting persons with developmental disabilities and their families by funding important projects related to employment, self-advocacy and educational opportunities.

Operating on an annual budget funded through a federal grant, the Council funds innovative projects that help persons with developmental disabilities become more included in their communities either by achieving systems change or increasing capacity.  To learn more about the Council, stop by their office located at 1740 West Adams Street, Suite 410, Phoenix, or visit their Website,  Facebook or Twitter sites.

Time to Comment on Newborn Screening Rules

November 21st, 2014 by Will Humble No comments »

baby hearing testLast month I wrote about how we are working on revising our Newborn Screening rules because of a change in state law. The changes include requiring hearing tests on all newborns, adding critical congenital heart defects screening and adding a screening for severe combined immunodeficiency started January 2016. The last test depends on whether we can increase the fee for the first tests.

The draft rules are posted for comments until the end of November. We expect the new rules to go into effect July 1, 2015.

CDC National Health Report

November 21st, 2014 by Will Humble No comments »

HLast Thursday, the CDC published the CDC National Health Report which provides a snapshot of recent trends in key areas of the nation’s health.  The report finds Americans are living longer, healthier lives, but  indicates that progress has been slow or stagnating in some areas, including several leading causes of death and their risk factors.

The new report will help guide national policy and programmatic efforts for the improvement of health and quality of life.  It includes: 1) a scientific paper (CDC National Health Report: Leading Causes of Morbidity and Mortality and Associated Behavior Risk and Protective Factors — United States, 2005-2013); 2) Report Highlights; 3) a three-minute video called “The Road to Health and Longevity;” and 4) at-a-glance dashboards.

The CDC National Health Report website offers quick access to resources to advance public health work.  Many of these tools relate directly to CDC Winnable Battles focus areas, including food safety, healthcare-associated infections, HIV, motor vehicle injuries, teen pregnancy, tobacco, and nutrition, physical activity and obesity.   To learn more and gain access to the CDC National Health Report resources go to www.cdc.gov/healthreport.

Navajo Nation Establishes the Navajo Department of Health

November 20th, 2014 by Will Humble No comments »

navajonationAfter many years of planning and conducting of public forums throughout the Navajo Nation, the Navajo Tribal Council recently approved legislation establishing the Navajo Department of Health.  Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly  signed the legislation into law.

The new law establishes the Navajo Department of Health as the lead agency delegated to ensure that quality comprehensive and culturally relevant health care and public health services are provided on the Navajo Nation.  The new Department will also be authorized to continue planning for the establishment of a Navajo Nation Medicaid Agency.

Annual March of Dimes Report Card

November 19th, 2014 by Will Humble No comments »

TEvery year the March of Dimes reviews where we are as a nation in reducing premature birth.  Being born too early can impact a child’s ability to live a healthy life.  It is one of the leading causes of infant death.  Arizona has been improving the preterm birth rate for the past 7 years.  In 2006, our rate was 13.2 and in 2013, we’re at 11.6.  That means fewer Arizona babies are being born prematurely.  Despite that improvement, this year’s report card gives Arizona a “C”.

While there was some improvement in our state (for example the number of women who smoke dropped from 14.7% to 11.7%), the rate of babies born too soon increased. In real terms almost 8,000 babies were born prematurely in Arizona last year.

The good news is we have strong partnerships with the March of Dimes Arizona Chapter and the Arizona Perinatal Trust to work to reduce premature births.  Ensuring that women are healthy before they become pregnant (also called Preconception health) and waiting until a baby is at least 39 weeks to electively deliver are two of our strategies to help reduce premature births.

Anne Geddes, well-known baby photographer, is working with the March of Dimes to reduce premature birth.  Geddes recently appeared on Phoenix TV to help spread the word in Arizona.

AZ Health Aging Plan

November 18th, 2014 by Will Humble No comments »

healthyaging2Arizona is experiencing a record shift in the number of older adults.  By 2050, the number of Arizonans age 65 and older is expected to increase 174%, which represents 2,422,186 people.  Also, the current trend of longevity among aging adults represents both opportunities and challenges in the years ahead.  Older adults are living longer; however, they do not always live healthier.

Based on hospital discharge data, females 65 and older are experiencing the largest burden of disease and are being treated the most in our hospitals for different illnesses. Among females age 65 and older, Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of death. Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease have increased by 55% from 2002 to 2012.  Over time there will be an increased need for services from our health care and economic support systems.  It is even more critical that we focus on earlier ages and take steps toward prevention before diseases manifests themselves.

In 2012, we established the Arizona Healthy Aging initiative, which focuses on strategic planning, resource leveraging, and cross-cutting collaborations that address the health needs and disparities for older Arizonans.  This month the Arizona Healthy Aging Program released the 2014-2018 Arizona Healthy Aging Strategic Plan.  Based on themes identified during the development of the plan, three major areas of concentration were identified as priority areas in helping Arizonans live both longer and better lives over the next few years.  The priority areas are to Increase awareness of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease, reduce the impact of fall-related injuries, increase the capacity of older adults to manage their chronic disease conditions.

Check out the plan online now at the Arizona Healthy Aging website.

Lifecycle of a Disease Report

November 17th, 2014 by Will Humble 1 comment »

infectiousdiseaseEver wonder what happens to your info when you go to the doctor?  If you have one of the 90+ reportable conditions in Arizona, your case report travels from your healthcare provider’s office to your local, state, or tribal health departments, and for some diseases it’s de-identified and sent all the way to the CDC.

This is so local health departments can stop disease spread and all levels of public health can track trends to detect outbreaks.  The folks in our Office of Infectious Disease Services have put together a creative and fun way to understand how reporting of infectious diseases impacts our practice of public health in Arizona.  Check out the video on their website.

Saving Babies Lives with Data

November 14th, 2014 by Will Humble No comments »

CData can save lives if you use it right.  One of the ways we use data to save lives is through our annual Child Fatality Review Report.  We published our 21st Annual Report this week.  The report examined all 811 deaths of children under 18 in 2013.  Teams discussed the circumstances of each child’s death, determine preventability, and make recommendations to prevent future deaths.  We’ve had a 22% decline in child deaths since 2008…partly as a result of implementing initiatives recommended by these Annual Reports.

This year’s report underscores the importance of making sure infants are in a safe sleep environment.  Over 60 infants died in unsafe sleeping environments in 2013. That means in Arizona in 2013, an infant was more likely to die as the result of an unsafe sleep environment than a car crash.  Think about that.

Every child under age one should have their own sleeping space and always be put to sleep on their back.  Babies should never be put to sleep in an adult bed, on chairs or sofas, in waterbeds or on pillows or cushions.  All soft objects should be kept out of a baby’s crib, including toys and crib bumpers.  Our Injury Prevention Team will be conducting second reviews of all sleep related deaths and will be working in tandem with the safe sleep task force.  Our home visiting and WIC folks are also working to help spread the word about safe sleep to new parents and families.

We’re also focusing on reducing prematurity.  More than a quarter (26%) of the babies who died last year were born too early.  We’ve had success in reducing the number of babies born early by working with partners across the state and parents, and we’ll continue that work through our preconception health campaigns, the March of Dimes, and our home visiting programs.  Our Healthy Babies web page has some good information and more to come as we work as a state to improve the lives of all babies. Here’s a fact sheet of community recommendations that everyone can use to help keep our kids safe.

Medical Marijuana Year 3 Report Published

November 13th, 2014 by Will Humble 1 comment »

Med MarijuanaOur Vital Health Statistics team along with our partners at the UA College of Public Health completed our Medical Marijuana Program’s  3rd Annual Report this week.  You’ll find a wide range of information in the report including data about the demographics and kinds and qualifying conditions of our cardholders, geographic distribution and rates as well as background information on the budget and fund, the various lawsuits, and de-identified information about physicians that are writing certifications.  We also added a new section on our Information Technology performance and activities in this year’s report.

You can see some of the recommendations at the end of the report.  We expect to address many of them in our ongoing Rulemaking.  The info in the Annual Report is just a sub-set of all of the data we have about the program…and you can see the full array of data and information including our summary monthly reports on our hub website.