Blood Lead Screening Project to Identify at Risk Children

April 16th, 2015 by Cory Nelson No comments »

Kindergarten teacher reading to children in libraryIn Arizona more than 800 children each year are identified with elevated blood lead levels (EBLL).  Even at low blood lead levels, children’s intelligence, behavior, hearing and growth can be irreparably damaged.  Most children will not have any symptoms.  The only way to detect lead poisoning is through a blood test.

All children living in high risk zip codes should receive a blood lead test at 12 and 24 months of age.  Unfortunately, the screening rate for lead poisoning in Arizona is very low; only 20 percent of children living in high risk zip codes receive a blood lead test.

In order to improve the screening rate and identify children with EBLLs, our Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is conducting a screening pilot project with three clinics located in high risk zip codes.  Screening rates and blood lead results will be monitored over three months for these pilot clinics.  The first pilot started last week.  Our team trained the front office and back office staff on site on how to identify children living in high risk zip codes and proceed with lead screening.  Stay tuned for results of the pilot.

The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program provides follow-up services, environmental investigations, and resources for lead hazard control for children with elevated blood lead levels.   Common sources of lead exposure in Arizona include lead based paint, imported children’s toys and jewelry, traditional folk remedies (i.e. Greta and Azarcon), imported spices such as chili powder and tamarind, lead contaminated pottery, and stained glass.  Check out our childhood lead screening guide for healthcare professionals to learn more about screening, health hazards of lead exposure, common sources of lead in Arizona, and how to report EBLL to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Lights, Camera, Action! MyPlate Video Search

April 14th, 2015 by Cory Nelson No comments »

children eating applesHere at the Arizona Department of Health Services we work together to promote healthy eating and active living to decrease obesity.  The Check Out MyPlate Video Search is a fun way for kids and their families to show how they create healthy habits at home or at school.  For tips and ideas to get you and your kids started on your video, visit today.  Let’s see how many MyPlate videos our kids in Arizona can create!

The Check Out MyPlate Video Search is challenging parents and teachers (with parents’ permission) of kids across the country to submit a short video (60 seconds or less) showing how they create healthy habits using MyPlate and being physically active.

Videos should include a MyPlate visual, at least one healthy eating tip, and at least one physical activity tip.  Kids aged 2-18 years are eligible to enter with the help of an adult by April 30th.  Videos can be submitted in the following age categories: 2-10, 11-13, and 14-18.  Learn more about the search here.

Annual Resuscitation Academy Helps Expand CPR Use

April 10th, 2015 by Cory Nelson No comments »

CPR PracticeIn February, the Bureau of EMS and Trauma System held it’s 3rd annual Arizona State Resuscitation Academy.  This event brought together more than 250 community health educators, 9-1-1 telecommunicators, EMS, and hospital medical providers who are dedicated to continuing work to improve survival from cardiac arrest.

Our approach focusing on all components of the chain of survival has saved more than 2,500 lives in the past decade in Arizona alone.  The year’s symposium had two tracks: one for EMS agencies, highlighting high performance CPR techniques, and a second focusing on the role of the 9-1-1 dispatcher and community health educators in increasing bystander CPR.  Take a few moments to read some of the stories from those who have benefitted from our statewide CPR efforts.  Visit the Arizona SHARE Program  online to learn more about efforts to improve CPR efforts statewide.

Trauma Program Managers’ Workshop

April 8th, 2015 by Cory Nelson No comments »

EImproving statewide trauma system capacity is one of our ongoing Bureau of EMS & Trauma System initiatives.  Last month ADHS partnered with the Center for Rural Health at the University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health to offer the Arizona Trauma Program Managers’ Workshop, hosted by Mountain Vista Medical Center in Mesa.  The workshop, which convenes three times annually, supported key objectives outlined in the Arizona EMS and Trauma System Strategic Plan designed to reduce Arizona’s occurrence of morbidity and mortality due to traumatic injury.

Trauma center representatives from throughout Arizona gathered to continue building knowledge and skills to fortify our coordinated system of trauma care.  Professionals from the Arizona Trauma System presented and led discussion aimed at combatting injury in Arizona. Topic examples, include: strengthening trauma data quality, advancing performance improvement initiatives, advancing injury prevention programming, and developing trauma center operational efficiency.  The next Trauma Program Managers’ Workshop will be held July 17, 2015.

More EMS Web-based Improvements to Launch This Month

April 6th, 2015 by Cory Nelson No comments »

Businessman with laptop computerA year ago, our Bureau of EMS and Trauma System launched its Web-based EMCT registration program.  The Bureau along with our IT staff have been hard at work on the next phase of their automation project, the EMS Training Program portal.  The  portal will go live this month allowing the EMS Training Program folks to submit all of the required registration, testing and course completion documents electronically.  To prepare for the launch, Bureau staff has been hosting several regional train-the-trainer sessions to provide program directors, and their staff, with the opportunity to learn how the new on-line system works and the benefits to the program and the students.

Take Time in April to Learn about Alcohol

April 3rd, 2015 by Cory Nelson 1 comment »

13867smYou may have a drink each night when you get home from work.  Or maybe you just drink on the weekends.  Over time, you find yourself drinking more and looking forward to drinking alcohol.

Didn’t that research say wine was good for you?

Not so fast.

You may be dependent, like some 17 million Americans — leading to 88,000 alcohol related deaths annually.  Drinking and driving is responsible for many of those deaths – but what about the chronic diseases caused by long-term alcohol use?

Did you know excessive alcohol use from heavy drinking or binge drinking can cause:

  • Dementia and stroke
  • Cardiovascular problems including heart attacks, and high blood pressure
  • Psychiatric problems including depression, anxiety, and suicide
  • Social problems including unemployment, lost productivity, family problems, and violence
  • Unintentional injuries such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns, and firearm injuries
  • Increased risk for many kinds of cancers
  • Liver diseases including fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis
  • Gastrointestinal problems including pancreatitis and gastritis
  • Alcohol abuse or dependence – alcoholism.

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in America.  In 2013, almost 100 people died because of alcohol in Arizona – that’s more than colon, breast or prostate cancer.  If you are curious about your use of alcohol, the National Institutes of Health have an online tool to help you evaluate it.

The good news is there are substance abuse programs that work.

Do you need help?  Learn more about ADHS’s substance abuse prevention work here – including how to access local services.

Annual Poster Contest Helps Teach Kids to be Sun Safe

April 2nd, 2015 by Cory Nelson 6 comments »

sunscreenWith 310 days of sunshine a year, sun safety in Arizona is critical to prevent skin cancer.  Our SunWise Program works with the community to promote sun safety messaging.  Through our 13th Annual Poster Contest, Arizona children pre-K to 12th grade are encouraged to send us their best drawing on how to “Be SunWise & Play Sun Smart” by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 2015.  Contest rules and entry form can be downloaded here.

The winning artist and school teacher will receive tickets to the celebratory Arizona Diamondbacks game and will receive on-field awards and be featured on the stadium Jumbotron.  The artwork will become the official SunWise Program campaign poster for 2015-2016.  The list of 2014 contest winners is available on our contest website.  All it takes is a few simple steps to be safe while having fun outdoors.  Remember to always protect yourself in the sun with SPF 15+ sunscreen and lip balm, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and clothing; and to stay in the shade, especially during midday.

New Tobacco Prevention Public Service Campaigns Launched

March 31st, 2015 by Cory Nelson No comments »

WThis month we launched two new tobacco prevention public service awareness campaigns that show the final consequences of long term tobacco use, and the effect of secondhand smoke on children. The public service announcements for the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (ASHLine) focus on smokers and encourages people to call the ASHLine for help quitting.  Since the PSA’s were launched in early March calls to the ASHLine have nearly doubled.

There will be a series of three new ASHLine PSA’s, and you can watch the first one here.  The secondhand smoke awareness campaign shows the damaging health effects that smoking can have on children.  We have partnered with the American Lung Association for the campaign.  You can watch the public service announcement here and get more information about the effects of secondhand smoke at the Arizona Smoke Free Living website.

Newborn Screening Rulemaking Moves Forward

March 26th, 2015 by Cory Nelson 2 comments »

baby - native americanThe Arizona Newborn Screening Program screens more than 80,000 babies for a panel of 29 disorders annually.  Although babies born with these disorders may appear to be normal at birth, with time the disorder may have a devastating or lethal effect on the infant’s health and development.  Early screening, detection, and quick treatment of these disorders can, in many cases, help kids avoid illness, developmental delays, and even death.

In 2014 House Bill 2491 required the Department to revise our Newborn Screening rules to include hearing tests on all newborns, add screening for critical congenital heart defects (CCHD) and consider adding a screening for severe combined immunodeficiency.  On March 23, 2015, the Department received approval from the Governor’s office to move forward with the rulemaking to implement these requirements.

The screening test for CCHD uses pulse-oximetry, a test that happens in the hospital.  It’s a device that is placed on the foot of a newborn and measures the baby’s oxygen levels.  A low oxygen reading can be a sign that the baby might have a heart problem.  Congenital heart disease occurs in approximately eight in every 1,000 live births, and if left undetected, children are at risk for the development of serious complications within the first few days or weeks of life.  Most hospitals already do this screening, but our new rules will make the screening a requirement.

The law also requires us to take a look at adding severe combined immunodeficiency disorder (SCID) disease to our screening panel.  In October 2014, our Newborn Screening Advisory Committee met and recommended that we include the screening test for SCID as part of our panel.  This test would require some new equipment and increased costs, so we’d need to get the authority to increase our testing fee by $10 to pay for the testing costs before we could add it to our panel of tests.  The good news is because the screening test for SCID is so reliable, we’d only need to test the first sample (taken at the hospital).

We expect to publish the draft rules for comment later this spring and then implement the updated rules July 1st.







World TB Day Highlights Efforts to Control the Spread of the Disease

March 24th, 2015 by Cory Nelson No comments »

WorldTBDay_2015LogoMarch 24 is World TB Day, which is an opportunity for us to reflect not only on our progress towards tuberculosis (TB) elimination in Arizona, but on the history of what World TB Day stands for globally. World TB Day was established as a reminder that TB is still a public health threat.  TB is an eradicable disease that continues to be the second leading infectious disease killer of adults in the world.

TB programs in Arizona continue to make strides in the global effort to eliminate TB.  In 2014, Arizona saw a slight increase to 193 cases from 184 cases in 2013.  The national picture shows an overall decrease of only 155 TB cases to 9,412 in 2014.  That represents the smallest decline in more than a decade.  However, over the last five years, we’ve seen a downward trend in Arizona and nationally.  There were 283 cases reported in Arizona in 2010.

TB control is a global effort and there is a need for progression of innovative tools to identify new TB cases and new TB latent infections arriving in the U.S.  Provisional 2014 numbers show that nearly 67 percent of the U.S. TB cases were born in another country.  Immigrants and refugees first started to undergo TB screening in the early 1900’s as part of a medical exam to come to the U.S.  Recent updates to these screening guidelines have proven to be a successful intervention and will lead to fewer cases in the near future.  We look forward to announcing continued progress in TB reduction over the next several years.